Promising professional race mechanics were offered a unique opportunity when they were invited on a tour to Spain for the driver development series of the highly prestigious World Rally Championship (WRC).
The group of motorsport degree students from Myerscough College made a six-day trip to the WRC Academy for some hands-on experience working with expert race crews and meeting the challenges of life in the fast lane.
The programme is a joint partnership between the college and racing organisations including FIA (the governing body of world motorsport), M-Sport (the Cumbrian based organisation who have operated Ford’s World Rally programme since 1997) and major tyre manufacturer Pirelli.
Student Oliver Brown, 24, said: “The fact that we’ve been given such a huge opportunity so early in life is a huge deal.
“You literally cannot work at a higher level in world motorsport. It can actually be quite overwhelming at times. It’s such a big responsibility; I mean race mechanics literally have a driver’s career in their hands.
“If we muck up during a service and cost the driver time that can make the difference between winning an event or not.”
During the trainee scheme the students were placed with race crews for the WRC Academy events as the series traverses Europe, through Portugal, France Greece, the UK, Germany and Spain.
Aside from the pressure of working on a live rally stage, with the eyes of the world’s media upon them, Myerscough’s student race mechanics faced another challenge in Spain – the weather – as unexpected heavy rains and winds smashed the eastern coast of the country.
In rallying heavy rain means only one thing, mud, and lots of it, which made the student’s task even more difficult.