National Motorsport Academy

International Women in Engineering Day | Part 2

Student Spotlight: Anmoul Syed

Here is part two of our International Women in Engineering Day celebration, this time, featuring Anmoul Syed, a BSc (Hons) Motorsport Engineering student.

Anmoul grew up fixing cars with her father and uncle in their garage. She worked on multiple projects with them, including a Maserati 3200 GT, a Ford GT40 Le Mans track build, and is now working on her own F1 single-seater build, inspired by Ayrton Senna’s MP4/8 McLaren. 

Hello! Tell us a bit about yourself!

My name is Anmoul Syed, I am 22 years old and have joined the BSc (Hons) Motorsport Engineering Degree. Previously, I completed two CPD modules in both Race Car Design and Preparation, and Research and Design Simulation Analysis. I am on Module 05: Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics.

My journey into motorsport began at a young age, fueled by a deep passion for speed and competitive racing. Growing up, my dad and uncle were heavily involved in building race cars, including some impressive “sleeper builds.” My dad always included me in his projects, even in our small garage space. We built a 3200GT Maserati together, and I helped him assemble a kit car model with my older brother, which gave me invaluable hands-on experience and an understanding of car mechanics at such a young age. My uncle also created a reproduction of the GT40 Le Mans as a track build, racing and testing the setup of the car at Silverstone and Castle Combe race circuit.

Weekends were dedicated to watching F1 races with my dad, a tradition we still maintain whenever we can. As a child, he introduced me to the legendary driving style of Ayrton Senna, and I developed a deep admiration for the MP4/8 McLaren. Inspired by these experiences, I have always aspired to become a motorsport engineer and build a single-seater car like Senna’s. Taking the initiative, I have been independently working on recreating the MP4/8 from scratch, turning my childhood dream into reality.

Maserati 3200 GT
Ford Gt40 Le Mans

How did you find NMA, and what made you enrol?

My background includes a year of studying motorsport technology and automotive engineering. During this time, I gained a solid understanding of the characteristics and engineering principles of Formula 1 and Formula 4 cars, which enabled me to participate in race car preparation for a Formula 4 car alongside my peers. However, I wanted to further immerse myself in the field. I discovered the NMA through their advertisements. Since enrolling, they gave me the opportunity to be part of their race team for the GT Cup Championship, providing the hands-on experience and professional environment I was seeking.

Inside an F4 Car
The engine of an F4 car

How has your time with NMA been so far?

Honestly, it has been an amazing experience, especially as a woman in the motorsport industry, where I’ve encountered my fair share of challenges. The NMA made me feel welcome and valued from the start. The support from the staff is outstanding, and the module content is exceptionally in-depth and detailed compared to other institutions, perfectly aligning with what I was looking for.

What's been your favourite module so far?

Driven by my passion for F1, I would say Module 02: Race Car Design and Preparation, has been my favourite so far. This module allowed me to delve deeper into understanding track setups before and after races, building on my experience with the Formula 4 car. It was both interesting and challenging, providing valuable insights and enhancing my skills in race car preparation.

Can you tell us a bit more about the F1 build project you are working on?

I have a deep admiration for older generation F1 cars, especially Ayrton Senna’s MP4/4 and MP4/8 McLaren. My passion for these cars was sparked by helping my dad with his race cars from a young age, which inspired me to build a single-seater of my own. The MP4/8, in particular, captivated me with its driving characteristics, behavior, and beautiful sound. I chose to base my Formula 1 build on the MP4/8 because it aligns perfectly with the chassis and powertrain I plan to use. This project aims not only to replicate the technical brilliance of this historic F1 car, but also to push the boundaries of my engineering capabilities.

As I navigate the challenges of sourcing parts, refining aerodynamics, and optimizing performance through simulations and testing, each step brings me closer to realizing a childhood dream and cementing my path in the world of motorsport engineering. Now that I have an improved understanding of motorsport, I can apply the necessary skills and race car principles to my project, which will help me take my F1 build on track.

I attended a few F1 races over the years. Watching the engineers develop and alter the cars over time is interesting. Comparing the 2024 F1 cars and Senna’s shows that a lot has changed. I think part of the reason why I prefer classic F1 cars is due to how raw they were. This project allows me to combine my love for classic F1 cars with hands-on engineering experience.

Anmoul's chassis reflecting Senna's
Senna's MP4/8

What has been the biggest challenge for you on this project?

Patience. I’ve always had people tell me, “You’re doing too much,” or “You’ll never complete it.” I have never built a fully-fledged Race car on my own from the ground up. Unlike my e92 project, where you are already given a structure to work with, building this F1 car from scratch has been a completely new and difficult experience. I have developed a high work ethic from watching my dad work hard on his race car. When there are issues with cars, there is always a solution.

I enjoy a challenge, but running CAD simulation of components and aerodynamics, as well as fitting the powertrain using CFD software’s I had never used before, was daunting. Now that I know how to use these programs, I have turned this project into reality, so I took the initiative.

I’m enjoying the process of building the chassis, putting on powder coating and constructing the bodywork. Using Star CCM+ to create a virtual wind tunnel for the F1 build helps monitor the aerodynamic effects of the front and rear wings, and the car itself. It provides real-time data and visualizations of airflow patterns and pressures, helping me to make informed decisions in refining the aerodynamic profile of the car. I now understand how much negative lift I need for a desired race outcome on track.

I have also got a set of dry medium slick compounds ready, I even tyre licked each one myself! Alhumdullilah, I am grateful for all the things that I have prayed for. My advice for other individuals out there who don’t know where to start or are scared is to just dive right in.

Side view of chassis

What does it mean to you to be a woman in engineering?

Being a woman in motorsport means we are leading the charge to dismantle barriers and pave the way for future female engineers. In this industry, we face challenges such as inequality, but it’s our responsibility to rise above these obstacles and empower other women to discover their passion and pursue it, as daunting as it may seem to others. If you have a goal, work towards it.

Dry medium compound tyres for F1 build

Have you encountered any difficulties working in motorsport as a woman?

In my years in motorsport, I’ve faced several challenges as a woman, especially in the beginning, when it was particularly tough. However, I’ve always refused to let these negative experiences impact me negatively. Overcoming these difficulties has taught me to accept that there will always be individuals who may not appreciate your achievements and determination in this industry. As time passed, I’ve been fortunate to meet supportive engineers and colleagues who value my contributions and input. Despite occasional setbacks, working in motorsport is incredibly fulfilling, especially when tackling challenges and resolving issues together as a race team.

Do you have any advice for women who want to work in motorsport?

Believe in yourself, tune out the negative voices, and constructive criticism is not a bad thing. However, don’t let setbacks discourage you along your motorsport journey. Remember, you belong in this industry just as much as everyone else.

A massive thank you to Anmoul for speaking to us! We look forward to following along on her journey and seeing what she accomplishes next. Be sure to follow Anmoul on Tik Tok, where you can stay up-to-date on her F1 build project – Anmoul Syed.

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