Doing what you love can be the key to happiness and car lovers worldwide often dream of a profession in the business. Recently an article highlighted 6 Surprisingly Well-Paid Jobs and "Race engineer" topped that list with the number 1 spot:
Typical salary: New graduates start at $42,000 to $50,000 and quickly progress to junior engineer roles, earning more than $67,000 with just a few years' experience. Senior race engineers earn $84,000 to $152,000 and promotions often leads to higher six-figure salaries.
Jenson Button speaks to his race engineer in Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
What the job involves: "A race engineer acts as the interpreter between the race car mechanics and the driver," says Jamie Muir, who does the job at motorsport company JRM Group. "The engineer takes feedback from the driver and analyzes the data available and makes decisions about the setup needed for maximum performance, then relays this to the mechanics to instigate." Engineering skills used on a daily basis include computer-aided design, data analysis, simulation, vehicle dynamics, testing, and development. "However, the role mostly involves the hands-on management of a small team of mechanics to ensure the car is maintained, set up and developed, keeping it at the front of the grid and reducing the risk of a technical issue which could cost you that podium place."
Qualifications: Top scoring in math and physics, followed by a university degree, typically in automotive/mechanical engineering or motorsport technology. Hands-on experience is essential, so engineers typically work for race teams for free in their spare time or do a work placement as part of their degree.
To succeed as a race engineer, you need: To be able to deal with pressure. "Conditions and circumstances change constantly throughout the course of a race. You must have the ability to assess a given situation instantaneously, then make and communicate the correct decision," Muir says.
Worst thing about the job: The long hours. "Race engineers work 24/7," says Chris Aylett, CEO of the Motorsport Industry Association. "You need total commitment to succeed."
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