Engineering student James Gourlie is a step closer to realising his dream after securing a 12-month work placement with the Infiniti Engineering Academy and Renault Sport Formula One Team.
The 25-year-old Bachelor of Engineering (Automotive Engineering) (Honours) student has spent his life working towards a career in the automotive and motorsport industry and said the opportunity was a dream come true.
“This is just the beginning of my career and I am looking forward to seeing where this work can take me,” he said.
Gourlie was named the 2018 Asia and Oceania winner of the acclaimed academy following an intense trackside final at the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore last week.
He is one of only seven winners chosen by an esteemed panel of judges from Infiniti, Renault and Harvard University.
Gourlie said the broad range of subjects he had studied at RMIT allowed him to approach engineering problems with a unique set of skills.
“The Automotive Engineering degree at RMIT focuses a lot on industry standards and expectations, so it is easy to transition from study in to work,” he said.
“We are constantly issued with challenges that allow us to better ourselves as engineers and this program is something that provides opportunities we can't find anywhere else.”
Part of his University experiences included being involved in student motorsport as Chief Engineer and Chassis Lead for the RMIT Formula SAE-A Combustion team.
“Every day I get to work with some of the top students at RMIT to produce a race car, which is going to be competitive around the world,” Gourlie said.
Their next major student event is the Formula SAE-A, an international competition focused on the design, construction and racing of an internal combustion or electric race car.
The event is scheduled from 6 to 10 December at Winton Motor Raceway in Melbourne, just one month before he is set to begins his placement in the United Kingdom.
Gourlie said the team’s car is podium-ready, after undergoing a complete redesign.
“We have put a priority on simplicity and reliability and as such the car has had an extensive amount of work completed on fundamental automotive engineering principles,” Gourlie said.
In June, the RMIT-designed perpetual Larry Perkins Trophy, developed through an education partnership with the Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC), was honoured with a Gold Award at the International A’ Design Award and Competition.
The creation was led by Senior Lecturer Dr Scott Mayson from the School of Design, with help from a multidisciplinary team of students and staff.
At the time, Mayson said: “The final product is more than just a trophy – it's a physical demonstration of what we can accomplish when we collaborate across disciplines.”
Now a small-scale replica has been presented to racing driver Jamie Whincup, who won the Coates Hire Supercars Melbourne 400 at Albert Park in March.
As part of the ongoing corporate partnership, RMIT students were also recently given the opportunity to pitch advertising campaigns to the AGPC team as part of their assessment.
Story: Aeden Ratcliffe