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Motorsport engineer

Motorsport engineers design, build and test racing cars and bikes.

Annual Salary

£22,000 to £60,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

39 to 41 variable

You could work: evenings / weekends / bank holidays; away from home

Future employment

There will be 3% more Motorsport engineer jobs in 2026.
In your local area

Day to day tasks

As a motorsport engineer working in design, testing or production, you may:

  • assess new ideas by looking at performance, strength, costs and safety
  • design prototypes with computer-aided design (CAD) software
  • test components and bodywork
  • test working models on the track
  • build production models and carry out quality control checks
  • 'finish' vehicles with the team's colours and sponsorship logos

As a motorsport engineer working in racing, you may :

  • set up vehicles to suit track and weather conditions
  • monitor engine speed and other data during races
  • fine tune the vehicle and send technical instructions to the driver or rider
  • carry out ‘after-tests’ on vehicles after a race to look for signs of damage

Working environment

You may need to wear protective clothing.

You could work at a car manufacturing plant, at a garage or in a laboratory.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship

You'll usually need to complete a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in an engineering subject like:

  • motorsport
  • automotive
  • electronic
  • mechanical

You can also gain relevant skills through related engineering courses like aeronautical or electronic engineering.

It's useful to look for courses that include work placements, internships or year in industry opportunities with manufacturers and suppliers.

Check if universities are involved in schemes like Formula Student and Greenpower as these provide opportunities to get an insight into motorsport engineering, and to start to build contacts.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
For more information

You could start as an engineering technician apprentice and go on to train through a degree apprenticeship in a related engineering subject.

Relevant engineering apprenticeships include:

  • engineering technician advanced apprenticeship
  • manufacturing engineering technician advanced apprenticeship
  • electro-mechanical engineer degree apprenticeship
  • manufacturing engineer degree apprenticeship

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship
For more information
Volunteering and work experience

Volunteering at motorsport events is a good way to make contacts in the industry and to get yourself known. Volunteers in Motorsport and British Motorsports Marshals Club have lots of ways you can get involved.

More information

Career tips

A good way to meet employers is to attend motorsport shows. You can speak directly to recruiters to find out what skills and experience they're looking for.

Read motorsport magazines and follow companies on social media for news and job opportunities.

Further information

You can get more advice about careers in motorsport from the Motorsport Industry Association and Your Future in Automotive.

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With experience, you could specialise in a particular engineering field, like engine transmission or electronics.

You could also progress to test or workshop manager, chief engineer, technical coordinator or technical manager.

You could also work towards incorporated or chartered engineer status by applying to the Engineering Council.

The Motorsport Industry Association (MIA) recommends you choose a course that include work placements with manufacturers and suppliers, and volunteering at racing events as a marshal. 

The Motor Sports Association and British Motorsports Marshals Club have more information on racing and marshalling.

The MIA and Your Future in Automotive have more information on becoming a Motorsport Engineer.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • persistence and determination
  • problem-solving skills
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • analytical thinking skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • the ability to analyse quality or performance
  • customer service skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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