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Engineering student wins opportunity of a lifetime from Infiniti

Have you ever wanted to land a dream internship? For 10 Canadian engineering students, a chance of a lifetime was presented to them by the Infiniti Engineering Academy.

The Infiniti Engineering Academy is now in its fourth year – second time in Canada – with seven students chosen from around the world representing various regions (Asia and Oceania, Canada, China, Europe, Mexico, the Middle East and the United States). It originally began as part of the Red Bull Racing/Infiniti partnership, but that venture has expanded and been embraced by Renault Sport, naturally tying into its Renault-Nissan alliance.

If you've ever watched American Idol, you would get a sense for what these students will go through – only in an accelerated two-day competition. It's a gauntlet of sorts: stand out from thousands of resumes, various phone and in-person interviews, test well on video and media training, use on-the-spot problem solving skills, possess technical abilities and knowledge of the industry, and work as a team to build a successful miniature race car.

It was a two-day grind that had its ups and down, but the cream eventually rose to the top. For 2017, it was Matthew Crossan, a Masters of Engineering Science student at Western University who impressed the three judges and a host of automotive journalists to claim this coveted internship opportunity to begin in October.

With the win, Crossan receives a one-year paid internship opportunity split between working with Infiniti's European Technical Center in Cranfield, UK and the Renault Sport Formula One team at its Technical Center in Enstone, UK.

When my name was announced, I couldn’t believe it,” explains Crossan. “I met nine other very capable and strong candidates in the final, who were all deserving of the opportunity, so I feel very fortunate to be selected as the winner. I can’t wait to get started and I will give it all to prove I am a winner worthy of this amazing opportunity.”

For the second year in a row, the event took place at Luciani Infiniti in Montreal, ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix. A few tweaks were made to the program, as according to Tommaso Volpe, Global Director, Infiniti Motorsport, “the program is constantly evolving.”

For this year, the academy has partnered with Microsoft, and in doing so, the students have been tested on more technical elements involving data sorting. In a few weeks, a culmination of sorts will occur when the American academy program takes place at Microsoft's headquarters in Seattle.

But like many great television show cliffhangers, the Infiniti Engineering Academy saved the best surprise for last when Renault Sport Nico Hulkenberg made an appearance, announcing Crossan as the winner.

Engineering is priceless in Formula One, and bringing the next generation into the team can only help bring race wins, and hopefully a championship,” adds Hulkenberg.

The Infiniti Engineering Academy may have started as a small venture to recruit young talent, but awareness has grown with an increase from 4,000 applicants in 2016 to a whopping 12,000. According to Volpe, its more than just a marketing ploy, as last year's UK winner Daniel Sanham will soon start a full-time position in the electronics department at Renault Sport. 



Montoya has incredible run to win the 2015 Indy 500

It wasn't easy for the Colombian, but after a long break from IndyCar, Juan Pablo Montoya collected his second Borg-Warner trophy, 15 years after his first Indianapolis 500 victory.

The 99th running of the event was a battle to the end that saw two Team Penske drivers, Montoya and Will Power take on Chip Ganassi's Scott Dixon and Charlie Kimball for the win. In the final laps, the Ganassi drivers didn't have anything left, as the Penske teammates went all out for the win.

Montoya made his move into first place over Power with three laps to go, and never relinquished the lead. He weaved from the inside to outside blocking whatever draft he could, preventing Power from catching any steam.

Montoya led the race for only 9 laps, but it was the final two that counted when it mattered the most. Out of those front runners, it was Montoya that started in the middle of the pack in 15th, dropping down to the 30th position early on after contact with Andretti Autosport's Simona de Silverstro. After several pit stops, Montoya made his move through the field, eventually catching up to the top-10 at the middle of the race.

“What really matters is the last 15 laps,” said Montoya. “That was fun racing. Probably the best racing. Between Will (Power) and (Scott) Dixon, we have a lot of respect for each other.”

Kimball would end up in third place, while the pole sitter Dixon took fourth. The best Honda finish came from Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing's Graham Rahal in fifth, ahead of Andretti Autosport and fellow-Honda driver Marco Andretti.

Chip Ganassi's Tony Kanaan and Team Penske's Simon Pagenaud, both had cars to win the race, but had to bow out of the running late. Kanaan hit the wall on lap 153 ending his day; while Pagenaud clipped Kimball's car causing front wing damage and dropping to the mid pack around lap 170. Pagenaud would climb his way back for a 10th place finish.

The only Canadian in the field, after James Hinchcliffe's serious practice injury was Alex Tagliani for A.J. Foyt Racing. He would end up being the top driver for his team with a 17th place finish, avoiding any incidents, save from a gear box issue in the warm-up lap.

With this victory, Montoya becomes the first driver with two victories on the season, and now leads the IndyCar points race with 272 points, 25 points over Power, the defending champion.

Chudleigh to go full-time in Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0

Canada’s Luke Chudleigh starts his first full-time season in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 series this weekend as the opening round triple-header event commences at Spain’s Motorland Aragon Circuit, 24th-26th April, the championship forming part of the prestigious World Series by Renault platform.
The 20-year-old from Milton, who races for the British-based Fortec Motorsports outfit, is no stranger to Eurocup action having undertaken a handful of races in the premier Formula Renault 2.0 class in 2014 while competing full-time in the ALPS division.  The Canadian made his Eurocup debut at the corresponding opening round in Spain last April.On that occaison Luke scored a pair of top twenty finishes but armed with more experience and already with a top ten finish to his credit from this year’s Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup (NEC) first round, Chudleigh heads into this weekend determined for a strong start to his full-time Eurocup campaign.

“We’ve put in a lot of hard work to get ready for our Eurocup start in Spain,” enthused Chudleigh.  “This is probably the most prepared I’ve felt for a race, boosted with a couple of good days on Fortec’s simulator.  It’s important that we’re quick straight away this weekend.  Not just because of the quality of competition but primarily due to the lack of practice time.  We only have two twenty five minute sessions before we head into qualifying, our track time is really quite minimal.  We then have three races to show what we can do.
“My goal is to be strong in qualifying.  If I deliver there then it’s easier to make things happen in the race.  I know the track and I know how competitive Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 is but that’s why I want to be here.  I enjoyed the races I was in last year and to be here full-time now, especially with Fortec Motorsports, is tremendous. I had a good run at Monza a couple of weeks ago in NEC and I’m comfortable with the base we’ve established together.  Every point counts in this series though, there’s really no mileage to play with but I’m confident we can enjoy a solid start to our Eurocup season.”  
This weekend’s schedule at the Spanish 5.3km track consists of two races on Saturday 24th April, each lasting 25 minutes plus one lap, scheduled for 12:40pm (6:40am EST) and 4:20pm (10:20am EST) respectively.  The third race on Sunday, 25th April, is set to start at 12:15pm (6:15am EST).
This season’s Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 comprises 17 races held across seven events at tracks as famous as Belgium’s Spa-Francorchamps, Great Britain’s Silverstone, Germany’s Nurburgring and France’s Le Mans Circuit.

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