Brabham Racing Aims To Inspire Next Generation of Young Engineers

Brabham, one of the most successful and iconic names in motorsport history, has released details about how it aims to inspire a new generation of engineers while highlighting the raft of career opportunities in motorsport through its Brabham-Engineer web application.
The report Engineering UK 2014 – The State of Engineering, highlights that 'The UK at all levels of education does not have either the current capacity or the rate of growth needed to meet the forecast demand for skilled engineers by 2020'. A recent survey by Nestle UK & Ireland also found that four out of five 14-16 year-olds would consider careers in a science, technology, engineers and maths (STEM) related industry, but half of those surveyed admit they knew very little of the type of jobs on offer.

In a country renowned for producing world-class engineers and where engineering makes a vital contribution to the UK economy, David Brabham's bold new model for open source motor racing to resurrect the legendary Brabham Racing team aims to bridge the gap between the motorsport industry and future engineers.

Around 62 per cent of all UK businesses are concerned that Britain is currently facing an engineering skills gap, with over a third agreeing that the situation has worsened over the past five years. A lack of careers advice is one area that has been highlighted and this is where Brabham Racing's ambitions lie – by opening its doors and allowing people to see inside the world of motorsport engineering.

Brabham recognises the potential value and interest this unique learning environment will have for engineering students and supporting education will play an important role as Brabham Racing progresses. Brabham-Engineer will be an e-learning portal, online motorsport engineering experience and a series of open source engineering challenges all rolled into one.

The team will return to the track in the FIA World Endurance Championship and LMP2 next year. In doing so, Brabham Racing plans to create an online learning environment that allows its community to contribute to the team's strategy, develop core skills and be involved in the collaborative design of the first future Brabham LMP1 car.

David Brabham commented: "The UK has always been a global leader in motorsport engineering, dating back to the 1950s and 1960s when my father Sir Jack Brabham was at the centre of British dominance in Formula 1. That dominance has grown ten fold since, with over 3,000 motorsport companies based in Motorsport Valley employing around 40,000 people, accounting for 80 per cent of the world's high-performance engineers. To ensure that heritage continues, young people must have access to learning materials and know a career in motorsport is possible.

"In motorsport, engineering knowledge and knowhow is usually locked away behind closed doors in the spirit of competition. By creating an open source platform that allows people from around the world to learn through the team, contribute and influence its development, Brabham Racing will push the boundaries of engineering once again and help inspire the next generation of engineers."

Brabham-Engineer challenges will be set in line with class homologations and regulations before, during and after every race, to form learning modules across the season. The Brabham-Engineer LMP2 programme will provide an excellent grounding in racecar engineering, allowing members to build a solid knowledge foundation and gain valuable insight into team management from an engineering perspective.

Engineering challenges will become much more complex, increasing in both the level of difficulty and interactivity as Brabham Racing strives to become an LMP1 constructor by 2018. The design of the team's first LMP1 car could start as soon as 2016, which would reflect Brabham-Engineer tasks as complex as designing a complete chassis through collaborative CAD software.

Brabham-Engineer LMP2
During the Brabham Racing LMP2 campaign, Brabham-Engineer members will be provided with an engaging learning environment based upon:
  1. Pre Event: General event planning and scheduling
  2. Shakedown: Routine engineering tasks, areas of analysis and special tasks related to the event
  3. Car Set-up
  4. Tyre Strategy
  5. Session Planning: Driver rotation and plan, fuel usage, set-up evaluation, runs planned per session and tyre usage in relation to conditions
  6. Session Development
  7. Chassis Analysis
  8. Concern and Fault Analysis
  9. Opposition Analysis
  10. Driver Performance
  11. Team Performance
  12. Data Analysis
  13. Simulation Analysis
  14. Progressive Development / Future Events

LMP2 Example Challenge – Tyre Management and Strategy
Tyre strategy can make a huge difference between winning and losing in any form of motorsport, but particularly in endurance racing. Brabham Racing would explore which compound is best suited to each stint and driver at each track, how long each tyre set will last and provide real data on performance degradation.

The Brabham-Engineer challenge would allow members to analyse the data, consider potential strategies, and then put forward their own tyre strategy proposal for team consideration. The team would provide up to three defined strategies to put to the community vote.

The community will be given access to comprehensive de-briefing notes, team and driver feedback following each event, which will allow members to evaluate their thinking and consider what they would change for future races.

Brabham-Engineer is one of three Brabham-Digital portals underpinning David Brabham's transparent open source motor racing model, Project Brabham. Those contributing towards the team's early stage development by Saturday, 15 November, can subscribe to the Brabham-Engineer portal for three years. Visit the Brabham-Engineer page for further details.

Image © The Institute of Mechanical Engineers / Formula Student