This is Lars van Leeuwen, Group Leader Transmission, Suspension and Integration at TMG. A keen karting man, Lars has been working at TMG since 2000, where he has been able to put his personal passion for motorsport into practice. From the age of four, Lars set his sights on a career in engineering and TMG has offered him the perfect role to combine his work and his hobby.
Name: Lars van Leeuwen
Working at TMG since September 2000
Lars, what is your role at TMG?
Currently my role is a group leader transmission, suspension and integration. So, I’m responsible for the transmission, suspension and brakes integration in this area. 80% of my time is spent on engineering the transmissions for the various projects I’m working on. The other 20% of my time is spent managing the other groups like integration suspension and brakes so their design tasks are done to the high standards we have here within TMG.
How would you describe your work in three words?
If I have to describe TMG in three words I would say innovation, excitement and challenges. Innovation: being able to win races you need to come up with solutions and designs, which are outstanding to beat your competitors. Being innovative and always trying to find the challenges to make something better, make something faster is something that fascinates me a lot in engineering.
What does engineering mean to you?
Engineering is never being happy with what you’ve achieved, always looking forward and trying to find how you can improve things next time. With the facilities we have at TMG, we have the opportunity to test all these innovations and all these ideas and I get a high satisfaction level if I achieve my goals. But, the fact that we are faced with these challenges on a daily basis makes me really love engineering.
What projects are your most proud of at TMG?
I think the proudest achievement I experienced over the past few years, since the F1 project stopped, is being involved in so many really interesting projects. We have a lot of projects on which we are working in parallel and I personally enjoy being involved in them.
What’s the most exciting part of working at TMG?
I love working here because it gives us the ultimate reward: basically seeing your parts in action, seeing how the mechanics work, hearing the race drivers give feedback on your parts, trying to extract information from that and bringing that to the design again and making it even better the next time. Then, if next time you get feedback and it is better, that is what makes you feel good.
How does your private life help your career at TMG?
My hobby is karting and at the age of four I had my first kart which was designed by my father so I was introduced at a very early stage in the design processes needed to build a kart. Very soon after that, I started to be interested in motorsports. I adapted my studies to that so I studied mechanical engineering and this paved my path to TMG around 2000 when I joined TMG as responsible for transmission design on the F1 project. My hobbies continues to be karting and I enjoy driving karts a lot. I do all the maintenance and all the preparation myself. It’s also nice to see the effects on set up and other things and experience them yourself. On a daily basis we get feedback from race drivers and some of that you can apply to your own kart to see the effects, which is very nice I enjoy the preparation stage just as much as the driving itself. The driving, of course, gives you the thrill of being very fast on a relatively small circuit compared to what’s going on in the real world but it still gives you a lot of excitement.