George Imafidon

Racecar Reinventor. Performance engineer with X44.

I grew up fixing bikes and racing go-karts, always loving a competition and seeing how fast I could go. Now I design Extreme-E race cars with Sir Lewis Hamilton’s electric racing team, making race cars faster, better, and more sustainable.

 

I grew up in Peckham and we couldn’t afford a bike so I used to fix other people’s bikes for free in my mum’s garden. I was fascinated with the gears and making things work better, even from the age of 8. Bikes, go-karts, minimotos, I loved them all and eventually got my own moped. I loved racing anything with wheels and decided that if I couldn’t be inside the car, I wanted to be the one outside designing it, and making the vehicle a winner.

 

I didn’t fully know what engineering was – I used to confuse it with being a mechanic. I was choosing between studying motor mechanics and engineering and my brother told me engineering would give me more options. He was right! I studied engineering at GCSE and realised it was more than fixing things, it was building them and coming up with new ideas.

 

I studied mechanical engineering at University College London and took part in Formula Student -  an engineering competition that gives you real world experience in the motorsport industry.

 

I love mechanical engineering because it is so broad and involves so many areas. I get to learn about software, electronics, materials, even civil engineering. And mechanical engineering involves anything that moves. So yes, that’s cars and bikes, but it’s also limbs and eyes. Mechanical engineers invent prosthetic limbs and artificial organs, helping people with disabilities or chronic illnesses, shaping their lives for the better.

 

There are so many skills you get to learn, from design to manufacturing. Maths and physics are always useful, but to be honest, you only need to know the basics and you learn as you go.

 

Now I’m a performance engineer with Prodrive and work with Hamilton’s X44 Extreme E race team. We bring electric racing to some of the most remote corners of the planet to highlight the climate change challenges faced by different ecosystems.

 

Sustainability has become increasingly important to me. One project I worked on was for a self-recycling bin that could sort and recycle waste automatically. I think the next space race is protecting this planet. I’m proud that I get to work in a new area of motorsport that is championing a sustainable future.

 

I would describe myself as a humanitarian engineer because I know I am bringing change in the world and want to help people. When I was 17, I set up a company called Motivez to help young people from underrepresented backgrounds access opportunities, particularly within science, technology, engineering, and maths. I’ve always believed if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu, and that’s why I'm passionate about getting underrepresented groups through because maybe they have ideas that have never been thought of before, that need to be heard. And that's how we'll tackle sustainability and a lot of our problems.

 

For me, engineering has been transformative. It has changed my life and given me experiences that I otherwise would never have got. I’ve met interesting people from F1 drivers to the Royal Family. I’ve travelled to exciting places, like Greenland and Saudi Arabia, where I get to be trackside and see amazing environments, from glaciers to deserts.

 

I still settle bets with my friends by seeing who can race the fastest and I love to win in my work too. A tenth of a second makes a huge difference in my world. But you don’t race every day and it’s so exciting to solve problems that no-one else has solved before.

Where to next?

Find out more about how you can turn what you love into engineering, and what a future in engineering could look like, by exploring the links below. And if you have a question or comment, get in touch, we’d be happy to help!