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Some call it work. I call it: breathtaking.

Carole Ratel is an aerodynamics engineer for DTM vehicles at Audi Sport.

As an aerodynamics engineer she develops the racing version of the Audi RS5. She tests new aerodynamically optimised vehicle parts in the wind tunnel and analyses the results to establish which variants produce the best performance. After all, aerodynamics is a decisive factor that can win or lose a race.

What makes her job so important to Audi?

 

Carole is highly instrumental in ensuring that the Audi Sport DTM racing car delivers optimal performance on the track. With her know-how, she takes on a key role in the design process. Her main focus is on creating body parts that generate a large amount of downforce and only a small amount of drag.

Her responsibilities:

 

Carole’s most important job – and her favourite – is taking measurements in the wind tunnel. Here she measures the aerodynamic properties of the vehicle when individual parts are altered. She therefore tests the effect of newly designed mirrors, flicks and spoilers when driving along straights, in bends and when braking.

Computer simulations also provide her with information about how air flows along and over the vehicle at differing speeds. With the data she collects she plays a central role in the design process. Collaboration with colleagues is very important as various departments are part of the design process: from engine and chassis development to the selection of materials, each element influences the aerodynamic properties of the vehicle.

Hard and soft skills she needs:

 

Working in the field of aerodynamics requires meticulousness and patience to optimise small details in order to achieve improved vehicle performance. It also requires the ability to work as part of a team, because various departments are simultaneously involved in the design process and the actual racing. That’s when bi-directional feedback and the ability to search for solutions as a team really make a difference.

A short biography:

 

Carole Ratel completed her school-leaving certificate in France with a focus on natural sciences. She then decided on a degree in mechanical engineering in Marseille. She was so inspired by her internship at the Aerospace Research Centre in Naples that she decided to specialise in aerodynamics. She went on to gain a Master of Science Degree in Race Car Aerodynamics at the University of Southampton. She joined Audi eight years ago and worked in series development in the wind tunnel centre for the first five years. The focus of her work then was the aerodynamics/aeroacoustics of the Audi A3 Sportback and the Audi A3 Saloon. Since 2013 she has been part of the international team at Audi Sport developing Audi’s racing cars for the DTM.

Her role model:

 

Michael Schumacher. As a child, Carole Ratel was a big Formula 1 fan. By the age of eleven she was already dreaming of developing cars for racing-car driver legends such as Michael Schumacher.

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