MEET THE TEAM – SYSTEMS ENGINEERS

World Endurance Championship

In the latest of our occasional series of behind-the-scenes features on who makes up the TOYOTA Racing team, we take a look at the life of an electrical systems engineer at TOYOTA Motorsport GmbH (TMG).

Christian, Daniele and Julian are part of the electrical system team that specializes in preparing prototype or racing cars. This means they have to follow defined specifications as well as test and calibrate all electrical/electronic systems such as sensors, power distribution units, telemetry and data acquisition components. They are working with data acquisition systems, ECUs and calibration tools.  Additionally they are developing solutions at events and on dyno tests to diagnose and rectify any electrical system defects as well as performing fault investigations and maintaining all off-car systems back at the factory.

So what’s a day at work like? “First of all we have to prepare the cars for the track here in the factory. It is not easy to describe a typical work day as every day is different, there are always new challenges, and I feel my career is always progressing,” Julian says. This is, by the way, the thinking that prompted him to throw his hat in the ring – the motorsport ring.

Christian and Julian joined TMG during its Formula 1 times. As well as the factory-based tasks, the other part for their job takes place on-site at the race track. They say every photo tells a story, and the images of Christian and Daniele in action give a good insight into life at the track. Once arrived at the track they start to prepare their work place for the race weekend by building up the garage, putting their systems in place and getting the car linked up so they can “talk to it with the laptop”.

The racks of computers and screen in the back of the garage are connected with a ‘vision desk’ which is located just beside the car. This provides the opportunity to be closer to the car, the driver and the mechanics to ensure a close communication, without being away from the all-important data.

For our electrical system engineers it is important to be very good communicators and coordinators. During a testing or race session they are cooperating with our engine engineers, mechanics and drivers, all colleagues with diverse and international backgrounds. They have to be sure that everybody is on the same level and running into the same direction. “We are right in the middle of everything.”

All three of them are continuing to make a real impact in the company through their contributions to car development. “The engineering team at TMG is pretty unique,” said Christian. “We are working hard and on a very high level. But we can reach our goals because we are enjoying our work. Good teamwork is an essential prerequisite for having fun at work and for remaining one step ahead of the competition. As such, this requires us to constantly push the limits of what is possible in mechanical, electrical and software design.” At TMG, the learning really never stops.

The most exciting aspect of their work is the direct impact it has on the race: “Every contribution is important and has the ability to shape not just the car but the success story over the next years.”

To apply their knowledge to fit the needs of the driver and engineers in a variety of sectors is one of the biggest challenges. These experiences are what have grown their skills, abilities, and belief that working in this specialized section is the way of their future.

“During the race everything can happen.” Getting a solution in time, getting things fixed, seeing the car running, fighting to win is what keeps our engineers pushing and handling sometimes-stressful situations. When five people are waiting behind your work place expecting a direct solution to a sudden up-coming problem, it takes a calm, logical head to find the right answer. “Having a competitive car with the potential to win the race motivates all of us to strive for the maximum.”

As such it’s important to have insight and a complete understanding of the system; we make complex systems that require detailed designs by people with specific skill sets. Self-management, high flexibility, problem-solving skills and reliability are ingredients for a perfect fit into the job as electrical system engineer at TMG. “There is no standard. We are working quite independently. The target is set; the way to reach your goal is your own choice. It is your responsibility which leads to the success of you and the whole team.”

The rest of the message is simple: “We love what we do and especially to be doing it for the biggest car manufacturer in the world in a unique environment.”

If you are interested to join Christian, Daniele and Julian in this role, there is a vacancy at TMG (correct as of May 2014). Find out about that and the latest vacancies here.