Case study


Charley Webster-Clarke realised she was on a path her heart wasn't, and changed direction to pursue her passion for motorsport. Now she's embracing both the theory and hands-on side and loving it.

Chasing the dream

Charley’s first career was in accountancy following an apprenticeship. But her true passion lay somewhere very different. She is now studying our BEng (Hons) Motorsport Engineering.

She says: “I was only working to fund what I enjoyed doing: building and repairing cars.” Following her apprenticeship, she went on to a role at Alcon which had connections with the motorsport industry. “Working at Alcon opened my eyes that there were careers in motorsport. I had never really considered it before and saw it as more of a hobby than a potential career.”

Charley explains: “I started looking for a step into the motorsport industry, searching for any courses related to motorsport. I came across Motorsport Engineering and Derby was one of the top universities that came up.”

And since then, she hasn’t looked back.

Charley's story

Charley looking over a racecar

View Charley's story video transcript

Studying at Derby

Studying Motorsport Engineering has given Charley the chance to experience all aspects of the subject. “The course is spot on,” she says. “It’s opened up a lot of pathways and has changed my mind from what I initially wanted to do. I love the theoretical side, but I’ve learned that I’m better when I’m doing something hands-on.”

Charley Webster-Clarke

I’ve been given opportunities I wouldn’t have had anywhere else. The University has connections with external companies which have opened the door for me and other students on my course.

Charley Webster-Clarke
BEng (Hons) Motorsport Engineering

Charley has found tremendous support from technical and academic staff - “It’s unbelievable how the technical team go out of their way to help us,” she says. “Andy Menzies, our Technical Instructor, has done a lot for me to help my career – he took me along to join a race team trackside which resulted in me working with them for two seasons He's always been available to ask anything and everything to. The list is honestly endless – without him, I would never be where I am now. My lecturer Tarek Jomaa is also always supportive, both academically and personally, listening to me and offering advice.”

Outside the classroom

As part of the Motorsport Engineering degree, there’s the opportunity to get involved in optional extra-curricular activities. This year Charley took on the role as Team Manager for the 2022 Radical SR1 Cup Championship. The team have travelled around the country and have gained four 2nd place trophies, working with professional drivers Tom Woods and Chris Astley. “I’m really enjoying being a part of the championship and working as a team with lots of people involved,” Charley says.

Outside of her activities within the University, she works on gearboxes in her spare time and is a Number 2 technician with race team Excelr8. Last year she had the opportunity to work on championship winning cars. “Working all season on a car that then won the championship was an amazing feeling,” she enthuses.

At the Radical SR1 Cup Championship

a group of happy people stand around a racing car with hands and thumbs raised in celebration

View At the Radical SR1 Cup Championship video transcript

Supportive environment

“Our year group is really supportive of each other,” Charley says. “I’ve learned some of my most valuable knowledge from other students, it’s amazing how much support we give each other – no one wants to see any of us fail. I don’t think I could have asked for a better year of people to be with. Their commitment just makes me feel grateful to be able to work alongside them."

Of all her experiences so far, what is her biggest success? Charley thinks that’s “Keeping up with the work! Even something small like passing an assignment makes me feel happy as I’m doing something I love,” she says.

And where does she see herself in the future?

“I’d love to travel around Europe with a race team, being track side but workshop based, more hands-on and applied. And I’d love to build GT cars. Watch this space!”