University of Calgary

Schulich student up-and-coming racecar engineer

UToday HomeFebruary 13, 2013

By Shawn Madro and Jennifer Sowa

The Robertshaw Racing team. Front: Blair Robertshaw, Gary Maclean; middle: Jes Burnett, Shawn Madro, Myles Burnett; top: Jesse Moser, Milan Jankovic. Courtesy of Robertshaw RacingThe Robertshaw Racing team. Front: Blair Robertshaw, Gary Maclean; middle: Jes Burnett, Shawn Madro, Myles Burnett; top: Jesse Moser, Milan Jankovic. Courtesy of Robertshaw RacingFourth-year engineering student Shawn Madro got hooked on racecars when he was leading Schulich Racing, the Formula SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) student racecar team at the Schulich School of Engineering. Now, he’s making the leap into the world of professional racing. Madro has landed a job with Robertshaw Racing and he’s looking forward to honing his skills as part of a North American initiative to develop new racecar drivers from Western Canada.

Madro was first contacted by Robertshaw Racing in 2010 when the driver and team owner, Blair Robertshaw, was looking for assistance from the university team. Madro jumped at the opportunity and initially worked as a racecar technician.

“Much of my work drew upon the knowledge I gained from my engineering education and being involved in the Formula SAE program at the University of Calgary,” says Madro.

He quickly realized how much he could learn from experienced racers and looked for a way to contribute more fully to the team. The MOTEC onboard data acquisition system employed by Robertshaw Racing presented this opportunity. It’s an advanced system that records and plots driver inputs and vehicle behavior characteristics. The data is used to review driver and racecar on-track performance. It helps the team make modifications to the car and makes suggestions to the driver on how to improve performance on race day.

“I took on the task of learning the system and using it to analyze the performance of the car and driver,” explains Madro. “The highlight of my year was working as part of the pit crew at the Edmonton Indy.”

When Madro joined Robertshaw Racing in 2010, the team had established a championship pedigree competing in the F2000 class of open wheel and was looking to compete at the pro level in the Star Mazda series. In 2012, they got a taste of the pro level and raced at the IZOD Edmonton Indy Car GP, where they garnered 12th and 14th place finishes out of 23 registered competitors.

This year, the series is under new ownership and is now known as the Pro Mazda Championship. It’s a professional racing series that is part of the Mazda Road to Indy Program, which searches for and develops young racecar drivers. It’s common for young engineers such as Madro to eventually race in more prominent series such as the IZOD Indy Car series, Nascar, GP2 and F1.

Robertshaw racing is gearing up for another season: follow the team at www.robertshawracing.com.