Lancashire Life magazine are featuring Oakhill alumni, James Rawlinson, in their “Bright Young Things’ lead feature in their April addition. Across four pages, with stunning photography, we find out how Oakhill was instrumental to James’ success as a test driver for Jaguar Land Rover.
“I think I have possibly one of the best jobs in the world,” James Rawlinson comments. At the young age of 24 years James works for Jaguar Land Rover as a development engineer – test driving cars all over the world. James held the position of Head Boy at Oakhill in 2007 and attributes his early career success to the time spent at Oakhill.
James is one of a handful of test drivers, working on all products and all surfaces. His work regularly takes him to the famous Nürburgring where the cars reach incredible speeds beyond 180mph. James relocated to Warwick, which is 7 miles away from the Jaguar Land Rover chassis Headquarters at Gaydon and his role is officially titled ‘Stability Attribute Engineer’, working in attribute target definition for all Jaguar projects.
Between December and March each year he tests at Arjeplog in North Sweden in Arctic Circle conditions. An interesting situation of working two weeks on, one week off, testing and developing cars on a frozen lake for snow and ice calibration, traction control and ABS systems. James comments, “My colleague and I assess how the car should feel, aligning the performance and character of the car – ensuring it delivers on safety and its dynamic ability. We work for between 6 and 10 hours a day inside the cars and the team don’t stop until they are perfect.”
In March he relocates to the South of France at Ladoux to test at the Michelin facility and develop other areas of vehicle performance. Additionally, they use the Porsche facility at Nardo, Southern Italy and Nurburgring, Germany in the Summer. In Nardo high speed track dynamic work is tackled, this is made possible due to the famous 12 mile banked bowl and high speed handling track.
James joined Oakhill aged 10 in Year 6 and he attributes his attitude and skills to those formative years. “At Oakhill I gained more than academic success, it gave me self-belief and confidence. It’s quite unique in its support of you as an individual. I enjoyed every minute and haven’t forgotten any of it and I am still in touch with friends and teachers. When I come back, for instance doing the annual ski trip, it feels like home.” James went onto do A Levels at Clitheroe Grammar in Maths, Physics, DT and Art before completing a BSc (Hons) in Motorsport Technology at Staffordshire University, where he gained First Class Honours. He was offered a number of positions in the industry but 3 years ago it was Jaguar Land Rover that won the day.
Currently James is working on future Jaguar model year products. We wish him all the very best for the future.