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QUT student engineers his way to Formula One

QUT engineering student Jaden Partridge is in a rush with no sign of slowing down.

Having won a coveted 12-month placement with INFINITI Technical Centre and Renault Sport Formula One he’s packing his belongings in Brisbane and heading for England.

The 21-year-old (pictured above) used his experience as head of suspension at QUT motorsports and his studies in mechanical engineering at the Faculty of Science and Engineering to beat more than 4000 student entries worldwide.

“It’s extremely exciting to be the first Australian selected into academy,” he said.

“The selection process was rigorous.

“I competed in a group challenge to design and present a factory layout plan as well as construct a small hybrid car that was tested in a drag race. And I had to do a written exam, panel interview and a mock press conference.

“I believe I was picked because of my driven attitude and willingness to learn.

“Motorsport is a unique industry where team performance is measured publicly at every Grand Prix.

“I believe they are looking for people that can go above and beyond expectations and stand out in an industry full of world-class engineers.”

Jaden’s passion for motorsports was sparked at a young age, when he spotted QUT’s Formula SAE car on display at the Brisbane Motor Show in 2006.

“It left a lasting impression,” he said. “QUT Motorsport was a big reason why I chose to come to study at QUT in Brisbane.

“My first car was a 1980 MkII Ford Escort. When I was 16 I rebuilt the engine and restored suspension and brake systems to factory specifications.”

At 13, he became heavily involved in competitive kart racing which gave him first-hand exposure to vehicle dynamics – a field he is interested in specialising in.

“I grew to enjoy working out the set up to apply to the kart to optimise performance just as much as driving,” he said.

“I was also extremely fortunate to have a father who engaged me in practical projects which I attribute my strong practical understanding of mechanical systems to.”

In his final year of high school, Jaden designed, manufactured and built a control system to enable disabled drivers to compete in Karting Australia competitions as part of his Design and Technology subject.

The design was displayed at the Sydney Powerhouse Museum in the designTECH exhibition and won the Alan Broady Memorial Award.

“It was extremely rewarding to design a device that promoted inclusion and reduced the stigma too often associated with disabilities,” he said.

The third-year mechanical engineering student has gained experience in the local motorsport industry with BF Racing, most recently working in data acquisition in Formula Ford with the car that won the National Formula Ford Series round at Queensland Raceway.

He is the first Australian to be selected to represent the Asia-Oceania region and joins other young engineers from Abu Dhabi, Chengdu, Illinois, Mexico City, Quebec and Italy.

It’s the third year the academy has selected engineering students to join its team, splitting their time between the factory floor at Cranfield in England and the F1 workshop in Enstone.

In statements supplied from Renault Sport Racing Chief Technical Officer Bob Bell, said the academy involved working in electronics, the design office, performance systems and aerodynamics.

“The new engineers will feel the weight of expectation very quickly when they join us,” Mr Bell said.

“We’re interested to understand their fresh perspectives on these processes and tasks.

“They will understand that they need to stay creative, flexible and fast-moving in their engineering tasks, but also that they must function well in their teams and the factory as a whole.

“The resources, experience and knowledge they will now have access to may take them by surprise initially, but they must quickly learn to make the most of it.”

Jaden Partridge’s confident he’ll make the most of the opportunity.

He’ll return to QUT to finish his final year of study in 2018.


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