08/24/2016

From an elite university to the LMP1 workshop

Henry Merrow studies mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – one of the best universities in the USA. As an intern at Porsche, he is currently assisting the developers in the LMP1 team.

Since April, the 21-year-old American has been working as an intern at Porsche in the “Motorsport Development LMP1 Systems” department, where his duties primarily involve developing battery cells for the hybrid drive systems in the LMP1 vehicles. 

“Speed is one thing, but the technology that long-distance racing cars use to ensure reliability and efficiency fascinates me”, says Henry. For the last three years, he has studied mechanical engineering at the prestigious MIT. All students take the same courses in mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology and the humanities during the first two semesters. They then have the opportunity to specialise in a particular discipline.

What brought him to motorsport was the “Formula Student” project

Alongside lectures, MIT places a strong emphasis on practical opportunities: “There are countless clubs, laboratory courses and research projects. That's where I discovered where my strengths and interests lie”. What brought him to motorsport was the “Formula Student” project, in which groups of engineering students work together to build a small single-seat racing car. This is then tested in competition against teams from other universities around the world. Porsche supports a number of participating teams in Germany.

When he heard a talk at his university from a Porsche representative about the technology in the LMP vehicles, it was clear to Henry that he wanted to go to the very heart of Porsche's motorsport development – the Porsche Development Centre in Weissach.

Impressed by the team spirit that predominates at Porsche

When asked about the highlight of his internship, the 21-year-old does not hesitate: “Definitely the Six Hours of Nürburgring. I was allowed to join the team in the pits and witness this type of race from start to finish. To be able to watch the drivers, technicians and engineers from up close was unbelievably thrilling and a great experience”. He was particularly impressed by the team spirit that predominates at Porsche: “The spirit among colleagues is great and I have noticed how much passion is on display from each employee. I would hope for that to be the case in my future workplace”.

Can he imagine that being in Weissach? “That would certainly be exciting, even if it would be difficult for me to leave my family and friends in the USA”.

But before he reaches that point, the first thing on the agenda is the last semester of university. He will return home in September, and it is the little things there that he is particularly looking forward to enjoying: “I'll finally have ice cubes in drinks again. I've missed that in the last few months”.

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