Ever wondered what it might be like to be a test driver?
Have you ever wondered about the life of a test driver? Ever thought about how it might feel to get behind the wheel of a super-car, the routes and roads they take the vehicles on, or even the tests and methods they use to evaluate vehicle performance? We thought you might have, so we’ve interviewed our team to help you out.
A typical day in the life of a PT&A specialist driver
“My shifts with PT&A vary most of the time, but today I’m on the early shift so I am due in for 06:00. On my journey into the office I’m always excited to find out which car I am going to be driving for the day. My first task is to have a meeting with the shift manager. During the meeting we cover the risk assessment and I get to understand the testing requirements for my vehicle. Today I’ve been allocated a new luxury 4x4 SUV, and I'm going to be testing for any gear-box related issues and new head-unit software features."
“The journey for my 8 hour shift today is what we call the ‘country-route’, and will see me cover nearly 275 miles on some of the best roads that South Wales has to offer. Before I leave the premises with my vehicle I have to carry-out some core vehicle checks for safety and damage, including; checking the oil-level and temperature, water-level, inspecting the tyres (for condition and pressure) and recording any damage to the interior and exterior. I also ensure data-loggers are running and I enter the date, time and start mileage into the run sheet before I head off."
“It is 150 miles to the first stop, and the time passes-by quickly as I keep close attention to all aspects of the vehicle. As I drive it's my job to report any abnormal noises, vibrations, electronic faults or responses from the vehicle. If any occur I try to re-create these in an effort to understand what may have triggered these problems. Today I am concentrating on the gear-box as we are testing new software for this component, and so far it is working to specification. Before I know it, I'm at a local service station ready to take a short refreshment break and log that there have not been any faults."
“I spend the remainder of my shift finishing the allocated route and have noticed a few small issues during the last 100 miles. For example, whilst using the head-unit I had to repeatedly re-pair my phone with it in order to make or receive calls. I also observed increased wind noise from the a-pillar at motorway speeds that would not, in my experience, meet customer expectations. Whilst wind-noise was not a specific test request, I like to feedback as much as possible to help manufacturers develop the very best cars."
“My shift ends at 14:00, so I deliver the vehicle back to the PT&A premises with a full tank of petrol. I conduct a full inspection of the vehicle, complete my run-sheet with the finishing odometer mileage and run through my comments with the shift manager before leaving. As I leave, I can see another colleague had just started his shift and will undoubtedly be running the vehicle well into the evening!"
“Some people would regard driving all day as quite hard work, but if you love cars as much as I do and are passionate about making them even better, then being a test driver is really not hard work at all!."