Four American students, each with ties to SAE International's Formula SAE series, have made it to the world finals of the Infiniti Performance Engineering Academy. The finalists will compete against eight others from around the world to win a 12-month engineering role with Infiniti Red Bull Racing, complete with accommodation in the U.K., Infiniti company car, and full salary.
Out of 1500 international engineering students from more than 100 universities, the Americans selected for the final include Alejandro Diaz (SAE Student Associate, 2013), Eric LaRoche (SAE Student Associate, 2014), Jason Zide (SAE Student Affiliate, 2013), and Austin Volk (SAE Student Affiliate, 2014).
Diaz, 22, from Miami, FL, studies mechanical engineering at Florida International University. He is currently President of the Formula SAE team and has completed engineering work experience at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
LaRoche, 25, from Hamilton Square, NJ, studies mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park. He has a passion for motorsport and aviation and, in addition to participating as lead aerodynamicist with the University of Maryland’s Formula SAE team, has gained experience with Chrysler’s Viper GTS-R team in the American Le Mans Series as well as time working at Boeing.
Zide, 21, from Laguna Beach, CA, studies mechanical engineering at the University of Southern California. He is captain of the Formula SAE team and has completed work experience with Infiniti at its North American Technical Center.
Volk, 22, from Oregon, graduated from Oregon State University this year with a degree in mechanical engineering. He was a System Design Engineer for the Formula SAE team and has previously worked at Daimler Trucks as a Design Engineering intern in North America.
The next step will be for the students to attend a three-day shootout event in the U.K. before the British Grand Prix, taking place at Infiniti’s European Technical Center at Cranfield and at Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s factory in Milton Keynes. Over the three days they will face a series of intensive interviews, practical tests, and technical challenges, closely assessed by leading technical figures from Infiniti and Infiniti Red Bull Racing. The three winners will be unveiled by Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s Chief Technical Officer, Adrian Newey, on July 3.
“We have spent the last few weeks reviewing the applications. The quality of them has been very impressive,” said Andreas Sigl, Global Director, Infiniti Formula One. “It was very encouraging to see such interest from so many young engineers from around the world, and we look forward to finding the next big Formula One engineering talent in the final stage of the process.”