From the first F1 practice on the 8th of April to the Malaysian F1 56-Lap Grand Prix itself, the world was practically buzzing about this season’s results and how Jenson Button shone regardless of the weather. Well, deep inside, it’s normal for almost every boy to cherish a secret dream of becoming an F1 driver. But of course that wouldn’t be possible in reality.
Nevertheless, technology has opened the door towards many possibilities. Like any other boys out there, Patrick Jude was a car maniac who was crazy about cars ever since his dad got him a remote control car at the age of six. Since then, the shape of cars, their make, color, engines, and parts were all that took up his time and attention. Patrick officially started his massive toy car collection since he was 15 and bought his first, very own car when he reached 17. Of course there really wasn’t anything special about this fact, until the boy attempted to modify it to make the vehicle faster when he was 18.
“I decided to pursue my dream at The Otomotif College (TOC) upon completion of my secondary school education. They were after all, the pioneers of automotive colleges in Malaysia and they had the closest relationships with members of the industry out there,” shared Patrick, current Business Development Manager at R&D F1 Simulation.
For those who don’t know, R&D Engineering created this racing centre which features the most advanced simulator technology, comprising of both software and hardware. Combining the adrenalin surging excitement of racing with the absolute pinnacle of computer technology and gaming, this technology allows drivers to compare their performance with current real world drivers directly.
In Patrick’s case, TOC was a good place to start for a boy with 0% practical knowledge about cars. TOC foresaw the developments in the automotive world and moved quickly to invest in that kind of high-end equipment and facilities to ensure their students are able to adapt in this rapidly evolving environment.
“In TOC, they purchased a variety of Asian and European cars for students to practice on. Students get to practice their skills on the leatest engines and modles in the market, so we are used to high-technology electronics incorporated into well-known, high quality brands such as BMW, Mercedez-Benz, Lexus, Honda Civic Hybrid, Toyota, Subaru, Mitsubishi and etc. I fell in love with engines and the way they function when I started learning the subject of “Overhauling”,” Patrick stated. He then went on to cite an incident when his group was given a dead NISSAN SD22 Diesel Engine and a one week deadline to conduct overhauling and revive the engine. “It was really interesting and highly rewarding when we managed to start the engine after five days of hard work,” he claimed.
Patrick was also assigned to a few of TOC’s 800 over venue partners to complete supervised industrial training and internship. This way, students were exposed to the real world working environment way before graduation. TOC also delivers a unique job guarantee for fresh graduates. Since the year 2007, 100% of TOC graduates have been successfully placed into various jobs. The Career Development Center assists students in their job placement for life and TOC takes pride in the high demand for their graduates in the automotive industry.
Through his exposure to numerous events such as F1 races in Sepang, Asian Festival of Speed and Millennium Endurance Race throughout TOC, Patrick managed to build some good contacts from the automotive field and therefore had a burning desire to aim high and work in the exciting world of motorsports. Well, of course the budding car enthusiast seized his chance when an opportunity came knocking on the door. One of the lucky 20 guests invited by R&D F1 Simulation to try out the F1 simulators in KL tower, Patrick completed the fastest track time around Sepang circuit in the simulator around Sepang circuit. Thanks to his actual practical experience and solid grounding on theoretical knowledge, he was then offered a job on the same day, as a simulator trainer for their members.
Of course, Patrick was familiar with simulation programs thanks to his diploma education in The Otomotif College (TOC). Utilizing the advancement of technology to it’s fullest; TOC implemented the use of Electude, a sophisticated online E-learning automotive diagnostic programme that resembles a realistic video game. Simulating the real work environment with its unique Virtual Car and Learning Management System, trainers get to track, monitor and assess the progress of their students. Electude allows students to learn about complete vehicles, from bumper to bumper, and teaches them how to maintain and repair cars, by using interactive animations and simulations.
“I started my career as a normal simulator trainer for three months. Then I started “racing in Sepang” with the members and also the Korean F3 team E’rain racing. I got to know a thousand and one things about Forumula BMW cars and also got the chance to try out the Formula Renault 2.0 in the circuit. It was like a dream come true!” exclaimed Patrick, whose role as business development manager includes training teenagers all about the Sepang International Circuit and carry out events and road shows throughout Malaysia.
With one F1 Merchandise Store to take care of and two units of full-sized F1 Simulators at the KL Tower, Patrick’s life is indeed busy but never boring. “My job is to call out random people, team members and also car club owners to come and try out the F1 Simulators in my showroom and purchase the merchandise available on sale. Since KL tower is a well-known tourist spot, I meet people from different parts of the world and give them some knowledge about F1 Simulators,” Patrick described with a flourish.
Having acquired knowledge and skills on the customer care processes and after-sales management during his second year of diploma, Patrick learnt the guidelines on after-sales establishments, after-sales customer care and retention procedures besides covering areas such as shop floor and parts management. These skills are especially useful for diploma holders who wish to advance to the executive and management level in the job fields.
So what’s next? Well, Patrick is in the process of getting his own racing license. Who knows, one day he might actually become a real F1 driver in the future!