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Alumni Photography Competition at the Department of Engineering

Richard Hopkirk: 'Advanced Communication Theory'
Richard Hopkirk: 'Advanced Communication Theory'

Richard Hopkirk
'Advanced Communication Theory'

This photo is of Richard Ford, who completed his PhD at the Department in 2002, hard at work at the McLaren F1 car test in Jerez, Spain. He's working on the laptop in the garage analysing live data from the cars as they circulate the track (this data is transmitted back to the pits in real time). He uses this data to spot problems in car operation, and help set up the car's various control systems (for which he is responsible at the track), including gearshift, differential locking, traction control, and many more systems besides. He has two sets of headphones in order to monitor two separate radio channels (referring to the two cars we are running) as at the time all of our double-channel units were in use by other people. And at the same time he has come up with a novel solution to speak to the factory in Woking on his mobile phone.

Graduated: 2001.
Biog: After graduating from Emmanuel College in 2001 I spent a year studying Engineering Science at Harvard in Boston before joining McLaren Racing, based in Woking, in their Vehicle Dynamics group. In my 5 years with the team to date I've worked on test bed control systems, transmission simulation, and engine research. At the start of 2007 I started a new 2-role job with the team: For the most part I work as a vehicle dynamicist, analysing on-track car performance and working with engineers at the track and the factory to figure out how to make us go faster; But as a secondary role I work with the race-team as the radio contact for one of our drivers during races.
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