Our guest today is an EA Companion. He successfully turned his boyhood dream into reality and became involved in Formula One at the age of 16.
His Formula One career started with Brabham under Bernie Ecclestone’s leadership. Then in the early ninties he joined the world–renowned McLaren F1 team. He started travelling the world on the Grand Prix circuit as a mechanic, where he experienced the taste of winning for the first time.
In 2007, our guest was asked to join the young but extremely enthusiastic Red Bull Formula One team, andwas given a very clear and simple mandate on joining: “Make us into a team of winners”! And he did!
2015 saw our guest decide to retire from Formula One and move to Australia. He is now a Professor of Practice at the University of New South Wales as well as running his own High-Performance coaching business.
At UNSW, our guest runs theSunswift Solar Racing team that he helped cross the line in 1st place at the 2019 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge.
Richard joins us celebrate 70 years of Formula One engineering magic.
This is a “close” copy of the words that were spoken during the Podcast, Season 4 Episode 26
It is not 100% accurate.
The guest was Richard Hopkins
Richard: [00:00:00] I think something innately within my DNA and maybe that’s what engineers have and that feel of curiosity around how things work and how things will evolve. So, yeah, I think it was, it was curiosity predominantly.
[00:00:13] I didn’t necessarily understand what I was doing when I was putting weights on the front of the car and the back of the car at such a young age. I was understanding vehicle dynamics. I had no perception that that’s what I was doing.
[00:00:26] So. Maybe we, the world has changed, you know, I don’t want to start sounding like my father, but it has changed maybe not for the better, but yeah, maybe that curiosity in the spirit of it, isn’t quite the same as it used to be.
[00:00:42]Mel or Dom: [00:00:42] just tell us a little bit about your education side of things?
[00:00:46] Richard: [00:00:46] Um, yes, yes, yes. It won’t take us very long to discuss my education in, as far as I did leave school at the age of 16. Uh, for very good reason, which I’ll go into.
[00:00:57]I was looking at going to technical college and then probably going on to university and, and who knows, we may never know, but, an opportunity came my way at the age of 15. all the children were, were required to do a week’s work experience. I had no idea what I was going to do. I was madly passionate about formula one motor racing, but certainly at that age had no notion that that was going to be where I was going to end up, because I just saw it as it was like saying I’m going to be a national, it was such a distant dream.
[00:01:32] You know, it was something that I watched on television and it was like movie stars. It was, I held it in maybe such high regard I’m I made it so distant from reality. but it was my father who suggested, why don’t you contact a Formula One team and see if they take you on for this week’s work experience, which I did.
[00:01:49] And, and it was the Brabham Formula One team who said, yeah, come along and, and do this week’s work experience, which was just incredible, you know, it was, At the age of 15, I thought it was quite special, but I absolutely realized it was special in as far as that every kid in the school who did the week’s work experience was paid a random visit by teacher just to make sure that they were doing okay.
[00:02:16] But I was actually paid a visit by seven different teachers throughout a week. I was only there for five days, but there
[00:02:24] Mel or Dom: [00:02:24] Yeah,
[00:02:24] Richard: [00:02:24] something going on in the staff room. Well, I’ll go next. We can’t go too often. Cause it’s going to look a bit suspicious, but they were all keen obviously to come and have a look around.
[00:02:33] And, you know, I, I think I realized even at that point, maybe twinned with my suboptimal school education that I needed to seize an opportunity. And I thought, I think I saw that. At that point of being an opportunity to maybe make something of, uh, of, uh, not such a great situation. So I think I did great that week and the cutting, the very long story short, I was offered a job, when I went to visit them about six months later.
[00:03:02]so that w that was purely college and university was, was kind of in the plan and then to be randomly offered a job at the age of then 16. and I did my last school exam on the Thursday, and I started working for the Brabham Formula One team on the Monday at the age of 16.
[00:03:20] Mel or Dom: [00:03:20] So can I just check? So to get your work experience on that team, was that just an letter you sent.
[00:03:27] Richard: [00:03:27] it was, it was, it was a phone call. It was a phone call. I just, I literally just randomly phoned them up and said, hi, my name is Richard Hopkins. I’m a massive Formula One fan. I’ve been given a task to find somewhere to do a week’s work experience, and I was told that if I don’t find somewhere, the teachers will find somewhere for me.
[00:03:47]Mel or Dom: [00:03:47] what sort of things were you doing as a 15 year
[00:03:49] Richard: [00:03:49] Hey look, you know, my, my very first day it was November, 1986. It was the end of the Formula One season. And the cars had just arrived back from Adelaide back back to Heathrow. So all the formula one teams, you know, still nowadays the vast majority of formula one teams are based in the UK. So all the cars have flown back.
[00:04:11] So there I am, Monday morning and I’m told to go in the truck to the airport and pick the cars up. So now I’m sitting in the Brabham truck. Driving driving to Heathrow airport, just looking out the window to see if any of my friends could possibly see, you know, I felt, I felt bigger than Ben Hur that day.
[00:04:33] So, yeah. And then a second day, I was put in the gearbox department and told to strip a Wiseman seven speed longitudinal gearbox. This is where my stripping assemblies was very good, but putting them back together again, wasn’t so hot. and I was told to put it back together again in the afternoon with a little, with a little bit of help.
[00:04:53] So, uh, I look and I, I think my enthusiasm and my passion came through. So when it actually came to it and I visited again, six months later, you know, they, they on the spot just said, right, we’ve got a job for you.
[00:05:07]it was an amazing time in as far as I’d obviously appreciated that I’d sort of forgotten that tertiary education, but here I was working for a formula one team. So, you know, I, I think I’ve got a good excuse of, of passing that one by and, and looking back now, I wouldn’t change it for the world because I think those, those five years that I spent at Brabham, certainly set me up for the rest of my career, working in pretty much every department, across those five years, carbon, carbon fiber department, gearbox department, you know, machine shop, welding.
[00:05:41] So, so by the time I’d left, I was pretty much a well-rounded individual in as far as having the practical skills, not necessarily the theoretical skills. I certainly didn’t get that because I, I didn’t go to university. And I still say today, I’m a practical engineer. I can come up with practical solutions.
[00:06:02] They might not be technically the best solutions, but practical, on the fly. And that’s what Formula One taught me throughout my 28 years in Formula One is crisis management. I probably excel at and if you kind of apply that with practical engineering… You know, if I see something that’s, that’s broken, I’ll come up with a pretty good fix for it.
[00:06:25] Whether it be a wooden stick, whether it be a racing car, whatever that might be. So I think I consider myself a very good practical engineer.
[00:06:36]Mel or Dom: [00:06:36] Fast forward from the 16 year old boy, who’s just started out. Tell us where you are now.
[00:06:42] Richard: [00:06:42] okay. Now, uh, now I find myself of living in Australia. I am English. I married in Australia in 20 years ago. and five years ago we had a bit of a moment where we both woke up on a Saturday morning where I think it was the day that the, uh, work-life balance scales tipped. And we both knew we needed to do something. I’d been working in Formula One for 28 years.
[00:07:04] Been very successful. but maybe it was time for change. my wife had been living in the UK for 15, 16 years, missing her family and Australia was an option. So, we pretty much decided by the time I’d gone downstairs, come back upstairs with a cup of coffee that we were moving to Australia.
[00:07:23] So, I resigned on the Monday and, put the house on the market and, and here we are, but obviously left formula one behind and I think that that was healthy. I still miss it today with a passion. I miss the people and the environment and the technology may be, and, and the craziness and the stress and everything else that I used to endure.
[00:07:43] But it created another opportunity for me to, you know, I’ve been in formula one since I was 16 years old, uh, to go and do something else and maybe go and do something entirely different. similarly to, you know, leaving school and were with not many qualifications andseeing formula one as a bit of an avenue to make something of myself.
[00:08:07] Maybe I believed that maybe I had whatever that, whatever that means. Um, and maybe now it is time to, to prove to myself and maybe others that I wasn’t a one trick pony. So it was, entirely. I had no idea what I was going to do next. Really didn’t.
[00:08:26] Mel or Dom: [00:08:26] So you came over, you didn’t even have a, you didn’t even have a job when you
[00:08:30] Richard: [00:08:30] no, no, no,
[00:08:31] Mel or Dom: [00:08:31] you landed on the shores and.
[00:08:32] Richard: [00:08:32] Landed on the shores and thought, well, you know, let’s take, let’s take some time out, um, after 28 years of chaos. I thought I, I earned myself a little bit of time off to consider the next option. so I spent six months taking my daughter to school and picking her up, taking the dog for walks and going to Woolworths, doing some shopping and things like that. But all the time, trying to think what the next move was because everything was on the table.
[00:09:00]I called myself a management consultant because I thought that gave myself a bit of license to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted it to. And if I didn’t like it, I had an excuse.
[00:09:09]and that’s, that’s kind of largely what I did. but that led me to start doing some keynote speaking, which I never thought in a million years that I would do. I started telling my story to a number of people. I started building a network, which I never really had having worked in the bubble of formula one.
[00:09:27]I didn’t really know surgeons or dentists or anybody else outside apart from maybe close friends. So it was time to build a network to try and discover what the next move was. And and along that journey, I met up with Mark Hoffman, who was the Dean of engineering at the time at UNSW. He asked me if I was busy.
[00:09:47]and I said, well, that depends. I said, I can be busy, but maybe I can. Yeah, I can maybe, you know, w what are we talking about? So he asked me if I, if I’d be interested in joining the engineering faculty and running some of the student projects. And I was in two minds, whether that was going to be the thing to do.
[00:10:08] I didn’t necessarily have that on my career path. But as I said to you before everything was on the table, so why not? Um, let’s give everything a go and see, see what might land. It was working on a couple of projects. he said, I can make you a professor of practice.
[00:10:24] And I was like, okay. I like the idea of that. You know, the kid, the kid who left school at 16 with a few qualifications, didn’t go to university and now becomes a professor. I thought, well, okay. That sounds great. so here I am as a professor of practice at University in New South Wales, Working on a number of automotive based projects, one being, uh, uh, former SA team and the other one, the big one being, Sun Swift, which is the university sort of flagship project, which is the solar racing car team.
[00:10:57]and we take part in the biennial world solar challenge, which is, is, uh, an absolute different form of excitement. one path that I didn’t necessarily think I would be on, but the excitement of it… ,Not just the challenge itself, but the excitement of working with students is just incredible.
[00:11:18] Absolutely incredible. And I, you know, I said before that I kinda, I, I missed formula one. I missed the people in formula one. Being with like-minded individuals, but working with students with just such passion. Such a level of passion towards what they do. Sun Swift is an amazing project anyway, and it is quite aspirational to join that team.
[00:11:40]When you think of the number of students, engineering students within UNSW and the number of students that are within Sun Swift, it has become quite aspirational to, to, to join the team, to be able to blend the theory and the practice is quite amazing. and I can’t lie. Am I trying to run it like I used to run the Red Bull Formula One team. Yes, I am. I think the students appreciate that, but, the thing with formula one, and as I learned running operations at red bull was, was very much that we try and do everything brilliantly. We don’t try and be successful necessarily.
[00:12:19] We don’t try and win that. Isn’t how we do it, but we just try and do everything as well as we can with what we’ve got available and have fun along the way. And if you do that, success will come your way. And I certainly found that at red bull, I don’t think any of us really intended to experience that ultimate success.
[00:12:39] But we just try to do everything as brilliantly as we can. And when I say everything, I mean, throughout the whole organization, analyze everything we do and just do our best at what we do. Everybody does our best at what they do. And that‘s certainly what I’m trying to encourage the engineering students to do now. To have the freedom and autonomy to create and be curious.
We’re living in a world that is just innovating at such a rate that’s never been seen before. And I think similarly to, to the engineers in formula one that were creating and didn’t fully understand.
[00:13:19] I think we’re almost in that point where we’re almost tripping over ourselves. The rate of innovation is so, so big and a lot of the conversations I’m having with industry is around technology that exists, but engineers who aren’t familiar with that technology and maybe the pathway to it isn’t as clear and as clean as it could be.
[00:13:41] So, you know, I certainly see universities or any educational institution having a responsibility towards that and ensuring that we’re creating engineers that are at least on the curve or ahead of the curve in knowledge. That when they do graduate, they do go out into the workplace and they fully appreciate and fully understand the technology that they’re going to be working with.
[00:14:07] What we don’t want to do is create engineers that then have another further 12 months of onboarding in the workplace to familiarize themselves with that technology because what’s here today will be completely different tomorrow. It is really just moving at such a fast rate. So I think that’s one of the biggest challenges in, in creating a workforce that is fully knowledgeable, that can fully maximize the potential of the technology.
[00:14:35] So, you know, we develop the technology, but maybe we only utilize 5% because that’s our knowledge base. So really to educate and train our workforce to, to fully understand that technology. I think we’re not necessarily fulfilling our potential with the technology that’s around us.
[00:14:55] Mel or Dom: [00:14:55] Do you think the key to that is doing what you’ve done with UNSW as well, where you need those people who are, who have had that, that hands on experience, that practical experience for so long in industry and bringing them back into the universities to ensure that the next generation of students that are coming through have a much better understanding and being taught by people who actually physically, you know, worked with the systems or work with the technology so that you can, you can get the best out of them.
[00:15:24] Richard: [00:15:24] Yeah, I think you’re right. Dom, look, I take my hat off to UNSW for bringing, I’m not the only professor of practice within UNSW. There’s about a dozen of us and two or three of us in engineering. And I think it’s great to have the foresight, to bring somebody like myself in, into the university and give that other dimension of education.
[00:15:46] And certainly, you know, throughout Sun Swift and, uh, a lot of projects within the university. And it’s not just UNSW, all universities and is how they engage with industry.It’s not just internships, but creating true collaboration. Uh, and sharing that knowledge and feeding the knowledge back into the universities and UNSW has been massively progressive, I think, in, in its approach and let’s face it.
[00:16:10] Education can be a little bit slow at catching up.
[00:16:14] Mel or Dom: [00:16:14] it’s hard to keep up.
[00:16:15] Richard: [00:16:15] it’s, it is hard. Yes. And that’s kind of what I, what I was, I’m not for a moment suggesting that. Universities or educations at fault, but it is hard to keep up and it is hard to create a mechanism by which universities are fully aware of what’s happening in the outside world and what they have to do to keep up.
[00:16:37] So, yeah. Look, I think what UNSW’s doing certainly with engineering, with its challenge program, vertically integrated projects, and now the Sun Swift team that has been around since 1996 as pretty much an extracurricular activity, is now embedded within the curriculum. So Sun Swift is a course. So students who joined the team.
[00:17:02] Now get units of credit. So they absolutely have the ability to turn that theory into practice , and encouraged to do so. and certainly with what I’m seeking to do it at UNSW is grow that industry base within the team. Build out research. Maybe even dare I say, create the sun Swift, uh, technology Institute and really collaboratively work together with industry.
[00:17:31] So we can, we can actually understand what the needs are of industry and work towards facilitating that, not just creating students into a model that we think. Of what’s required, but actually understanding what’s required and delivering upon that. So, yeah, I think maybe education’s changed a course and I think we’re moving towards it.
[00:17:54] You know, I think everybody’s ears are open and listening to what’s required. So, uh, I think we’re making good inroads.
[00:18:01]Mel or Dom: [00:18:01] Yeah, and I think it’s wonderful that the universities are doing that. I think the. The thing that we need to do is industry needed to start giving back as well. Because more often than not, you have industry who were saying, well, the students are going through the courses and they come out and they don’t understand what we need.
[00:18:21] Yeah, we need to train them up and you feel like shaking them and saying, well, maybe if you went back to the universities and gave some of your time and actually explained what it is, that’s going on out there in industry, then maybe you’re going to get students that are coming out that are basically can hit the ground running.
[00:18:36] Cause they’re, they’re learning the right things. So
[00:18:38] Richard: [00:18:38] a hundred percent.
[00:18:39]Mel or Dom: [00:18:39] yeah, it does help though, because universities are very much a bubble and an institution of themselves. So it is. It’s kind of like a fortress, if you want to think of castles and it can be difficult for industries to breach that wall.
[00:18:55] Whereas I think something like the program UNSW have, it kind of has built a tunnel
[00:19:02] Richard: [00:19:02] Yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah. The, the Drawbridge is
[00:19:05] Mel or Dom: [00:19:05] example.
[00:19:05] Richard: [00:19:05] Drawbridge is definitely down, certainly at USW, certainly with Sun Swift. I am emailing and calling organizations around Australia to be involved. Absolutely.
[00:19:17]Mel or Dom: [00:19:17] Well, yeah, and it gives industry and academia a common project to work towards, and it does build that Drawbridge or that bridge together. and it brings that collaboration together. Whereas traditionally it doesn’t work like that. It’s, you know, it is hard for industries to get into universities and vice versa as well.
[00:19:42]Richard: [00:19:42] Universities can be a bit of a minefield anyway. I think there’s just so many initiatives out there, whether they be independent, whether they be government backed. And I think it’s scary for industry to know how to engage. You know, what, by what mechanism I actually, you know, get involved.
[00:20:01]And maybe there’s too many options as well. And there’s. Possibly because of too many options, there’s some that are better than others and maybe just investigating, just scares people off. I think it, it just, you know, certainly with what I’m doing, it’s, it’s, it’s a very direct approach. It is. Let’s just, let’s just do this.
[00:20:19] Let’s just. Get on with it. might be a bit of an MOU signed and that’s about it. at the moment we’re just talking very fairly light touch engagement. We’re not talking big numbers of research and so on, but you know, once we can get them in the door, then we can start expanding on that.
[00:20:36] Mel or Dom: [00:20:36] What are your thoughts on the future of engineering? What are you seeing with your students when they’re coming through?
[00:20:41] Richard: [00:20:41] look, I, I think, you know, there’s lots of challenges ahead for sure. And maybe just going back to what we were saying again at the fast rate of pace and just keeping up with it. Look, the world is needed engineers for thousands of years and will continue to do so. it’s just the style of engineering we talk about fixing cars when we were kids, and not being able to fix cars today and, and who knows how that that will play out in the future and whether the practical skills will absolutely be needed.I think it’s very much just keeping up with the rate of pace of change.
[00:21:20]Mel or Dom: [00:21:20] there is a challenge there for engineers of the future to keep up. I think we’ve spoken about this before, where you can’t just come out of university and just assume that you’re going to be an engineer for the rest of your life, and you don’t need to do any further training because.
[00:21:35] Things are rapidly changing and you need to keep on that front foot. You got to keep always moving forward and upskilling and
[00:21:43] Richard: [00:21:43] Yeah the upskilling is probably key with that. I think, you know, an engineer could have graduated from university 30 years ago and largely throughout his or her career remained planted in the, in the, in the same field, but now what you learned and what you graduated to do 10 years later, you may have to completely diversify into something else.
[00:22:06] You’ve only got to look at 3D manufacturing, advanced manufacturing, and how that’s in itself changing and, and the material technology you’re involved in five years ago, no longer exist. It’s moved on completely to something else. So it is probably that retraining. And understanding and committing to that and being aware of it.
[00:22:27]Mel or Dom: [00:22:27] Yeah, that’s a very good point to tie in. So, but what would you say to people starting out in engineering?
[00:22:33]Richard: [00:22:33] Be curious again, you know, keep that curiosity going.don’t settle for the status quo. You know, I certainly came from an industry, that understood change and the importance of change and change equals innovation. Always be curious, always be thinking about what’s next.
[00:22:53] Nothing’s perfect in this world. And engineers have a responsibility and the ability to change things for the better, think like that. Think of what I can do to change and make things better for all of us, whatever that might be. And it’s not just racing cars, but it’s everything around us today in the world.
[00:23:13]Mel or Dom: [00:23:13] I like how we’ve come full circle here from the very beginning where you were saying you were a curious kid through to your advice is like baked, curious, and yeah.
[00:23:21]One question we ask all of our guests and it’s, this is going to be an interesting one, particularly considering you’re coming from formula one. Do you have a piece of engineering that impresses you? Yeah,
[00:23:30]Richard: [00:23:30] Oh, it’d be so easy wouldn’t it Dom? To name a formula one car, you know, whatever from 19, I’m not going to though, because I think that’s a bit cliche. I couldn’t possibly do that.
[00:23:40]look, I briefly, as a child growing up, I wanted to become an airline pilot. That was my thing. It wasn’t getting into formula one, it wasn’t being a formula one racing driver.
[00:23:50] It was being an airline pilot. and you know, I was a kid in the seventies when Concorde started flying and that absolutely was just a Marvel, way ahead of its time. And I think we we’ve more consider it being ahead of its time and the fact that it no longer flies, you know, and it’s still quicker than anything else we have to date.
[00:24:10] So I think is, is an advanced technology and actually the story behind it and how the collaboration to get it literally off the ground was put in place and a lot of politics behind it and everything else. I think it was just an amazing story, a romantic story of engineering and the romance whilst it was flying was just incredible.
[00:24:33] Unfortunately, I never got to fly. I got very, very close. Once, many years ago when I was working for McLaren and sending parts all around the world. And I think there was a shock absorber company based in the States that we need to go and pick some shock absorbers up for a, for a race. It was probably the Canadian race.
[00:24:50] And I sent somebody from McLaren down to Heathrow to jump on a plane and fly over to, I think it was Detroit to pick these, these dampers up and then go on to Montreal and drop these dampers off and The guy phoned me from Heathrow saying the flight’s been canceled and it was one of these really time-critical things.
[00:25:09] And I said, no, just go back to British airways and insist, tell them that you work for McLaren and you’ve got to get to Detroit. So he phoned me back about 10 minutes later and said, W we’ve, we’ve got a solution, um, with the guy at British airways, uh, and he said, there’s only one other way of doing this and that’s flying you to New York and then getting the connecting flight from New York to Detroit.
[00:25:31] I said, that’s great. And he said, the really good news is I’m going on, Concorde.
[00:25:35] Mel or Dom: [00:25:35] Well,
[00:25:36] Richard: [00:25:36] I mean, it was, it was, I think it was like a Friday afternoon and, and, people were leaving the sinking ship and I was really struggling to find somebody to go. So I was almost like I’m going to have to go myself. And right last minute I found somebody who put their hand up to go and now I wish they hadn’t.
[00:25:53] And I wish it was me, but, but yeah. So
[00:25:59] Mel or Dom: [00:25:59] Oh, wow. Yeah, I’m a massive fan. It just, uh, it makes me sad that they were so far ahead in technology and yet they kind of went, yeah. Okay. That was great. And then parked it and then went down another path and it was, it’s such a beautiful piece of machinery. Look, it’s just particularly when you. When you I’m read about it and you all the technology associated with it and all the, all the struggles that had to go through because of the speeds that it
[00:26:29] Richard: [00:26:29] Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Unfortunately all the legislation and everything else, it kind of got in its way, not extraordinarily cost effective. It was all about the glamour, which was fantastic. But you know, where we used to live in England, which was kind of on the, on the flight path o ut of Heathrow, you know, because Concorde was always given priority departure and priority landing.
[00:26:53] You could literally check your clock by it. And I, I remember my mother, when I was at home, you know, Concorde would fly over and we had one of these metal backings to the letter box in the front door and it would start vibrating the moment Concord went over and my mother always glanced up at the clock.
[00:27:11] Oh yeah. It’s five past nine. Because Concorde’s flying over. So she literally, you know, a bit of a cliche, but she literally checked the clock at the time that letterbox started rattling.
[00:27:22]Mel or Dom: [00:27:22] Oh my goodness
[00:27:24] Richard: [00:27:24] but wouldn’t it be great if we saw a successor? I know there’s a few projects running around the world, looking at supersonic travel. but it would be great if we could, if we could get back there. It does seem like airline travel these days is, has come more comfortable. It is. And maybe a little bit more environmentally friendly certainly than Concorde ever was, but it’d be great if we could start zooming, right? It’d be just great. If we can jump on an airplane and leave Australia,
[00:27:50] Yes. Yeah, that’d be.
[00:27:53] I’m asking for, I’m asking for the moon on a stick at the moment here, but I just, just jumping on a Cessna and flying anywhere would be fine. Just don’t want to be greedy.
[00:28:08] Mel or Dom: [00:28:08] And just to wrap up, is there an engineer that you admire?
[00:28:12]Richard: [00:28:12] Many many, many, because I think I fully appreciated that I wasn’t one. but I was surrounded by many brilliant ones and I could probably rattle off half a dozen names, probably including people like Adrian Newey who is an absolute guru, and hopefully in years to come, will be compared to, Brunel and Stevenson and, and some of the absolute greats.
[00:28:43]but I’m not going to say him. but I am going to say somebody in motor racing, but maybe not the obvious one. I’m going to say Bruce McLaren. Bruce McLaren was an engineer, but he was also a racing driver. Bruce McLaren later went on to create his own formula one team, but Bruce McLaren and I, I wish maybe racing drivers were a little bit more like Bruce was in as far as Bruce not only drove the car, understood the problems with the car, but would get out of the car and fix the problems himself. Yeah. So, literally would go to the drawing board and design components that would solution that understand a problem that he experienced whilst he was driving. And I think to. To have that roundedness of understanding.
[00:29:35] He was a practical engineer, but he was a theoretical engineer as well. So I think that in itself just puts him on a, on a certainly, maybe compared to certainly racing drivers of today. Maybe dare I say some of the formula one engineers, but if any of them are listening to me, they’ll say, well, actually I’m a very good driver as well.
[00:29:54] You just didn’t realize it. but, uh, to see what Bruce did and create his own team and design his own cars and race, his own cars as well was truly exceptional. Maybe a bit of a left field selection there, but, but, you know, there was maybe a few more obvious ones that I could have gone down, down the road of.
[00:30:13] But I think Bruce, I, I hold in high regard. Unfortunately, due to motor sport was like many other drivers was taken way too young. So we didn’t really fully see the potential of Bruce as the driver, but also Brucea as the engineer. I think, you know, he wore two caps and he wore them very well.
[00:30:34] Mel or Dom: [00:30:35] from what I believe as well, just even during that era, like he was, he was such a gentleman, everyone loved him. He was, he was so well-respected and as you said, he was, he’d get in the car, get out of the car, fixed the car to whatever it was almost as I was a bit of a golden era back then in regards to the.
[00:30:53] Yeah. The people who were, were building the cars, were racing the cars, were repairing the cars, were doing
[00:30:58] Richard: [00:30:58] yeah, Jack, I mean, Jack kind of did the same, didn’t he, you know, um, maybe we will see a racing driver create his own team again. maybe it’s something Louis Hamilton would do, or I don’t, I don’t know, but, but not in, in no way that in the same way not being, so hands-on. and I, I don’t mean hands-on in running the business, but I mean hands-on in, in fixing the car and, and designing the car.
[00:31:25]I think that was a golden era, uh, very formative, uh, what, what went on to continue it. but yeah, unfortunately I don’t think we’ll see the likes of Bruce McLaren again, that’s for sure.
[00:31:36]Mel or Dom: [00:31:36] Well, thank you so much for joining us tonight. It’s been an absolute pleasure. It’s been wonderful. Thank you so much.
I’d like to thank everyone for listening to another great episode of Engineering Heroes as we present the new dawn of engineering challenges for Engineers Australia. your hosts have been Melanie and Dominic De Gioia. You can view this episode show notes or learn more from our podcast by visiting our website, www.EngineeringHeroes.com.au
If you enjoyed today’s show, all we ask you to do is go and tell someone, tell lots of people either in personal or write review, it’s that easy to show your support for engineers everywhere. We look forward to you joining us next week when we bring you another interview with one of our engineering champions.