Top 10 Jobs for Gearheads

So you’ve always dreamed about working under the hood or behind the wheel of a car for a living but don’t know how to go about fulfilling your dream? Don’t know the best jobs out there for people who live to get their hands greasy? For gearheads that are all about hearing engines rev, taking sharp corners, or creating next generation cars, there are a few jobs out there that top the lists for car junkies everywhere. Whether your thing is working on cars, learning about them, or driving them, the options for rad automotive jobs are out there and they aren’t just about changing their oil or selling cars. 

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10. Safety Car Driver

A safety car, or pace car, is used to limit the speed of competing cars on a racetrack during a caution period. The first time that a pace car was utilized was during the Indianapolis 500 in 1911 and has been a common safety measure in Formula One and NASCAR races ever since. In Formula One, the safety car driver has been Bernd Maylander since 2000, and in NASCAR the pace car is driven by Brett Bodine, so you might have to seek out a lower series to drive the safety car for. But, you’ll get to drive the most popular tracks in the world and breathe in the race car culture, without having to worry as much about wrecking at high speeds.

9. Pit Crew

pit crew
MGM

For the mechanically inclined gearhead, a job in the pit crew is ideal. A pit stop is when race cars stop during the race for refueling, new tires, repairs, or other mechanical fixes. The pit crew is the crew performing these fixes on the car during the pit stop and has to be extremely efficient, fast, and amazing at their job. During a ten second pit stop, the other cars gain about a quarter mile, so the pit crew need to be extremely fast so that their team doesn’t lose.

8. Automotive Journalist

Automotive journalists are the ultimate car enthusiasts. They research automobiles by interviewing manufacturers and experts and get to write about the newest cars and vehicle technology. They report on automotive news, events, and interview prominent figures in the automotive world. Many automotive journalists work in broadcasting and interview Formula One or NASCAR drivers. And the best part is that they get to drive brand new cars in order to write accurate reviews.

7. Classic Car Restoration

The nostalgic job for the car enthusiast is the classic car restorer. You’ll be able to work with the cars that started it all, the cars that you were passionate about early on and restore them. This job requires a lot of engine and body work but the results are always worth the elbow grease when you hear the engine and roar and see the paint shine on a car that was built decades ago.

6. Car Designer

A car designer is really an artist in the automotive field. Automotive designers have to mix artistic design with technical knowhow and the essential requirements from manufacturers. Car design is a balancing act between functionality, aesthetics, affordability, and luxury that can be stressful for many designers, but the outcome is a well-rounded vehicle that consumers actually want to drive. This career requires a great deal of knowledge in design, computer science and mechanics.

5. Formula One Team Technical Director

Formula One racing is the highest class of single-seat auto racing sanctioned by the FIA. The Formula One season consists of a series of races called the Grands Prix held throughout the world on purpose-build F1 circuits and public roads. The technical director of a Formula One team is in charge of all technical aspects of the car and the entire team. Formula One Team Technical Directors are also responsible for helping design the most advanced automobiles that could win the Grand Prix. If it sounds like the crème de la crème of mechanical careers, that’s because it is.

4. Luxury Car Engine Builder

The work of a car engine builder can be mostly tedious assembly line work that is loud, fast paced, and grueling. For many luxury car factories, however, the engine building is cleaner, and slower paced than the more mainstream carmakers. Luxury car factories focus on hiring world class engineers, designers, and mechanics to create these supercars. Luxury cars have a focus on quality over quantity as their designs are almost always more intricate and the cars themselves are more exclusive making it unnecessary to crank out millions like the more common models by other carmakers. However, some German luxury vehicles are creating more models now than ever before.   

3. Race Car Driver

For most gearheads, the biggest appeal of the car is driving it. Race car drivers get paid to push their cars to the limit and win races. For the adrenaline junkies becoming a race car driver is the most sensible solution. It makes so much more sense for them to be behind the wheel than working on them. Race car drivers can drive for Formula One, NASCAR, IndyCar, or the FIA World Endurance Championship where the cars are top of the line and go about 200 miles per hour. Race car drivers do get the thrill, the money, and the fame, but they also endure the stress, training, and life-threatening risks.

2. Stunt Car Driver

Speaking of life threatening risks, no one understands this quite like the stunt car driver. Stunt car driving is basically taking a car to the extreme side of losing control, but being in control of it. It is really just a job in controlling chaos. Stunt car drivers do jumps, drifting, car chases, intricate driving, and controlled crashes. Most us even tremble at the thought of pulling stunts like this, but that’s just another day in the office for a stunt car driver. They work for television, commercials, and movies and make a generous living doing the stupid things we wanted to do as kids.

1. Test Driver

Another dream job for any gearhead or car enthusiast. Imagine what it would be like if you got paid to test drive some of the world’s newest automobiles. Test drivers drive cars from Subarus to Ferraris and everything in between. Their day to day tasks include testing out the limits of the car they are testing. They report on how smooth the ride was, how easy it was to put on the seatbelt, and how fast the car went from zero to sixty. Test drivers are car enthusiasts that have skills in design and mechanics. While it might be difficult to get a job as a test driver, it most definitely feels like heaven when you get there.

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For gearheads that are sick of reading about cars, watching them on television, drooling over them in movies, and wishing there was some way to get within photo distance of a Lamborghini, there are a few great jobs that allow car enthusiasts to translate that passion into a career. Whether it means spreading automotive knowledge, working in race car culture, bringing classic cars back to life, working on engines, designing the next supercar, or driving cars in a variety of different capacities, there are jobs out there that can only be done by a gearhead.