Engineering grad student revved up for motorsport

Special to Western News

After winning the 2017 Infiniti Engineering Academy, Engineering Science graduate student Matthew Crossan received a one-year placement to work at the Renault Formula One Team’s Technical Centre and Infiniti’s European Technical Centre, both in the U.K.

For a guy who “wasn’t big into cars” not that long ago, Matthew Crossan is about to leave the university with one of the most coveted automotive gigs in the industry.

In October, the Masters of Engineering Science student heads to the United Kingdom where he will spend a year split between working in the Renault Formula One Team’s Technical Center and the Infiniti’s European Technical Center. Crossan will play a key role in transferring technical knowledge and expertise between the two organizations.

The London, Ont., native was awarded a one-year placement after winning the 2017 edition of the Infiniti Engineering Academy. He was selected from 12,000 entries from 41 countries and chosen from nine other Canadian finalists in a two-day competition earlier this month in Montreal.

“It really hit me when I was talking to a friend of mine who was at the Formula One race in Montreal. He started talking about how ‘your car (Renault) just came around the corner.’ I started thinking about it and said, ‘Ya, that is my car now.’”

In second-year as a Mechanical Engineering undergraduate, Crossan got his first taste of racing, joining the Western Formula SAE team, which fabricates and competes a formula-style racing car in an annual competition with other colleges and universities around the world.

“I wasn’t big into cars, but I liked the whole idea of the design aspect behind it,” said the 23-year-old. “We’re free to design what we wish and were part of competitions, trying to beat other teams and universities.”

While concentrating on composite work at Western, Crossan has also worked on power train systems, aerodynamics and simulations models. “You need to be well-versed on a lot of different aspects in order to learn and understand how everything works with each other and how one affects the other,” he said.

When Crossan, along with six other winners, arrives in England this fall, he will have his accommodations covered for the year, access to an Infiniti company car, receive a salary and work alongside world-leading engineers on the cutting edge of motorsports.

“As a premium automotive brand and technical partner to Renault Sport Formula One Team, Infiniti is committed to enhancing the ownership experience through high-performance lessons learned in motorsport,” said Stephen Lester, Managing Director, Infiniti Canada. “Programs like the Infiniti Engineering Academy help us realize that vision. I look forward to witnessing Matthew’s career develop as a result of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Crossan feels no pressure at the coming assignment – only excitement.

“I’m not nervous at all; I can’t wait to sink my teeth into it. I want to throw myself 100 per cent into this and get to work,” Crossan said. “I built my life around this at Western and now I get to do it in the industry. I want to be contributing from Day One. There will be a lot of opportunities for me to make an impact with one of the top teams in the world.

“It’s a position I want to be in and it will be all about soaking up as much information as I can while I’m there.”