Profession Test Driver, how to become a car test driver

Doing the Test Driver, that is to test cars (sports and not), is the dream of many motor enthusiasts. An original and stimulating profession, central to the activity of the large car teams but which is becoming increasingly popular also in dealerships and garages. But how do you become a test driver? What training path do you need to follow to work as a car test driver?

Numerous professional figures operate in the world of engines, who deal with very different fields, from mechanics to designers, from designers to developers of digital technologies designed for the automotive sector. In this great universe of “two and four-wheeled” jobs, the test driver stands out, who has the honor and the burden of testing cars and motorcycles before they are entrusted to champions (in the case of racing sports cars ) or put on the market. A delicate and often hidden role, which however plays a central role. A profession that deserves to be better known. Above all, a profession that all those who love engines dream of doing.

What the Test Driver does and where it works

Beyond the fascination it causes on car enthusiasts, however, that of the test driver is an absolutely serious profession and full of important responsibilities . Indeed, it is up to him to be the first to review a new vehicle and his opinion is essential to indicate what is wrong and what needs to be improved before putting the car on the road or on the track. He is therefore required to have a considerable amount of knowledge and skills which, as will be seen shortly, require a specific training course to be acquired.

In detail, the concrete tasks entrusted to the test driver are:

  • Check the performance of cars and motorcycles in different driving conditions;
  • Test the driveability of the car;
  • Identify malfunctions;
  • Collaborate with the design team to make improvements;
  • Evaluate new track systems.

The set of assessments made in the testing activities is condensed into a report which constitutes the reference document of the test driver’s work.

Given the wide spectrum of skills that it must have, the role of the test drive can be inserted in different work contexts , such as car manufacturers, sports stables, car dealerships, garages.

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The training path to become a Test Driver

Although the test drive work, as seen, requires very specific and high-level skills and knowledge, there is no formal course of study and training that governs access to this profession . Those who want to work as a test driver, therefore, must build their own training process by themselves, bearing in mind that it is a job with few places available . In addition, many car manufacturers prefer to entrust the testing of their new vehicles to former drivers who are no longer in business. Many test drivers, therefore, have behind them a career as agonists in the world of motors, which is their professional “calling card”. Does this mean that if you don’t come from that world it’s better to give up? Absolutely not. However, it is necessary to make prudent training choices . A good solution, for example, is to acquire a degree in mechanical engineering , the closest to the type of business you will be doing. Furthermore, once the university is completed, it is possible to refine one’s motoring knowledge by attending one of the masters or professionalizing courses offered by academies in the sector .

Find out how to become a car driver