Not everyone is a Michael Schumacher in the making but you don’t need to be a racing driver to be part of the motorsport industry because hundreds, even thousands, of people work behind the scenes to ensure that the industry thrives.
But teams prioritize individuals who have talent and experience. Individuals who graduate with a motorsport degree are certainly sought-after in the industry, as are engineers, designers, media and a myriad of staff required to run a team, from servicing the team headquarters, and the canteen right up to the role of Team Principal.
Making hundreds of careers available within medium size teams, and even thousands of related jobs with very big racing operations such as Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull Racing, McLaren and the like. Furthermore, motorsport is enjoying a global boom in interest which means even more jobs, not only in Formula 1 but in the numerous series that make part of the motorsport landscape, on national and international levels. All with 20 or more teams contesting.
Thus numerous job opportunities prevail for those aspiring to make a profession out of the sport, thus begging the question: Will a Motorsport Degree help one’s non-driving career?
What Is a Motorsport Degree?
A motorsport degree is a course related to the motorsport industry. There are several types of motorsport degrees available in various universities around the world. Some degrees are even offered online. But it’s not easy to get admitted into these programs, especially the engineering course. You’ll need to complete all first-year classes and have a GPA of at least 2.75.
While this might seem daunting to some students, there is no need to fret, according to Tasha Kolesnikova, a writing expert at Studybay. If you get admitted into such a program, you might be thinking, ‘Who can do my assignments for me?’ Well, you can choose the type of assignment that needs to be done and get help to write it online.
You can also use various resources to help you complete your projects and classes. For example, you can write a research paper with ChatGPT’s assistance in outlining and analyzing data.
Since there are a lot of motorsport degrees available worldwide, it’s important that you get to know more about the different types. This way, you can choose the one that suits you best.
Not all career paths in this industry are inside the pits or garages. Motorsport Management focuses on executive and media relations roles. The classes focus on business, finance, management, and public relations. Other topics include the economics of motorsports, sponsorship, and even race shop management.
A Motorsport Management degree can be further broken down into several courses. Some examples are Hospitality Management in Motorsport, Operational Logistics in Motorsport, and Facility Design and Crown Management in Motorsport.
Motorsport Marketing focuses on the marketing side of the industry. It involves everything from social media management to sponsor acquisition. Some of the classes in this course include Motorsports PR and Event Planning, Motorsports Content and Blog Writing, and Specialized Media and Media Buying.
Motorsport Engineering and Motorsport Technology
Both Motorsport Engineering and Motorsport Technology focus on designing, building, and testing cars. Motorsport Engineering is a more comprehensive course, covering theoretical and practical knowledge. Classes include Vehicle Engineering and Strategy Engineering, which involves making decisions on changes and upgrades in the car using computer simulations.
A Motorsport Engineering degree can take three to four years to complete. It takes four years if you take an integrated master’s course. The course generally includes specialized modules such as:
Computational Fluid Dynamics
Motorsport Technology focuses more on technical knowledge. Classes include Welding, Engine Machining, Ignition Systems, Custom Engine Building, and Drivelines. This degree emphasizes the application of theory in the real world. Students are given practical experience throughout their years in school.
Where Can You Get This Degree?
Many U.K. universities and a handful of U.S. schools offer motorsport degrees. Some U.K. universities include Oxford Brookes University, University of Hertfordshire, University of Central Lancashire, Wiltshire College (pictured above) and University Centre, University of Derby, and University of Wolverhampton. National Motorsport Academy, also in the U.K., offers online classes.
In the U.S., you can find these degrees at:
University of Northwestern Ohio
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
Winston-Salem State University
NASCAR Technical Institute
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Belmont Abbey College
University of Virginia
Colorado State University
Be sure to check the university’s requirements and the enrollment cost before sending your application.
Advantages of Having a Motorsport Degree
To be honest, it isn’t necessary to have a degree in motorsports for someone to be part of the industry. But it does provide students with several advantages. Motorsport degrees have classes that focus on the industry. Some examples are:
Gaining Sponsorships in Motorsports
Control Systems Analysis & Design
Motorsports PR and Event Planning
In Motorsport Engineering and Motorsport Technology, most of what is taught revolves around designing, building, and testing racing cars. But very little of the curriculum in the typical mechanical engineering course is useful in the motorsport industry. While you can try to apply for a job in this industry with a degree in mechanical engineering, the probability of landing one is not high.
A motorsport degree opens doors that are often closed to even people with a similar degree. Teams look for individuals that have technical knowledge coupled with racing experience — even if that experience is time spent on a local racetrack working with drivers and crews.
Most, if not all, universities offering motorsport degrees provide students with first-hand experience of working in the industry through internships. Getting a chance to work in an F3 team is not just about applying theory to practice. It also enables the students to hone their skills in a high-stress, racing environment.
Also, the instructors and guest speakers in these courses are usually industry experts. They are able to provide students with insight into how to become successful in the world of motorsports. By the time students complete their motorsport degree, they will have survived, possibly even thrived, through at least two racing seasons.
Moreover, a motorsport degree comes with a good salary. The annual salary of a Motorsports Technician ranges from $32,000 to $71,000. The average salary of a Motorsport Engineer in the U.S. is $71,402 per year.
Last but not least, a motorsport degree does not restrict you to this industry. You can use what you learn to work in other fields. For example, you can become an Operations Manager in a different industry with a Motorsport Management degree. The foundations are there, and the skills are transferable.
Non-Driving Career Paths in Motorsport
Graduates of Motorsport Engineering can work in a variety of roles in the industry. They can be on the ground with the racing crew or focus on developing and designing cars. Other possible career paths include:
F1 Team Engineer
Quality and Inspection Technician
Some career paths for Motorsport Marketing graduates include the following:
Racetrack and Venue Management
Roles that students of Motorsport Management can look forward to include:
Motorsports Operations Manager
Is a Motorsport Degree Worth It?
It depends. A motorsport degree does not limit you to working in the motorsport industry. In fact, the skills you learn are useful in other sectors, such as the automotive industry. You get to work with many different people and hone your problem-solving skills. Also, the pay is not anything to scoff at. More importantly, you get to work in an industry you love – motorsports.
Of course, there are also drawbacks. Working with a race team means experiencing a high-stress, rapid-output environment. For those in the crew, your work is always on public display. Failures are visible, and much of your time is spent on the road. So, is it worth it? Only you can tell.