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UCD student fast-tracks career with Ferrari

A UCD student has gone into top gear after being selected by Italian sports car giant Ferrari to join its engine development team.

Dubliner Ian Whelan (24) said that it was the "opportunity of a lifetime" to be plucked by thousands of applicants worldwide by the motoring company.

Ian, from Sandyford, is studying a PhD in Mechanical Engineering in UCD and will spend six months testing Ferrari engines in Italy.

"I got an email about this opportunity from the college and decided to apply," he said. "There were a number of maths tests, science tests and vigorous English tests. I got an email back from them to say that they would be interested in talking to me, they were quite impressed with my test results."

Ian went through several online video conference interviews, before being flown out to the Ferrari Headquarters in Maranello, Italy, along with 16 other hopefuls. Then he was approached by a representative of Ferrari and asked if he wanted to take up the offer.

"At the end of the weekend he said he would offer me the opportunity of the six-month internship," he said.

"Since then, it hasn't really sunk in. It's kind of surreal. It's the opportunity of a lifetime."

Ian completed his BE Mechanical Engineering (1st class honours) at University College Dublin, and his MSc Racing Engine Design (1st class honours) at Oxford Brookes University.

And he will now focus on his PhD - 'A study of particulate matter emissions from gasoline direct injection engines' - and finish it while working at Ferrari, using the experience to develop his ideas.