LOLA INVEST IN THE FUTURE
Lola has increased its engineering placements and apprenticeships for 2011 and beyond with new faces being added to the Design Office and factory floor in Huntingdon recently. Lola Group have increased its efforts to attract bright new talent to its state-of-the-art facility in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire to invest in the future of British engineering. In a volatile economic climate, the world famous engineering firm that specialises in end-to-end composites engineering for a variety of industries is consolidating and investigating new areas in its relationships with higher education organisations.
Two new engineering students have just embarked on a 12 month placement at Lola Group. Aaron Rose (21), currently studying automotive engineering at Hertfordshire University (Hatfield,) and Adam Lait (24), taking autosport engineering at Staffordshire University. Both Aaron and Adam took time out from their work with the Lola design team to talk about their experiences so far.
You have been at Lola for a couple of weeks now, how are you finding working life at Lola?
Aaron Rose:"I am really enjoying it, it is pretty much what I expected.The team here are very friendly, knowledgeable and always willing to offer advice to help you along."
Adam Lait:"I am really enjoying it so far.The breadth of different disciplines that I am already learning is great.It is encouraging to see that Lola are investing in the future of engineering with expanding their opportunities for guys like Aaron and me."
How did you get interested in engineering? Are you particularly motor sport orientated?
Aaron:"I think it is like most kids really, my dad has always been into cars and it is through him that I really got interested. He had his own custom-made Ford Pop, so I think my interest stems from that and tinkering with it constantly. I have an interest in all sorts of cars and in particular how they work."
Adam:"It is a similar story for me really. I was very passionate from a young age about cars and that eventually branched out into motorsport and Formula 1. As a child you sit down watching the best drivers in the best cars on the planet from the early 90s and it just stuck in my head and inspired me to want to somehow work with them.
"I started helping out at hill climbs when I was quite young and that morphed in to a desire to become a mechanic and work at motorsport events and then I took on an engineering degree in motorsport and, as I want to learn very quickly, I applied for this placement at Lola and thankfully I was successful."
What particular areas within engineering are you specifically interested in?
Aaron:"Ultimately my ambition is to get a job at Lola Cars once I have graduated. So in the next couple of year I want to focus towards CFD and aerodynamics which I have a real interest in. The detail and precision you need in the aero sphere of engineering is very motivating for me."
Adam:"Like Aaron I would love to return to the company and join in full-time with the main projects that are undertaken by Lola Cars and eventually lead projects. It’s been an ambition for a while through university to be at the forefront of projects to change the automotive and motorsport industry. In particular I am interested in material science, so I tend to gravitate towards the composites engineering side of things but essentially all engineering fascinates me."
What did you know about Lola before you came here last month?
Adam:"From the motorsport side Lola are of course world famous. I have been watching the Le Mans 24 hrs programme over the last ten years or so with all the different open and closed Lola sports cars. I first became familiar with Lola, when it designed and built the MG Lola EX257 LMP675 project and that gave me an idea of the level that Lola are at, which is a very high level. The idea of working here seemed very desirable and I feel very privileged to be here."
Aaron:I knew that Lola was a leader when it comes to design and construction. I knew they had excellent capabilities here in Huntingdon, like their windtunnel and so on. What wasn't as well known was the diversity of the industries it serves too, like aerospace, defence,etc. That is very impressive too.
Aaron and Adam's six of the best:
1. In terms Lola designs, what is your favourite Lola?
Aaron:"Personally my favourite is the Lola T92 Group C car because it was quite unconventional in its looks and it is quite elegant looking and I love the outrageous rear wing."
Adam:"As previously mentioned, it is the MG Lola EX257. I sort of thought it was a car that defined what Lola could achieve. The car itself, effectively a small 2 litre turbo charged car, was sort of punching above its weight against Audi R8s of its time. It demonstrated what could be done with a light LMP 675 car."
2. If there was one project that you could engineer on, what would it be?
Adam:"It would definitely be a big endurance racing programme. This is because there is such a range of parameters that need to be achieved to make a race winning car. It gives an opportunity for an engineer to sort of really demonstrate what can be done and to make a real difference."
Aaron:"I tend to agree with Adam. Endurance racing is similar to Formula 1 in many ways. They always come up with new regulations and engineers always come up with ways to sort of get around those regulations, inevitably making the cars quicker while the governing bodies are trying to reduce the speeds. That encapsulates what motorsport engineering is all about."
3. Who is your engineering idol? Who do you look up to in engineering?
Aaron:"Presently it would be Adrian Newey because he designs beautiful cars, they win races, which is ultimately what it is all about but I think you already mentioned John Barnard. He worked at Lola as a junior designer, designed the first composite carbon fibre Formula 1 car and I think that has revolutionised the way cars are build, made them safer and ultimately faster as well."
Adam:"There are quite a few, that’s the problem. You could definitely say John Barnard, there was a lot he did. People like again Colin Chapman, the audacity of the designs he came up with, his ground-effect car (the Lotus 79) was a stunning piece of engineering and a stunning car to look at."
4. Your favourite race track?
Aaron:"Laguna Seca. I haven't been yet but I have seen it on TV on the Moto GP a few weeks ago. I think the corkscrew is one of the best corners in the world. It has got a good blend of high speed and low speed corners so you really can tell a good car from a bad car around that circuit."
Adam:"It’s got to be Oulton Park in Cheshire. It’s a great track, many undulations, a really nice location, especially when you consider the Shell Curve at the top of the track, banked curve and if you get that wrong, it’s the trees."
5. Favourite road car?
Aaron:"The Ferrari F40, the last great super car they ever made. If I can be greedy I also love the Honda NSX, a great car, so great that Ayrton Senna had one!"
Adam:I really like the Austin Mini Cooper MKIII. Great little car, John Cooper engineered and designed it.
6. All time favourite racing driver?