Salary of a Race Car Engineer

Americans love to watch Nascar, Formula One, and Indy Car racing. While some may dream of becoming a famous race car driver, there are other important jobs involved in auto racing. One of the most important jobs is the race car engineer. This individual works long hours and travels with the team to ensure that the car runs properly on race day. Compensation for race car engineers varies depending on the level of competition for the race car.

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Race car engineers are compensated by their long hours and constant travel.

No Salary

Some race car engineers work for free. These individuals spend their regular work week employed by companies as civil or mechanical engineers. During the weekends, they travel with friends to autocross competitions and work on the competitive cars. Some race car engineers do this as a hobby whereas some do it to gain experience. Once a race car engineer gains enough experience, he can apply for a permanent higher paying job working for a racing company.

Starting Salary

Starting salaries for race car engineers begin around $30,000. Most individuals who obtain jobs as race car engineers attend college and major in mechanical, electrical, or aeronautical engineering. Some colleges in Europe, the United States, and Canada offer degrees in motor sport vehicle technology. While these degrees are helpful in obtaining jobs, most racing companies also want hands-on experience before hiring. Practical skills are needed in welding, fabricating metal, and electronics. The current job outlook for the engineering field is good and continues to grow. The specific jobs in race car engineering are harder to obtain especially for the premier racing companies.

Advanced Salary

The typical range for a race car engineer with years of experience varies between $50,000 to $100,000. The amount of the salary will definitely depend on which racing company employs the engineer and at which level the cars race. For example, a smaller company such as Auto Palace LLC pays $22 per hour, but a larger company such as Forsythe Championship Racing Ltd. LLC pays $70,000 a year.

High End Salary

The high end salaries for race car engineers go over $100,000 when you hit the top level. The top level is considered the top NASCAR, Indy 500, and Formula 1 racing events. These engineers can work over 300 days a year and are constantly on the road traveling to a different race each weekend. Their responsibilities increase in these races because they are typically monitoring multiple cars with different engines. The salary increase compensates for the increased stress of the job.