Racing Talk: What Is A Data Engineer?

Who Is The Data Engineer In Motorsports?

If you are curious about the roles within a motorsports team, then the data engineer might be the least obvious. You might have heard the term in software engineering but in motorsports the role is different. Here is a short description so you are clear.

Main Responsibilities Of The Data Engineer

  • Analysis: Analyses the vehicle performance i.e. performance data
  • Data System: Setup, calibration and manage logged data
  • Vehicle Systems: Identify system problems, monitor the engine, set up gear shift lights, throttle maps etc
  • Communications: Coach driver on braking distances, positioning, gear selection, turn-in points, throttle application techniques etc.

In a professional race team, the data engineer works with the race engineer. In smaller teams these roles can merge so you should consider them together.

Skills Balance

As with the race engineer, the data engineer has to balance technical and human skills. These are:

  • Systems / Electrical Engineering
  • Vehicle Dynamics
  • (Driver) Coaching

Further Information

The data engineer is often the entry-level role into a team for the aspiring race engineer. Have a look at this screengrab from Google. It shows the career paths of some (motorsports famous) motorsports engineers who starting as data engineers:

data engineer who has been a data engineer in motorsport

I could not find a Wikipedia definition of data engineer to link for you. Instead, here is a link to the Wikipedia article describing the role of a race engineer.

Looking for more? Have a read through some of my practical advice and resources on race engineering.