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University’s Bruce McLaren engineering scholars welcomed at McLaren UK

Sixty years after Bruce McLaren made the journey from New Zealand to England to establish the company that still bears his name, two University of Auckland engineering students are following in his footsteps.

Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of Auckland mechanical engineering students Sabrina Yarndley and Joshua Cates are the latest Bruce McLaren engineering scholars to be welcomed to McLaren for a three-month internship at McLaren Automotive, the UK-based supercar company.

After completing the first year of his Bachelor of Engineering degree at the University of Auckland, Bruce departed for England in 1958 and went on to become an accomplished engineer and innovator as well as a successful racing driver. He founded the racing team that remains one of the world’s most successful names in motorsport and also unveiled the first McLaren supercar in the M6GT.

Dean of the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Engineering, Professor Gerard Rowe, said that the Faculty was honoured by the ongoing connection with Bruce’s legacy through the Bruce McLaren Automotive scholarship and internship.

“We are grateful for McLaren Automotive’s ongoing support and to the generous donors who make this possible – alumni Eric Tracey, Rob Whitehouse and Neil Paton, and Sir Colin Giltrap and the UKNZ Link Foundation,” he said.  “And we are incredibly proud of our students Sabrina and Joshua. Their skills, combined with the unique experience of their internships, will fuel their passion for automotive engineering and set them on the road to exciting careers.”

The McLaren internship follows on from a successful trip to Winton, Australia in early December, which saw Sabrina and Joshua play a significant role in the success of the University’s Formula SAE Team. The four-day event was full of “long hours and hard work,” says Joshua, but it all paid off with the team winning the Australasian F:SAE EV-Class competition against 22 other university teams from New Zealand and Australia.

As interns, Sabrina and Joshua will be based at the iconic MTC and McLaren Production Centres where they will have stints with designers and engineers, as well as with marketing and aftersales teams to gain a unique insight into the workings of the 3,000-strong workforce.

“It’s very humbling to be a Bruce McLaren engineering scholar,” says Joshua. “I personally know many others that are just as deserving of it and so to be awarded it myself is a great honour. McLaren is the kind of company I never saw myself being able to get close to, so I’m excited to be here.”

Jim Marsh, People and Chief Transformation Officer, McLaren Automotive, said they felt privileged to welcome the latest engineering scholars.

“It is wonderful to see Bruce’s vision live on in the supercars that we design and make today and that his legacy continues to inspire the next generation of talent from his home nation,” he said.

“We are delighted with the continued collaboration with the University of Auckland that will allow Joshua and Sabrina to see first-hand what goes into creating our supercars and for them to contribute to real-world projects. I’m sure Bruce would be proud of the internship which continues to celebrate the strong links between Britain and New Zealand that he epitomised.”

Arriving at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking in December, Sabrina and Joshua were met by University of Auckland alumna Lizzy Grant, herself a former Bruce McLaren engineering scholar in 2019 and who is now working on battery technologies crucial to the company’s future electrified powertrains.

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