Motorsports Engineering student Jon Chapman talks about achieving his goal of working for a Formula 1 team

3rd Year MEng Motorsports Engineering student & Operations Intern at McLaren Racing Ltd

What made you choose to study your course?

With an interest in Motorsport it became the obvious degree course which was relevant to the field of engineering I have always wanted to work in.  I chose the Masters course as it fulfils the academic requirements from IMechE for the Charted Engineer status.

What did you do on your placement?

I spent the first month of working at McLaren around different departments. With such an aggressive development rate its essential that each project is delivered on time. I had the responsibility of supplying the in-house laminating department with all the required parts to make carbon fibre components on the McLaren MCL-32 & 33. This involved liaising with the technicians, project managers, laminators to be able to notify the appropriate people the shortages of each project or component to ensure the project isn’t held up so it meets its deadlines, so they can be on the car for each race weekend. Major projects I was involved in were involving the front and rear wings, noses including prototypes and transmission.

Jon Chapman
Jon Chapman

Please tell us about the journey that brought you to this position - including any previous work or relevant life experience. 

On the Motorsport Engineering degree there are great opportunities to get involved in, including of which was during my first year of university being a race mechanic for UCLan Racing team where you gain great experience running in the BRSCC Formula Ford Northern championship for everything which entails a within race weekend.

What are your lasting memories of your time at UCLan?

Gaining hands on experience throughout the course, highlights of which must be a race weekend in Anglesey getting a 1st and 2nd in our two races after a couple problematic days in testing. Throughout the second year we compete against each other, designing manufacture then race our Rocket Car Project, It was only natural that our team won!

This year I am enjoying our 3rd year project where we compete in Formula student, we are aiming for a overall top ten, for a team of our size and budget that would be an achievement.

What is your greatest achievement to date?

Was a life time goal to work for a Formula 1 team after growing up watching David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen race for McLaren, safe to say I was delighted when I heard the news I got the job at McLaren.

What advice would you give to students wanting to do something similar, or what message would you like to give to those thinking of taking up study?

Get stuck in with the extracurricular activates, you learn a lot more by doing, it will give you a good base knowledge which you can apply in industry. Make sure to use the careers advisers they will give you advice on interviews and your CV.

How has your experience on placement affected your attitude towards your course and your studies?

Working in industry is a complete eye opener, with first-hand experience to the technology you don’t have access to or you can’t read about in a text book, you can come back and apply your knowledge to your final years at uni.

Has your degree, or your experiences at UCLan had any particular impact on your current employment or your life in general?

UCLan Motorsport engineering is one of the most well rounded ‘industry ready’ and practical engineering degrees, it was this great base knowledge which helped reduce the huge learning curve in the first couple months of working at McLaren. McLaren are after great engineers to apply to both their internship program as well as their graduate programs. McLaren presented to the next years students at UCLan to show the experience and knowledge you can gain from working there, whilst in aim to continue the link with UCLan.