Our 2019 course is now full, but applications for 2020 are open. Alternatively you may consider Advanced Motorsport Mechatronics MSc for 2019 entry.

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.


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

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?

This course aims to provide you with a sound understanding of the fundamental scientific, engineering and managerial principles involved in motorsport, and their implementation within a high performance technology context.

You will cover design, construction and operation of competition vehicles, and related aspects of materials science, aerodynamics, structural analysis, vehicle systems, and management techniques related to motorsport.

You will be taught the skills required for the planning, execution and reporting of motorsport projects and to prepare them for a variety of roles in motorsport.

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

The Industrial Advisory Board or Steering Committee is a very important factor in the success of the Cranfield Motorsport MSc programme. It includes representation from key individuals and leading organisations in global motorsport.

The board supports the development and delivery of the MSc Advanced Motorsport Engineering, ensuring its relevance to motorsport. It also assists students where careers are concerned, supports teaching and group design and individual thesis projects.

As of January 2019 the composition of the Cranfield University Motorsport Steering Committee is provided below. I have also added information regarding Honorary Doctorates and other links we have with the motorsport sector. Do you require information regarding our Automotive IAB?:

• Adrian Reynard, Director – ARC, Cranfield University Honorary Doctorate and Motorsport Visiting Professor to Cranfield University (Chair of the Panel)
• Paul Crofts, Chief Technologist Process and Vertical Integration – Integral Powertrain Ltd (Deputy Chair of the Panel)
• Chris Aylett, Chief Executive – The Motorsport Industry Association (MIA)
• Rodi Basso, Motorsports Director – McLaren Applied Technology Group
• Owen Carless, Head of Stress, Rear of Car – Red Bull Technology
• Jane Gilham, Head of Human Resources – Xtrac Ltd Jane Gilham
• Ian Goddard, Head of Technical Partnerships – Renault Sport Formula One Team
• John Grant, Chairman – British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) John Grant
• Sylvain Filippi, Managing Director – Envision Virgin Racing Formula E Team
• Ron Harvelt, Managing Director – One Group Engineering
• Gerry Hughes, Team Principal – NIO Formula E Team
• Dr Pete James, CEO - Lyra Electronics
• Rob Kirk, Head of Motorsport Electronics – Cosworth
• David Lapworth, Technical Director – Prodrive
• Cristiana Pace, Motorsport Consultant
• Mike Pilbeam, Director – Pilbeam Racing Designs
• Stuart Robertson, Head of Circuit and Rally Safety – FIA
• Neil Spalding, Director - Sigma Performance and Technical Consultant Moto GP
• Stefan Strahnz, Chief Engineer - Business Process Transformation - Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Motorsport
• Pat Symonds, Chief Technical Officer – Formula One Management and Visiting Professor to Cranfield University
• Christopher Tate, Motorsport Consultant 
• Iain Wight, Business Development Director – Williams Advanced Engineering

The following individuals associated with motorsport hold Honorary Doctorates awarded by Cranfield University:
• Sir Jackie Stewart OBE
• Christian Horner OBE
• David Richards CBE
• Professor Adrian Reynard
• Nick Fry
• Tony Fernandes

Cranfield University is a member of the Motorsport Industry Association (MIA). Cranfield has close links with Motorsport UK. Its Motorsport MSc students assist the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) with respect to the British F1 Grand Prix at Silverstone. The Cranfield Motorsport MSc programme is linked to AVL through AVL's University Partnership scheme. Students have access to AVL Boost software. Through its parallel businesses the FIA accredited Cranfield Impact Centre (CIC) and Cranfield Simulation are connected to the Cranfield Motorsport MSc programme.

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 either on the day of the Motorsport Group Design Presentations or at the Motorsport MSc 'Parc Ferme' Graduation event in the June of the following year.

These are awarded for:

  • Sir Jackie Stewart OBE Prize - Best overall student performance
  • Visiting Professor Adrian Reynard Prize - Best thesis
  • British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) Prize - Best student ambassador
  • Best overall Group Design Project
  • MSA (Motor Sports Association) Prize - Best Group design project presentation
  • Racecar Engineering Magazine Prize - Best Group design project poster.

Course delivery

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

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.

2018 - Electric Dakar 

Five student teams presented their conceptual design and performance prediction of an electric competition vehicle. The teams specialised in disciplines such as full battery electric powertrain, battery recharge vehicle and safety in design. They also delivered a conceptual level whole vehicle design, performance predictions and safety.

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


Keeping our courses up-to-date and current requires constant innovation and change. The modules we offer reflect the needs of business and industry and the research interests of our staff and, as a result, may change or be withdrawn due to research developments, legislation changes or for a variety of other reasons. Changes may also be designed to improve the student learning experience or to respond to feedback from students, external examiners, accreditation bodies and industrial advisory panels.

To give you a taster, we have listed the compulsory and elective (where applicable) modules which are currently affiliated with this course. All modules are indicative only, and may be subject to change for your year of entry.

Course modules

Compulsory modules
All the modules in the following list need to be taken as part of this course

Induction and Introduction to Motorsport

Module Leader
  • Clive Temple
    As an introductory non-assessed module it sets the scene for the Advanced Motorsport Engineering MSc programme placing it in the context of motorsport engineering and the business behind it.
    • The Advanced Motorsport Engineering MSc programme with reference to the key elements of the taught modules, the group design project and the individual thesis projects.
    • History of motorsport and competition vehicle development.
    • Competition vehicle categories.
    • Sporting and technical regulations.
    • Design of competition vehicles.
    • Overview of the motorsport sector in the UK.
    • Introduction to software packages related to motorsport engineering.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

1. Distinguish the MSc courses in the context of motorsport engineering and the industry sector which underpins it.
2. Appraise the historical development of motorsport and competition vehicle evolution.
3. Assess categorisation of competition vehicles.
4. Debate the criticality of the technical and sporting regulations and what these mean to motorsport engineers.
5. Provide an overview of the motorsport sector in the UK.
6. Relate the use of a range of software packages to the context of the course

Motorsport Structural Analysis

    The module aims to provide an introduction to the selection, processing, design, and analysis of competition vehicles. The module offers combination of fundamental concepts lectures, engineering theories, lab exercises, finite element modelling and simulations, tutorial and peer review exercises.

    • The physical and metallurgical properties of high strength steels, stainless steels, metal matrix composites and aluminium, and titanium alloys, rubbers, elastomers, plastics and honeycomb.
    • 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 successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  1. Define selection criteria and select to specifications metallic and non-metallic (except composite) materials.
  2. Design metallic and non-metallic (except composite) products (e.g. vehicle chassis, wheels, suspension etc).
  3. Develop finite element model of a metallic and non-metallic (except composite) product using modelling and simulation tools, and validate models (with respect to shape, mesh, contacts, materials law, etc) using modelling and simulation tools.
  4. Analyse modelling and simulation results with respect to structural responses behaviour, and compare finite element modelling results with experimental results.
  5. Optimise the designed product (with respect to lightweight, cost, performance, and safety margins properties) using modelling and simulation tools.

Motorsport Electronics and Data Acquisition

Module Leader
  • Dr Kim Blackburn
    • Provides an understanding of the electronic and data acquisition systems that are integral to the modern motorsport vehicle.
    • Provides an appreciation of the principles of data acquisition, to "get good data" on track or in test environments.
    • Provides methodologies for the analysis and interpretation of the data acquired, and how this underpins all performance optimisation.

    • Electrical circuit issues, sensors, signal conditioning
    • Sampling issues in amplitude and frequency domain
    • Data communications on car and test cell
    • Data processing and analysis techniques
    • Introduction to realtime software
    • Practical system packaging
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  1. Examine the fundamental role electronic systems and acquired data have on and off vehicle throughout motorsport.
  2. Design, evaluate and optimise data systems based on fundamental principles of electrical and digital information transfer.
  3. Propose and apply suitable data analysis techniques to tackle particular engineering questions in a motorsport context.
  4. Analyse data in the context of a chosen field, maximising the result from a particular test (vehicle dynamics used as an example with direct involvement in configuration and calibration of instrumentation on a vehicle for a track test). 

Motorsport Vehicle Dynamics

Module Leader
  • Professor James Brighton
    To provide students with fundamental information on vehicle dynamics focussing on limit behaviour with explanations and derivations from first principles, using simplified physical models. To provide experience of a computer based dynamics simulation package of industrial standard, and to provide experimental exercises to illustrate major physical concepts.
    • 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
    • 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 module a student should be able to:

1. Appraise the performance limits of a competition vehicle and the sources of such limitations.
2. Evaluate the interactions of competition vehicle and participant and discuss intelligently the requirements on the competition vehicle from a controllability point of view.
3. Distinguish the complex relationships between competition vehicle design aspects and competition vehicle performance.
4. Examine simulation and optimisation methods for improving design and performance.

Motorsport Aerodynamics

Module Leader
  • Professor Kevin Garry
    Aerodynamics is a critical element of modern motorsport vehicle design. This module will enable students to understand the basic principles governing aerodynamics in relation to competition vehicles, including the use of wind tunnel testing techniques.

    • 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 module a student should be able to:
1. 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.
2. Demonstrate understanding of how aerodynamics affects the motorsport vehicle design and operation.
3. 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.
4. 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.

Computational Fluid Dynamics for Motorsport

Module Leader
  • Dr Laszlo Konozsy
    To understand the key features of CFD methods used for simulating external flows for engineering applications.

    • Introduction to CFD
    • Fluid dynamics - governing equations
    • Grid generation, techniques and application
    • Solution strategies
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Differentiate between CFD approaches for different flow regimes.
2. Formulate a solution strategy for a given fluid dynamics problem in motorsports.
3. Demonstrate an ability to apply commercial CFD software to a given fluid dynamics problem.

The Business of Motorsport

Module Leader
  • Clive Temple

    To provide students with a series of learning activities during which they will acquire an understanding of how to apply management techniques to the context of motorsport and thus building an awareness of the specific management challenges faced in this sector. The course aims to encourage students to acquire skills in information gathering, the processing of information, analysis and communication and these skills will be assessed by group presentation and by written group assignment.

    • The business environment in general
    • The business context for motorsport organisations
    • Managing motorsport businesses strategically
    • Creating and sustaining competitive advantage in motorsport
    • Commercial aspects of motorsport management
    • Marketing and motorsport including branding, media and sponsorship
    • Financing motorsport businesses and their on-going financial management.
    • Project management and motorsport
    • Managing technical knowledge and expertise in motorsport
    • Technology transfer and opportunities for diversification.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

1. Appraise the specific management challenges facing the motorsport sector.
2. Distinguish the motorsport environment and the influences on its development.
3. Assess 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
4. Evaluate the particular issues relating to the commercial aspects of motorsport management. These would include raising and sustaining sponsorship, media relations, raising capital, diversification through technology transfer.
5. Examine the particular issues relating to the management of technical expertise and knowledge in motorsport and its exploitation.

Composite Structures for Motorsport

Module Leader
  • Dr Veronica Marchante Rodriguez
    Provide detailed understanding and practical experience of the use of composite materials in racing car structures including materials selection, component design, manufacturing technology processing and performance.

    • Materials forms, performance and selection.
    • Composites application of in Motorsport industry through case studies.
    • Manufacturing technology and joining techniques, including manufacturing technique training.
    • Composite structures design, analyses and optimisation techniques.
    • Design of safety structures.

Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Understand the principles of composite material selection and performance and apply them in the design and manufacturing of structures in motorsport.
2. Evaluate upcoming materials/structural technologies and their possible applications.
3. Evaluate and compare the techniques used for the design, processing and assembly and testing of motorsport structural components.
4. Apply and analyse crashworthiness concepts and the influence of Motorsport regulations on the structure design.

Motorsport Powertrain Design

Module Leader
  • Clive Temple
    To provide students with a series of learning activities during which they will acquire an understanding of the engineering principles on which engine design and development depend. Some activities will be classroom based, some reliant on group work and some requiring active learning by the student. The course aims to encourage students to acquire skills in information gathering, the processing of information, analysis and communication and these skills will be tested by written assignments.
    • 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 & turbo-charging.
    • Fuel systems, combustion control and engine management systems.
    • Mechanical design of high performance two and four stroke petrol and diesel motorsport engines.
    • The matching of engine, transmission and vehicle.
    • The design of high performance vehicle transmission systems.
    • Hybrid and electric powertrains as used in motorsport.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  1. Understand what counts as excellent engine performance and how to use  engine simulation techniques to find such levels of performance.
  2. Test and evaluate the physical processes at work during the preparation of the fuel & air mixture and its eventual combustion and emission with particular reference to high engine speeds.
  3. Evaluate the matching of engine, transmission and vehicle chassis for motorsport applications.
  4. Appraise the operation of high performance vehicle transmission systems.
  5. Examine hybridisation and electrification of motorsport powertrains.




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.


MSc in Advanced Motorsport Engineering is accredited by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). Re-accreditation for the MSc in Advanced Motorsport Engineering is currently being sought from the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) on behalf of the Engineering Council as meeting the requirements for Further Learning for registration as a Chartered Engineer. Candidates must hold a CEng accredited BEng/BSc (Hons) undergraduate first degree to comply with full CEng registration requirements. 

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. 

How to apply

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.

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, Structural System Engineer