Motorsport is an exacting world that requires total commitment from its engineers. Without their skills and expertise, teams don’t even get to race. This MSc will hone your skills and expertise in relation to motorsport and high performance engineering through a rigorous combination of teaching and motorsport related project work.

At a glance

  • Start dateSeptember
  • DurationOne year full-time
  • DeliveryTaught modules 40%, Group project 20%, Individual project 40%
  • QualificationMSc
  • Study typeFull-time

Who is it for?

Developed in collaboration with leading motorsport companies, this postgraduate programme prepares graduates for a career in motorsport or high performance engineering.

Why this course?

Cranfield University has undertaken research, consultancy and testing for the motorsport sector since the 1970s. The University is home to the FIA approved Cranfield Impact Centre and Cranfield Motorsport Simulation which work with F1 and leading motorsport companies. We have an international reputation for our expertise in aerodynamics, CFD, materials technology, including composites, safety of motorsport vehicle structures, power-train development, vehicle dynamics, simulation, data acquisition and electronics, tyre characterisation and modelling. This track record ensures the course is highly respected by the motorsport industry.

  • Practical sessions using Cranfield's facilities and equipment
  • Engagement with motorsport practitioners
  • Motorsport related project work.

Informed by Industry

This programme is supported by a dedicated industrial advisory panel which is comprised of senior motorsport professionals. The panel is closely involved in the development of course content and provides support for group design and individual projects. This ensures the knowledge you gain is of direct relevance to the motorsport industry and provides you with an invaluable network of industry contacts.

The current composition of the Advanced Motorsport Engineering MSc Steering Committee (Advisory Panel) is:

  • Adrian Reynard, Director - ARC and Motorsport Visiting Professor to Cranfield University (Chair of the Panel)
  • Paul Crofts, Head of Materials Engineering - Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains (Deputy Chair of the Panel)
  • Chris Aylett, Chief Executive - The Motorsport Industry Association (MIA)
  • Simon Blunt, General Secretary - The Motor Sports Association (MSA)
  • Gillian Carr, Secretary - The British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC)
  • Owen Carless, Head of Stress, Rear of Car - Red Bull Technology
  • Jamie Dye, Managing Director – Fortec Motorsports
  • Jane Gilham, Head of Human Resources - Xtrac Ltd
  • Sylvain Filippi, Chief Technical Officer, Virgin Racing Formula E Team
  • Ian Goddard, Senior Engineer/Graduate Programme Manager - Renault Sport Formula One Team 
  • Ron Hartvelt, Director of Delivery - RML Group Ltd
  • David Lapworth, Technical Director - Prodrive
  • Cristiana Pace, ADR Operations Manager (consultant engineer) - Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA)
  • Mike Pilbeam, Director - Pilbeam Racing Designs
  • Julia Schumacher, High Performance Technologies (HPT) Business Growth Manager – Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership (NEP)
  • Neil Spalding, Director - Sigma Performance and Technical Consultant Moto GP
  • Stefan Strahnz, Engineering Group Manager – Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team
  • Pat Symonds, Chief Technical Officer - Williams F1
  • Christopher Tate, Managing Director - Donington Park Racing Ltd

Your teaching team

Our students regularly engage with motorsport practitioners through group design and individual project work supported by industry. Our extensive network of contacts provides students with the opportunity to undertake exciting projects addressing real-life challenges in motorsport, while gaining important additional skills.

In addition, a number of external lecturers from the world of motorsport will deliver sessions during modules as well as contributing to the group design project phase and to the support of individual thesis projects.

Accreditation

The course is accredited by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) for fulfilling further learning requirements for CEng until 2017. Cranfield University is a member of the Motorsport Industry Association (MIA) and is supported by the Motor Sports Association (MSA). The Advanced Motorsport Engineering MSc programme is linked to AVL through AVL's University Partnership scheme. Students have access to AVL Boost software.

Course details

The MSc course consists of nine one-week assessed modules, of which eight are assessed, which take place during October to February, a group design project and an individual thesis project.

Students who excel on the Masters' course have their performance recognised through prizes from our partners and associates presented at the Motorsport MSc 'Winning Post' Graduation event. These are awarded for:

  1. Sir Jackie Stewart OBE Prize - Best overall student performance
  2. Visiting Professor Adrian Reynard PrizeBest thesis
  3. British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) Prize - Best student ambassador
  4. Altair Optimum AwardBest Group design project report
  5. MSA (Motor Sports Association) PrizeBest Group design project presentation
  6. Racecar Engineering Magazine PrizeBest Group design project poster.

Group project

Group design projects are usually sponsored by industry partners and provide students with experience of working on real challenges in the work place along with skills in team working, managing resources and developing reporting and presentation skills. Experience gained is highly valued by both students and prospective employers. Projects run from February to May.

The group design project forms an important element of the education and assessment process for our Masters' students. The group design project is an applied, multidisciplinary team-based activity, providing students with the opportunity to apply principles taught during their MSc course. The Presentation Day provides the students with an opportunity to present their work to an audience of industry representatives, academics and their peers.

Our group design projects have proven very successful in developing new conceptual designs which are now implemented in competition vehicles and have even influenced sporting regulations. The nature of the work is very much applied with the students accessing facilities and equipment here at Cranfield together with support from the academic team and motorsport practitioners.

2015-2016

  • Land Speed Record (LSR) motorcycle concept designs
Four student teams developed their concepts for the 500cc streamliner class. Within each team students specialised in disciplines such as CFD, aerodynamics, vehicle dynamics, powertrain, materials and structures. They created a wind tunnel model that was tested in the Cranfield facility. In addition to the technical aspects, students engaged in individual competency evaluation, peer review and personal reflection.
View our previous Group projects

Individual project

Each year we have a number of thesis projects with motorsport companies that are subject to Non-Disclosure Agreements. This reflects the competitive and confidential nature of motorsport. However, a number of thesis projects are in the public domain and reflect the opportunity students have to deepen their technical understanding. Recently completed thesis projects include:
  • Simulation of interconnected suspension for LMP applications
  • Applied aerodynamics study for rear wing optimisation 
  • Simulation and design of a split turbocharger for a 2015 F1 engine 
  • Design, manufacture and testing of a novel F1 suspension arm joint 
  • Airbox design: analysis and improvement for a racing sidecar outfit.

The individual thesis project runs until early September. Thesis projects allow the students to deepen their understanding through research work related to motorsport.

“The day before going to Goodwood, I was at Cranfield University attending the Thesis Project Exhibition Day which included presentations for the Motorsport MSc programme, in other words, the bright young minds that will hopefully be coming into motorsport in the near future. With students from around the world, it really was inspirational talking to many of them and learning from them what they had been researching and their conclusions. As long as the sanctioning bodies embrace new technologies and not be afraid of them and go down the spec series route, then motor racing’s future looks exceptionally bright.”  William Kimberley, Editor, Race Tech Magazine

Assessment

Taught modules 40%, Group project 20%, Individual project 40%

Core modules

Composite structures for motorsport

Module Leader
  • Dr Veronica Marchante Rodriguez¬†
Syllabus
    • Materials forms, performance and selection
    • Composites application in the motorsport industry through case studies
    • Manufacturing technology and joining techniques, including manufacturing technique training
    • Composite structures design, analysis and optimisation techniques
    • Design of safety structures
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students should:

  • Understand the principles of composite material selection and performance and their areas of application in motorsport
  • Be aware of upcoming materials/structural technologies and their possible applications
  • Be aware of the techniques used for the design, processing, assembly and testing of motorsport structural components
  • Understand crashworthiness concepts and the influence of motorsport regulations on the structure design.

Computational fluid dynamics for motorsport

Module Leader
  • Dr Laszlo Konozsy
Syllabus
    • Introduction to CFD
    • Fluid dynamics - governing equations
    • Computational fluid dynamics - numerical methods
    • Grid generation, techniques and application
    • Practical hands-on experience of commercial codes (e.g. ICEM/FLUENT/Paraview)
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

  • Differentiate between CFD approaches for different flow regimes
  • Formulate a solution strategy for a given fluid dynamics problem in motorsports
  • Demonstrate an ability to apply commercial CFD software to a given fluid dynamics problem.

Introduction to motorsport

Module Leader
  • Mr Clive Temple
Syllabus
    This module sets the scene for the MSc programme, placing it in the context of motorsport. Including the preceding Friday's course-specific induction, the module covers:

    • Introductions by the core course team
    • Student introductions
    • Overview of the MSc programme
    • The thesis project
    • Getting the most out of the MSc
    • Motorsport course specific health and safety
    • The Cranfield University Student Motorsport Club
    • Overview and visit to see Cranfield's F1 cars and other motorsport related equipment and facilities
    • History of motorsport and competition vehicle development
    • Competition vehicle design
    • Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 presentation
    • Overview of the motorsport sector - the Motorsport Industry Association (MIA)
    • Motorsport careers with Anderson Gothard
    • Motorsport simulators with Cranfield Motorsport Simulation (CMS)*
    • Optimising the race driver with iZone
    • Race engineer-race driver communication with Motorsport Consulting
    • Computing and simulation software including FEA
    • Social event with staff and alumni
    * Advanced Motorsport Engineering MSc students undertake sessions in the Cranfield Motorsport Simulator later in the month.

Intended learning outcomes

Motorsport aerodynamics

Module Leader
  • Professor Kevin Garry
Syllabus
    • Basic flow concepts and governing equations
    • A review of the fundamental aerodynamic characteristics of streamlined and bluff bodies
    • The application of aerodynamic design principles to motorsport wings and diffusers
    • Mechanisms for controlling aerodynamic lift and drag generation
    • An introduction to aerodynamic issues related to cooling and ventilation flows
    • An introduction to wheel aerodynamics
    • An overview of open-wheel, sports car and touring car aerodynamics
    • Experimental methods for motorsport aerodynamics including the use of a moving ground wind tunnel
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this study the student should:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the essential facts, concepts and principles of incompressible flows including vortices and viscous effects, boundary layers, wing and diffuser aerodynamic characteristics
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how aerodynamics affects the motorsport vehicle design and operation
  • Demonstrate a critical awareness of the wind tunnel techniques used to analyse motorsport aerodynamic problems and apply these techniques and concepts to develop solution strategies for  relevant wind tunnel simulations
  • Demonstrate competence in analysing and evaluating the low speed aerodynamic characteristics of representative vehicles and components using acquired wind tunnel data, data sheets and fundamental principles.

Motorsport electronics and data acquisition

Module Leader
Syllabus
    • An overview of competition data collection systems and their packaging
    • Sensors, signal conditioning and information technology
    • Data collection, collation and analysis
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module the student should:

  • Have an awareness of the role of electrical and data acquisition systems in a competition vehicle
  • Have an overview of sensor technology, signal conditioning and information technology as applied in motorsport
  • Gain an initial insight into data collection, organisation and analysis for motorsport applications.

Motorsport power train design

Module Leader
  • Mr Clive Temple
Syllabus
    • Gasoline engine performance characteristics: performance indices
    • Idealised thermodynamic cycles and the limits to ideal behaviour
    • Maximising power output using high engine speeds: thermo-fluid implications
    • Maximising the air/fuel charge in every cylinder: intake system design, supercharging and turbo-charging
    • Fuel systems, combustion control and engine management systems
    • Mechanical design of high performance two and four stroke automotive engines
    • The matching of engine, transmission and vehicle
    • The design of vehicle transmission systems
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this study the student should be able to:

  • Demonstrate through success with an end of module assignment, knowledge and understanding of the physical processes at work during the preparation of the fuel and air mixture and its eventual combustion and emission
  • Discuss with engineering practitioners the implications of high engine speeds on the mechanical and thermo-fluid behaviour of engines
  • Describe the matching of engine, transmission and vehicle chassis for motorsport applications
  • Describe the operation of high performance vehicle transmission systems.

This module uses AVL Boost supported through the AVL - Universities Partnership Programme.

Motorsport structural analysis

Module Leader
  • Dr Rishi Abhyankar
Syllabus
    • The physical and metallurgical properties of high strength steels, stainless steels, metal matrix composites and aluminium, and titanium alloys
    • Structural responses and stiffness analyses
    • An introduction into finite element modelling and simulations
    • An introduction into shape optimisation
    • Identification of failure modes and non-destructive test methods
Intended learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module the student will be able to:

  • Define metallic materials selection criteria, select metallic materials to specifications and relate the metallic material properties and structural properties
  • Design metallic alloy products (e.g. vehicle chassis, wheels, suspension etc), develop a finite element model of a metallic product using modelling and simulation tools, define relevant structural properties for product models, validate models (with respect to shape, mesh, contacts, materials  law,  etc) using modelling and simulation tools, analyse modelling and simulation results with respect to structural responses behaviour and compare finite element modelling results with experimental results
  • Assemble the designed product, optimise the designed product (with respect to lightweight, cost, performance,  and safety margins properties) using modelling and simulation tools and relate designed models and implementations.

Motorsport vehicle dynamics

Module Leader
  • Dr James Brighton
Syllabus
    • Minimum time optimisation
    • Tyre shear force development, measurement and characterisation
    • Suspension geometry description and analysis - important properties
    • Steady turning equilibrium states; suspension/chassis interactions; roll angles, load transfers, jacking
    • Yaw/sideslip handling dynamics; steady turn responses, understeer and oversteer; stability and controllability (a) small perturbations from straight running (b) small perturbations from cornering trim
    • Limit behaviour and design aspects; differentials and brake balancing
    • Simulation tools and model building - special reference to RaceSim
    • Vibration behaviour of car and wheels; springs; dampers; track roughness and the use of electro-hydraulic shaker rigs for setup
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this study the student should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the performance limits of a race car and the sources of such limitations
  • Describe the interactions of car and driver and discuss intelligently the requirements on the car from a controllability point of view
  • Demonstrate a knowledge of the complex relationships between car design aspects and vehicle performance
  • Show some familiarity with simulation and optimisation methods for improving design and performance.

The business of motorsport

Module Leader
  • Mr Clive Temple
Syllabus
    • The business environment for motorsport organisations
    • The nature and dynamics of business environments
    • Determining drivers for future change
    • Managing motorsport businesses strategically
    • Creating and sustaining competitive advantage
    • Commercial aspects of motorsport management
    • Marketing plans and positioning for sponsorship
    • Brand strategies
    • Media relations
    • Raising capital for motorsport businesses
    • Managing technical knowledge and expertise
    • Knowledge management, creating, codifying and diffusing knowledge
    • Managing innovation and expertise
    • Integration of management principles through assessment and evaluation of a series of motorsport case studies
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module the student should:

  • understand the specific management challenges of the motorsport sector
  • characterise the motorsport environment and the influences on its development
  • appreciate the potential sources of competitive advantage for an organisation in the motorsport sector and the steps needed to both create and sustain such an advantage
  • understand the particular issues relating to the commercial aspects of motorsport management. These would include raising and sustaining sponsorship, media relations and raising capital
  • understand the particular issues relating to the management of technical expertise and knowledge in motorsport.

Fees and funding



MSc Full-time £9,000

Fee notes:

  • The fees outlined apply to all students whose initial date of registration falls on or between 1 August 2016 and 31 July 2017.
  • All students pay the tuition fee set by the University for the full duration of their registration period agreed at their initial registration.
  • A deposit may be payable, depending on your course.
  • Additional fees for extensions to the agreed registration period may be charged and can be found below.
  • Fee eligibility at the Home/EU rate is determined with reference to UK Government regulations. As a guiding principle, EU nationals (including UK) who are ordinarily resident in the EU pay Home/EU tuition fees, all other students (including those from the Channel Islands and Isle of Man) pay Overseas fees.
MSc Full-time £17,500

Fee notes:

  • The fees outlined apply to all students whose initial date of registration falls on or between 1 August 2016 and 31 July 2017.
  • All students pay the tuition fee set by the University for the full duration of their registration period agreed at their initial registration.
  • A deposit may be payable, depending on your course.
  • Additional fees for extensions to the agreed registration period may be charged and can be found below.
  • Fee eligibility at the Home/EU rate is determined with reference to UK Government regulations. As a guiding principle, EU nationals (including UK) who are ordinarily resident in the EU pay Home/EU tuition fees, all other students (including those from the Channel Islands and Isle of Man) pay Overseas fees.

Funding Opportunities

Students are expected to finance their studies, either directly or through an external funding source.

External sources of funding for UK/EU student:

Entry requirements

First or upper second class UK Honours or international equivalent in a relevant STEM discipline such as engineering, aerodynamics, physics or applied mathematics. You must have A-Level mathematics and physics, or their international equivalent.

Selected UK students are expected to attend a formal interview at Cranfield. Selected overseas and EU students will be interviewed by telephone.

English Language

If you are an international student you will need to provide evidence that you have achieved a satisfactory test result in an English qualification. Our minimum requirements are as follows:

IELTS - 7

TOEFL - 100 

Pearson PTE Academic - 68

Cambridge English Scale - 190

Cambridge English: Advanced - C

Cambridge English: Proficiency - C

In addition to these minimum scores you are also expected to achieve a balanced score across all elements of the test. We reserve the right to reject any test score if any one element of the test score is too low.

We can only accept tests taken within two years of your registration date (with the exception of Cambridge English tests which have no expiry date).

Students requiring a Tier 4 (General) visa must ensure they can meet the English language requirements set out by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and we recommend booking a IELTS for UKVI test.

Your career

Motorsport is a highly competitive sector. Studying at Cranfield will immerse you in a highly focused motorsport engineering learning experience, providing you with access to motorsport companies and practitioners. Securing employment is ultimately down to the student who completes the job applications and attends the interviews.  Successful students go on to be part of a network of engineers. You will find Cranfield alumni working across motorsport and the high performance engineering sector. 

Jess Harris

"I feel that the MSc in Advanced Motorsport Engineering at Cranfield was an incredible experience I would not have been able to have anywhere else. I completed my thesis project with Mercedes AMG F1 which has further progressed into a full time job as a Test and Development Engineer"

Jessica Harris, Test and Development Engineer

Applying

Online application form. UK students are normally expected to attend an interview and financial support is best discussed at this time. Overseas and EU students may be interviewed by telephone.

Apply Now