Now entering into its third year, the Infiniti Engineer Academy is a unique talent recruitment program that seeks to onboard and reward student engineers with unmatched hands-on experience in two very different automotive fields.
A small and carefully-selected group of the brightest young engineers from around the world are given a life-changing opportunity to join the teams at both Infiniti and Renault Sport F1. For the 2016 search, one lucky and talented Canadian student will be among the chosen few.
Capitalizing on the global corporate alliance between automakers Nissan and Renault, as well as the newly forged technical partnership between the Infiniti and Renault motorsports divisions, entrants into the program get experience working in both the consumer car industry and the face-paced F1 racing worlds.
Jerome Stoll (President, Renault Sport Racing) and Tommaso Volpe (Global Director, Infiniti Motorsports) meet with the media ahead of the 2016 Canadian Grand Prix
From Infiniti road cars to Renault race cars
At a presentation for prospective program applicants at Montreal’s’ McGill University, Tommaso Volpe, Global Director of Infiniti Motorsports, explained what makes it such a unique and valuable experience.
“You won’t find a similar project around the world because usually you need to choose in the very beginning between automotive and motorsports,” boasts Volpe.
Students first spend six months at Infiniti’s technical center for Europe in Cranfield UK, working with teams developing the latest premium consumer cars. For the second leg of the program, they move on to a six-month stint at Enstone with Renault Sport F1 Team, getting a healthy dose of what it’s like to work at the heart of Formula 1, the world’s most advanced motorsports series.
Daniel Sanham, 2015 Infiniti Engineering Academy winner (Photo: Infiniti)
Daniel Sanham is a current academy participant and burgeoning student engineer from the United Kingdom — one of just five hand-selected to join the Academy last year. He recently completed his time with Infiniti, where he helped test electronics systems on the Q30, and even designed test solutions for emergency engine shutdown.
“In university a lot is theoretical and you’re not getting taught any real world applications,” Sanham explains. “To be put in a car and testing the car dynamically was a superb and brilliant experience.”
He’s currently in the early stages of his time at Renault Sport F1 and is already lending his expertise in electronics to help the Formula One team improve its cars and become more competitive.
“One area I worked in was reconfiguration of the wheel speed sensor… designing a test solution,” Sanham reveals. “To have a direct impact in whether parts will be released for use on the [Formula One race] cars is something I was amazed by.”
Daniel Sanham poses with pro driver Kevin Magnussen’s Renault Sport F1 car
A win-win-win scenario
The Infiniti Engineering Academy program neatly ties together a burgeoning technical partnership between Infiniti and Renault F1. Infiniti brings years of successful research and development of performance-focused hybrid powertrain technologies to the table, which it aims to take to new heights for Renault Sport F1, and eventually apply back to its consumer cars.
It really is a winning scenario for Infiniti and Renault Sport F1, but more importantly for the lucky students that get into the IEA.
“Last year we had three winners,” explains Volpe. “One has gone back to university in the U.S., another was hired by Red Bull Racing, and the third was hired by us at the Infiniti Technical Centre.”
Clearly the potential rewards for students go well beyond the two brief six-month stints. And with the program expanding each year, the benefits to Infiniti & Renault are proving to be many as well.
Renault Sport F1 driver Jolyon Palmer in qualifying for 2016 Montreal Grand Prix
Engineering students: Apply!
The quest to find one of Canada’s next top car and racing engineers is at full throttle, and engineers across the country are encouraged to throw in their hats.
The deadline for applying is the end of June, and selected finalists will converge on Montreal on July 28th for the final challenge to determine the victor.
Interested students can get more information and submit their applications at the Infiniti Engineering Academy website.