This course aims to provide students with a sound understanding of the fundamental scientific, engineering and managerial principles involved in motorsport. The focus is on the “mechatronics” aspect of the discipline, which is the engineering of advanced control systems, multi-domain computer modelling, in-vehicle communication networks, electromechanical and embedded systems, hardware-in-the-loop validation and systems integration. 

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?

This course aims to provide students with a sound understanding of the fundamental scientific, engineering and managerial principles involved in motorsport. A combination of mechanics, electronics and computer systems, 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.

Students will cover design, testing and operation of competition vehicles, and related aspects of control engineering, computer modelling, embedded systems, alongside vehicle dynamics, 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 includes representation from key individuals and leading organisations in global motorsport.

The board supports the development and delivery of the MSc Advanced Motorsport Mechatronics, 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 2018 the composition of the Cranfield University Motorsport Steering Committee is:

• 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
• Chris Aylett, Chief Executive - The Motorsport Industry Association (MIA) 
• Rodi Basso, Motorsports Director – McLaren Applied Technology Group 
• Simon Blunt, General Secretary - The Motor Sports Association (MSA) 
• 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
• Ian Goddard, Head of Technical Partnerships – Renault Sport Formula One Team 
• John Grant, Chairman – British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC)
• Sylvain Filippi, Chief Technical Officer, Virgin Racing Formula E Team 
• Ron Harvelt, Managing Director - One Group Engineering 
• 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 Team
• Pat Symonds, Technical Consultant – Formula One Management and Visiting Professor to Cranfield University 
• Christopher Tate, Executive Chairman, WDK Holdings Limited
• Iain Wight, Business Development Director -Williams Advanced Engineering 

Cranfield University is a member of the Motorsport Industry Association (MIA) and is supported by the Motor Sports Association (MSA). Its Motorsport MSc students assist the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) with respect to the British F1 Grand Prix at Silverstone. The Advanced Motorsport Engineering MSc programme is linked to AVL through AVL's University Partnership scheme. Students have access to AVL Boost software.




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

Accreditation is being sought for  MSc in Advanced Motorsport Mechatronics from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) 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. 




Course details

The MSc course consists of nine one-week taught modules, a motorsport mechatronics group design project and an individual thesis project.

Group project

Our motorsport related group design projects have proven very successful in generating new conceptual designs, which subsequently have been implemented in competition vehicles; they have even influenced the formulation of technical and sporting regulations.

Group design projects are usually supported by industry partners and provide students with skills in team working, managing resources and developing their reporting and presentation skills. You will review your peers and they will appraise your contribution to the project.

The Advanced Motorsport Mechatronics MSc group design project is an applied, multidisciplinary team-based activity, providing students with the opportunity to apply principles taught during their Master’s course.

Your group will present its work to a practitioner audience.

Individual project

Individual thesis projects allow the students to deepen their understanding through research work related to motorsport mechatronics. Students self-manage their thesis projects with support from their academic supervisor and industry contact, if part of their project. The conclusion of their research work is a concisely written thesis report and the presentation of a poster outlining their project.

On occasion, Cranfield theses have formed the basis of technical articles published in journals such as Racecar Engineering. Below is an example of a fully autonomous small-scale vehicle developed by one of our students in collaboration with a local motorsport company.



Assessment

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

University Disclaimer

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 modules and (where applicable) some elective modules affiliated with this programme which ran in the academic year 2017–2018. There is no guarantee that these modules will run for 2018 entry. All modules are subject to change depending on your year of entry.

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

Introduction to Motorsport

Module Leader
  • Clive Temple
Aim
    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.
Syllabus
    • 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 electronics and data acquisition

Module Leader
Aim
    Provides an understanding of the electronic and data acquisition systems that are integral to the modern motorsport vehicle. Provides methodologies for the analysis and interpretation of the data acquired, and how this underpins all performance optimisation.
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 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 vehicle dynamics resulting from your own configuration and calibration of instrumentation on a vehicle for a track test




Motorsport vehicle dynamics

Module Leader
  • Dr James Brighton
Aim
    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.
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
    • 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.

Vehicle Control Applications

Module Leader
Aim

    Across the complete range of ground vehicle domains, including powertrain and chassis electronics, the aim of this module is for students to evaluate the so called x-by-wire systems and to propose new solutions based on future requirements for higher levels of vehicle automation and safety by using more intelligent control systems.



Syllabus

    • An introduction to automated driving and autonomous land vehicles
    • Vehicle user interfaces and driver-automation collaboration
    • Applications of artificial intelligence and machine learning in intelligent vehicle control systems
    • Functional safety within vehicle control systems
    • Vehicle steering control
    • Vehicle chassis control systems and integration
    • Electric and hybrid electric powertrain control systems
    • Engine control
    • Battery control and estimation for vehicle application



Intended learning outcomes

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

1. Critically evaluate the physical configuration of a vehicle sub-system and be able to formulate new control design solutions appropriate for integration within a vehicle.
2. Appraise a set of vehicle performance targets for higher levels of automation and safety, more energy conservation and less environmental impacts and be able to select the most appropriate control methods and design techniques to meet the vehicle specification.
3. Analyse and evaluate the applications of artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques in vehicle control architectures to improve the vehicle performance measures such as higher levels of automation and safety, more energy conservation and less environmental impacts.


The business of motorsport

Module Leader
  • Clive Temple
Aim

    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.



Syllabus
    • 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.

Motorsport Powertrain Design

Module Leader
  • Clive Temple
Aim
    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.
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 & 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 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. Test and evaluate the physical processes at work during the preparation of the fuel & air mixture and its eventual combustion and emission.
2. Debate with engineering practitioners the implications of high engine speeds on the mechanical and thermofluid behaviour of engines.
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.

Mechatronics Modelling for Vehicle Systems

Module Leader
  • Dr Stefano Longo
Aim
    • To provide a fundamental understanding of physical modelling applied to vehicles mechatronic systems.
    • To introduce students to modelling techniques, from basic methodology to graphical modelling and practical viewpoints.
    • To illustrate the role of first principle and data-driven modelling.
Syllabus

    Course content includes:
    • Introduction to mathematical modelling
    • Modelling from first principle
    • Newtonian and Lagrangian modelling
    • Electric circuits and networks
    • Modelling from data and system identification
    • Modelling of delays
    • Block diagram reduction
    • Powertrain backward and forward modelling
    • Modelling for vehicle dynamics and tyre-surface interaction
    • Modelling with Matlab/Simulink

Intended learning outcomes

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

1. Compare and criticise the different analogies that can be made between all system dynamics.
2. Experiment with fundamental concepts of mechatronics systems to design simplified system dynamics models.
3. Evaluate and construct mechatronics models using state-space models derived from system identification, Newtonian equation and Lagrangian equations.
4. Construct state-space equations for the purpose of control system design.
5. Appraise mechatronics models and the simulations results obtained within the context of practical automotive design concepts, performance and constraints.

Advanced Control and Optimisation

Module Leader
  • Dr Daniel Auger
Aim
    • To provide knowledge of advanced control engineering theory and techniques and their application to automotive control.
    • To introduce students to the tools and methodology associated with multivariable control design techniques.
    • To provide students with practical experience in designing and simulating advanced modern controllers within the context of multi-domain automotive systems.
Syllabus

    The module will provide knowledge in advanced control design tools and techniques and advance analytical methods in designing multivariable controllers with applications in the automotive engineering area. The theory of the multivariable controls will be introduced and then their use will be illustrated and developed by example applications. The theory and applications will be interleaved with selected associated topics (listed below) as appropriate through the module.

    The material will be addressed theoretically and practically: all lecture-based teaching will be supported by practical exercises using MATLAB and Simulink.

    • Modelling multivariable systems
    o Describing multivariable systems using state-space representations
    o Using norms to describe the sizes and behaviours of signals and systems
    o Modelling uncertainty, noise and nonlinearities
    o The Nyquist stability criterion and robustness

    • Using optimisation in multivariable control
    o Representing feedback using state-space techniques
    o Pole-placement techniques
    o Optimal control using the Linear-Quadratic Regulator (LQR)
    o Introduction to Model-Predictive Control (MPC)

    • Estimator design
    o Multivariable estimator design using pole-placement techniques
    o Optimal estimator design for linear systems using the Kalman Filter
    o Introduction to optimal control using Linear-Quadratic-Gaussian (LQG) techniques
    o Introduction to nonlinear Kalman filtering techniques

    • Neoclassical control
    o SISO design using the Youla parameter technique
    o Direct shaping of S(s) and T(s) and the associated stability criteria

    • Robust control
    o H∞ control methods: ‘mixed sensitivity’ and ‘H∞ loop-shaping’
    o Estimating robust performance using the v-gap metric

    • Reference conditioning using prefilters and two degree-of-freedom compensators (covered in outline only)

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Create theoretical and computer models of multivariable automotive systems suitable for use in control design.
2. Apply different advanced control techniques to automotive control problems.
3. Design control algorithms for automotive systems using MATLAB and Simulink (commercial software packages).
4. Design state estimators for multivariable automotive control systems using established techniques.
5. Judge the suitability of a given control technique to a particular application in the context of automotive control.

Embedded Vehicle Control Systems

Module Leader
  • Dr Stefano Longo
Aim

    Within the context of modern automotive control system, the aim of this module is for students to critically evaluate the different technologies and methods required for the efficient vehicle implementation, validation and verification of the automotive mechatronic system.

Syllabus

    Course content includes:

    • A review of modern automotive control hardware requirements and architectures
    • The evaluation of current and future vehicle networking technologies including, CAN, LIN, MOST and Flex-ray
    • The evaluation of control rapid prototyping techniques to design and calibrate the control algorithm
    • The use of modern validation and verification methods, such as software-in-the-loop, and hardware-in-the-loop techniques
    • The role of Functional Safety and ISO26262 within the overall control system life-cycle
    • The evaluation of the interdependency between software engineering and control system design within the automotive industry including the use of software auto-coding techniques for production and the use of advanced test methods for the validation of safety-critical systems


Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Analyze the components of an automotive control systems and its implementation.
2. Design and implement a digital controller.
3. Evaluate the effect of sampling times, communication delays and quantization errors in a feedback loop.
4. Write efficient Matlab code for data coding/decoding and control algorithm implementation.
5. Interpret the purpose of the ISO26262 functional safety standard and the AUTOSAR standardized automotive software design.

Fees and funding

European Union students applying for university places in the 2018 to 2019 academic year will still have access to student funding support. Please see the UK Government’s announcement (21 April 2017).

Cranfield University welcomes applications from students from all over the world for our postgraduate programmes. The Home/EU student fees listed continue to apply to EU students.


MSc Full-time £10,000

Fee notes:

  • The fees outlined apply to all students whose initial date of registration falls on or between 1 August 2018 and 31 July 2019.
  • All students pay the tuition fee set by the University for the full duration of their registration period agreed at their initial registration.
  • A non-refundable deposit is payable on offer acceptances and will be deducted from your overall tuition fee.  Home/EU Students will pay a £500 deposit.  Overseas Students will pay a £1,000 deposit.
  • Additional fees for extensions to the agreed registration period may be charged.
  • 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 £20,000

Fee notes:

  • The fees outlined apply to all students whose initial date of registration falls on or between 1 August 2018 and 31 July 2019.
  • All students pay the tuition fee set by the University for the full duration of their registration period agreed at their initial registration.
  • A non-refundable deposit is payable on offer acceptances and will be deducted from your overall tuition fee.  Home/EU Students will pay a £500 deposit.  Overseas Students will pay a £1,000 deposit.
  • Additional fees for extensions to the agreed registration period may be charged.
  • 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

To help students in finding and securing appropriate funding we have created a funding finder where you can search for suitable sources of funding by filtering the results to suit your needs. Visit the funding finder.

Postgraduate Loan from Student Finance England
A Postgraduate Loan is now available for UK and EU applicants to help you pay for your Master’s course. You can apply for a loan at GOV.UK

Santander MSc Scholarship
The Santander Scholarship at Cranfield University is worth £5,000 towards tuition fees for full-time master's courses. Check the scholarship page to find out if you are from an eligible Santander Universities programme country.

Chevening Scholarships
Chevening Scholarships are awarded to outstanding emerging leaders to pursue a one-year master’s at Cranfield university. The scholarship includes tuition fees, travel and monthly stipend for Master’s study.

Cranfield Postgraduate Loan Scheme (CPLS)
The Cranfield Postgraduate Loan Scheme (CPLS) is a funding programme providing affordable tuition fee and maintenance loans for full-time UK/EU students studying technology-based MSc courses.

Commonwealth Scholarships for Developing Countries
Students from developing countries who would not otherwise be able to study in the UK can apply for a Commonwealth Scholarship which includes tuition fees, travel and monthly stipend for Master’s study.

Future Finance Student Loans
Future Finance offer student loans of up to £40,000 that can cover living costs and tuition fees for all student at Cranfield University.

External sources of funding for UK/EU students:




Entry requirements

A First or second class UK Honours degree or its international equivalent in engineering, including electronics, 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 EU or 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 Academic – 7.0 overall or equivalent
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.

Applicants who do not already meet the English language entry requirement for their chosen Cranfield course can apply to attend one of our Presessional English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses. We offer Winter/Spring and Summer programmes each year to offer holders.


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, Structural System 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