Racing to success in engineering and design

Automotive engineering graduate James Gourlie is a step closer to realising his dream after securing a work placement with INFINITI and Renault F1® Team.

The Bachelor of Engineering (Automotive Engineering) (Honours) graduate was named the 2018 Asia and Oceania winner of the acclaimed INFINITI Engineering Academy, which aims to identify and promote young engineering talent.

James Gourlie at the trackside final at the Maria Bay Circuit in Singapore.

Gourlie said the first few weeks of placement had been a dream come true.

“I feel overwhelmed with emotions being here right now, in this atmosphere. It’s just amazing,” he said.

“I’ve already had the chance to work in the wind tunnel for a road car project and travel to Barcelona for the Formula One testing.

“This is just the beginning of my career and I am looking forward to seeing where this work can take me.”

The 2019 INFINITI Engineering Academy is providing an opportunity for seven engineering students to join the same unique 12-month automotive and motorsport placement program, working at the INFINITI Technical Centre Europe and at Renault F1® Team.

Last year James Gourlie was chosen by an esteemed panel of judges from INFINITI, Renault F1® Team and Harvard University, following an intense trackside Asia and Oceania regional final at the Marina Bay Circuit in Singapore.

Since the INFINITI Engineering Academy was launched in 2014, the Academy has seen 50% of its winners secure full-time roles at INFINITI or in motorsport following their 12-month placement.

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.”

The INFINITI Engineering Academy awards seven winners a 12-month work placement with INFINITI and Renault.

Part of his university experiences included being involved in student motorsport as Chief Engineer and Chassis Lead for the RMIT Formula SAE-A (FSAE) 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.

Just one month before he began his placement in the United Kingdom in January, the team competed in the FSAE, an annual challenge for universities across the world, to design, build and race an open-wheeled racing car.

These vehicles are judged on dynamics, design justifications, costing strategies and business presentation & skills.

“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.

The latest designs of the team‘s combustion and electric cars will be displayed at the 2019 Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix over the weekend, in the all-new Innovation and Technology Hub, alongside other ground-breaking RMIT technology.

The INFINITI Engineering Academy is currently taking applications for its 2019 edition. Apply now at


Story: Aeden Ratcliffe / Jasmijn van Houten

This story was originally published on 2 October 2018.

15 March 2019


15 March 2019


  • Awards
  • Engineering
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Science and technology

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