Student Experiences: Austin Bentil
Meet MSc Advanced Motorsport Engineering student, Austin Bentil. Austin grew up inside inner London, an area where motorsport careers were very slim beyond the indoor karting scene. However, he did not let this stop his passion for motorsport. Austin took to modifying street cars, and as his investment into the field grew, he decided pursuing motorsport engineering was the right course of action. He started looking for online Masters degrees that he could do while still balancing his work-life commitments. Discover more of Austin’s story and how he has found studying with the NMA.
Hello! Tell us about yourself!
My name is Austin Bentil, I am 24 Years old and currently studying the MSc Advanced Motorsport Engineering course. I have just completed Module 6, Driver coaching, which involved exploring race telemetry and onboard footage to compare the performance of an amateur and pro driver. Using this I had to develop a report aimed at the amateur driver and their engineers with the aim of reducing the time deficit to the professional driver.
Tell us more about your background in motorsport. How did you fall into Motorsport?
Having always grown up inside inner London, motorsport was not something many people encountered outside of the indoor karting track. My introduction to motorsport as a profession and a career came from my passion for tuning and modifying street cars, that of which is much more popular in the city. Getting older I learnt more in my free time, with an increasing wage as I grew up leading to more and more money being spent on cars and parts to customise them. Prior to pursuing a career in motorsport, I was working in life sciences, clinical research to be exact when I decided that my efforts and talents would be better utilised in an area, I had a real devotion and natural inquisition for. That’s when I decided I wanted to become an engineer.
What led you to the National Motorsport Academy?
Once I decided I wanted to pursue a career in engineering I set out looking for Masters’ courses specifically. Having already studied 4 years for an undergrad and then working full-time, I felt I wouldn’t have the time or money to take another 3 years out of work to study for another undergrad. This proved quite difficult, however the flexibility of NMA allows me to learn and study at a consistent yet comfortable pace, all whilst still being able to work full time, making it a complete no brainer. Since starting my course I have worked in 2 major motorsport jobs, taking advantage of my outside knowledge and what I have learned here. However, despite being online so many practical opportunities are offered through track support and research & development, so it truly allows for the best of both worlds.
How has your NMA experience been so far?
It’s been a great diverse experience, every module is unique, challenging you in different ways with completely different experiences. The tutors are very accessible and are genuinely committed to helping and passing on their knowledge and experience.
What's been your favourite module so far?
Before starting the course, I had believed I wanted to go along the route of becoming a vehicle dynamics engineer, studying vehicle telemetry to optimise lap times and evaluate driving techniques. As expected, that module (Module 3) was amazing, learning the skills required to be able to simply look at a set of traces and mentally visualise how the car is able to negotiate the track and how comfortable the driver is inside the car is a revelation like no other. However, Multi-Physics Analysis was the module I enjoyed most! Learning with Autodesk Inventor to bring creations to life and testing them out with CFD software is what I have enjoyed most. It embraces a specific side of motorsport and evokes one of my favourite traits, creativity. Being able to test designs and quickly find a response is a rapid and effective way of learning and understanding how the shape of a vehicle affects its dynamics and how you can use repeated experimentation to improve upon the basic principles. I enjoyed this module so much that I have decided to pursue a career in design engineering/ vehicle aerodynamics, I have even taken on an outside project with Wayne to practice these skills alongside completing my course and I look forward to learning even more.
You've recently completed a big project around a Porsche 918 Racecar... Tell us more about it!
This project was the assignment for Module 6, and the 918 racecar was the car assigned by my tutor. Even though I didn’t pick the car I do agree it was a prime example of the use of a top mounted exhaust system. With top mounted exhaust systems being something that’s only come about the past decade in production cars, not a lot of research has been publicised which made laying the foundations quite difficult. But at the same time, it made it that much more interesting as I didn’t really know what I was to expect, which made me genuinely interested and invested in this project. It was my first time using any sort of CAD & CFD software, but the guidance received was perfect, leaving room to carry out my own research into different software techniques to improve the reliability and validity of my project. It has increased my confidence significantly and I believe has propelled me to a new stage in my engineering journey.
How did Wayne contribute to this?
Wayne was there to answer any questions I had about the operation of the software if I got seriously stuck. He gave some great advice and was generally very helpful and inspiring, especially when using tools that are completely new to you to carry out some complex operations.
What did you learn from this project?
I learned that I love CAD. I experience the scope of the software even at an introductory level. How every surface can be broken down into tiny constituent surfaces and how the shape, number and form of these surfaces can impact the quality of simulations and the time taken to complete them. To this day I am continuously practicing, alongside my current modules, because it’s an area I aim to become an expert in very soon.
A big thank you to Austin for speaking to us! You can keep up to date with his projects over by following him on LinkedIn – Austin Bentil