top of page

Our teammate who went from being our chief engineer to one of Audi's development managers - the story of Dániel Dén

Many articles have appeared on our site before, where you could read the success stories of former members of BME Motorsport. Whether it's the story of Zsombor Papp's move to Rimac, or Gábor Mándi's journey to Hyundai. In this article, we would like to add to this illustrious list of names with the story of Dáneil Dén's years in Motorsport and his move to Audi!

Could you please introduce yourself briefly?

Hi, I am Dani Dén, a 25-year-old automotive engineer born in Nagykanizsa. I was a student at the Faculty of Transport and Vehicle Engineering of the BME, where I completed both my basic and master's degree in vehicle engineering. During my university years I was a member of a Formula Student team from the very beginning.

Can you tell us a bit about your years at BME Motorsport?

I spent a total of 4 years with BME Motorsport. My first Formula thou Student season was as an FRT team member. After that I got the opportunity to join a new team with a clean slate and exciting challenges. As well as being a huge challenge, I saw a huge opportunity in the project, I felt I could develop more here professionally, implement my own ideas more easily and be more successful with a system that we were building completely from scratch ourselves. Fortunately, this turned out to be the case, and I still consider it one of the best decisions of my life. Nothing shows this better than the fact that in the 4 years with BME motorsport we have become the fastest growing internal combustion Formula Student team in Europe, and I am incredibly grateful to have been part of it all.

But back to the beginning. In my first season I was immediately given a lot to do, as there were very few of us, so it took a superhuman effort to achieve our dream. My main job was to design the pneumatic shift system, but I was also involved in a lot of workshop work, I was at all the tests and even got to be a pilot. Despite the initial difficulties, in our first season we were able to participate in 3 international races, which is a huge achievement for a newly formed team.

But the second season was quite difficult. With the redesign of the entire drivetrain, we seemed to have hit a wall and the difficulties of the COVID only added to our difficulties. Even though we couldn't finish building the car until the beginning of the following season, I can still say that we had a successful season. We gained a lot of useful new members, we built a strong team, and I was able to try my hand at a head of department, as I was in charge of the vehicle dynamics and chassis teams. My connection with vehicle dynamics and chassis designs also started here, and my undergraduate thesis was on the kinematic design of our new chassis.

We started our third season with a completely new organizational structure. Not only did the team captain change, but I also found myself in the privileged position of being the chief engineer in charge of the development of the entire race car. Fortunately, the management team and I were able to assess our capabilities and identify previous problems, and by correcting the faults in the drivetrain, the team successfully completed its first endurance race in the Czech Republic.

And then came my fourth and final season. I don't know how to put into words what we achieved with the team that year. Already in the previous 2021 season, I realized that if I wanted to make a lasting impression, I had to take a big risk. I set myself the goal of re-designing the car at the very basic level, a so-called "white sheet of paper" project, which would result in a car built according to completely different guidelines, with a completely different philosophy in both design and execution. This is where I saw the key to success and fortunately time has proved my ideas right. First, I had to gather around me the people who could make this vision a reality. I expected superhuman performance from everyone and was proud to see that everyone rose to the challenge. This laid the foundation for the successes we were ultimately able to achieve together this season. With the new design principles in mind, we were able to roll out onto the Formula Student 2022 grid with a car that was finally ready to take the fight for wins. We have even beaten teams with decades of experience. We achieved results that I could never have dreamed of, we scored a lot of podiums; first place in the Engineering Design race, beating Rennteam (a highly acclaimed team from a German university) We even managed to get a first place in the efficiency competition, measuring fuel consumption, with a 4-cylinder engine.

So, I finished my career at BME Motorsport with a more than memorable and outstanding season. I have experienced things during these years that I could never have imagined even in my wildest dreams. To see a team go all the way from its inception to fighting for podiums has been a journey that I am infinitely grateful to have been a part of.

But that was the end of my university and motorsport years. It was time to focus all my energy on my work and the next steps in my career!

How did you get the opportunity from Audi and did Motorsport lead you straight there?

By the end of my last season, I was working full time for AVL Hungary as a Transmission Design Engineer. I loved my job, especially the team of design engineers there. But after I finished Formula Student, I felt that I needed a change in my life. I needed to look for new challenges to stay motivated in my work.

My first journey was into the world of professional motorsport, I tried with a lot of teams, I took part in endless interviews, but unfortunately things always turned out that I wasn't the right person for the position. After half a year of searching, I decided to look around the Hungarian job market and found an interesting opportunity at Audi Hungaria. At the beginning of 2023, the company started to build up their chassis development department, and they were looking for motivated development engineers with experience and expertise in this field. I was very excited about this opportunity, as I had always wanted to work in this field within the automotive engineering profession, so I applied. From there things accelerated. Within a couple of weeks, I had my interview with the German manager and received my offer. Fortunately, they offered terms that I couldn't refuse, so I decided to change, even though the job was in Győr, and I still live in Budapest.

Can you briefly tell us in basic terms what exactly you do at the German company?

I am currently working as a parts supervisor in chassis development. So, my current work is in the area of wheel and tire development. My job is to manage the entire development process for a component (in this case cast or forged rims). Starting with the designer making the first pencil drawings on the drawing board, right up to fitting the rims on production cars. My tasks include liaising with nominated suppliers, managing various approval processes, managing, evaluating, and checking simulations, drawings, 3D models, as well as examining and processing the results of physical tests. As you can see, these tasks are more of a project management nature, which offers a great challenge and development opportunity in my communication and process improvement skills. Another new task is to learn German language and work culture, as I have had to work entirely in English so far. What hurts my heart is the lack of effective engineering design tasks, but I see the potential for this to change in the future as the department becomes more fully developed.

How much and how can you build on the knowledge you gained at BME Motorsport in your current job?

Of course, the knowledge and experience I have gained with the team is a great help in my daily work. In particular, the project management skills I have accumulated in my role as chief engineer are useful, I can often see parallels between my previous and current tasks. I can draw on my previous experience in problematic situations, which gives me confidence. Also, an analogy can be made between the newly established department and the early BME Motorsport seasons. In both cases, I can be involved in building a core knowledge base and development process system, which is both exciting and can provide useful insights to the work of the department.

What do you think the future holds for you in terms of work?

What the future holds is impossible to predict. I can only hope that one day I will have the opportunity to achieve my long-cherished dreams! I still have ambitious goals, but I also recognize that there are often obstacles in the way that are beyond our control. Luck is one such item, but I can suggest two things. For one, we should always concentrate on developing our own skills and secondly try building and nurturing our network of contacts. Both are essential for an effective job search. Fortunately, the BME Motorsport team and the world of Formula Student provide the perfect opportunity to do this.


bottom of page