top of page


Ping’s Interview" Connect the dots into a line,
Formula SAE to General Motors in the USA

Editers | Charming, Tang and Yi-Shan, Hsiao

Ping, who is currently coaching the Taiwan Cup Formula Student League, currently works as an engineer at GM, specializing in system integration and track simulation of sports cars.


During college, Ping participated in the school's formula racing team. At first, he worked on suspension. After more than a year, he was transferred to the frame and steering system. In the last year, he became the team leader of Vehicle Dynamic, integrating vehicle dynamic simulation and control systems. design.


When working at GM, Ping first served as a System Integration Engineer, specializing in the design of the Chevrolet Corvette's four-wheel drive system. He recalled that he was very excited at the time because it was the first time in seventy years that the Corvette had a four-wheel drive system, and it was a racing car. It’s a track car, so you can directly apply what you learned in the racing team.


Ping's current position is Performance System Integration Engineer, specializing in sports car system integration and track simulation. He is responsible for helping different departments optimize the design of the car through simulation in the early stage of development to ensure that it will not overheat on the track after driving the actual car. At the same time, because the company is also very concerned about lap times, it can use simulation to see whether a car's lap time meets the standards. If not, then go back and see how to adjust it.


While working at GM, Ping also worked in the Vehical Dynamic Simulation team to do dynamic simulations of the same Chevrolet Corvette, and then successively participated in the development of GMC, Hummer EV, and Cadillac Lyric four-wheel drive and rear-wheel steering.

How does it feel to be suddenly called to a large pickup truck for an interview in the middle of the vehicle inspection?


Ping said that at the FSAE competition in the United States, no matter which station it is, you can definitely see Ford, GM, and Tesla recruiting talents. When asked how he got the GM job opportunity, Ping recalled that during the 2017 Michigan Grand Prix, the team's mentor suddenly said to him: "Ping, there is an interview waiting for you. We will help you cover it first. Hurry up. Go!" The senior said that at the last stage of the mechanical inspection, he was nervously dismantling the steering system. After hearing these words, he had to put down the work at hand, hold the Design Review folder, and ran to the GM booth to a large pickup truck. He went to the interview. After the interview, the interviewer asked him for the Design Review document, hoping that he could send it to him after the competition so that he could show it to his colleagues. Later, I found out that the interviewer turned out to be the general manager of NAS Car at the time.


Subsequently, the senior student successfully passed the final round of interviews and entered the GM job. "Opportunities come to those who are prepared." This sentence is the most suitable to describe Ping's experience.


FSAE competition, a treasure trove of talents for car manufacturers


Ping shared that for car manufacturers, participating in Formula Racing not only means that you have relevant abilities compared to others, but participating in Formula Racing also shows that you can take care of your studies and the team, and know how to manage your own time.


In the United States, car manufacturers attach great importance to the FSAE competition. It is normal for companies such as Ford, Tesla, GM, Rivian, Lucid and other companies to directly recruit students at the competition site. They are enthusiastically recruiting students and send an average of more than 100 engineers to on-site support. For them, this competition is an important talent pool.


In terms of personal ability, people without Formula Racing experience are more likely to have problems with vehicle integration. For example, if a motor person does not have a concept of vehicle design, he may only want to do the motor part well and not know other aspects of it. What does it matter. At work, you can also find that there is a big difference between whether you have Formula Racing experience or not.


"Participating in Formula Racing means you can see the whole car, and you will have the concept of the whole car design when designing."


On the other hand, the fleet also indirectly screens out students who are really interested and passionate about vehicles. After Ping joined the team, he determined that this was the path he wanted to take in the future. He also found that car building was more interesting than imagined. Although it was more difficult than imagined, it was challenging. Moreover, car building was a direct application of what he learned in school, making Formula Racing a success. Becomes a great motivator to learn.


Maintain your current enthusiasm and seize opportunities to do things you are interested in


For the junior students who are still working hard to build cars in the team, Senior Ping’s biggest advice is"Invest your passion to study what you are interested in, and seize the opportunity to try your best.", because the textbook may only teach the most basic theories, but no one will teach you how to apply these theories to a car or how to design a car. Formula Racing is a good opportunity. Don’t be afraid of failure. Bring it with you. Your passion to try.


It is normal to encounter setbacks in the process of building a car. If you encounter them early, you can know how to solve them earlier. While you are still a student, you can know in advance what problems may occur. If you encounter similar problems at work in the future, even if It is not taught in textbooks, but because of my previous experience in building cars, I know how to solve problems, and at the same time, it can also cultivate my personal practical experience and ability. Therefore, don’t be afraid of encountering setbacks. It is a good thing to encounter setbacks, which means you are learning.


"Just like a team, a good team is that as long as one team encounters setbacks in design, everyone will try their best to cover them. After all, if they are missing, the team will not be able to move forward."No role in a team can be eliminated, and meeting a group of like-minded partners to participate in Formula Racing is a good memory for Ping.


The importance of teamwork and integration concepts is far greater than individual abilities


In addition to the teamwork ability mentioned above to help each other, Ping said that no matter what field you are in, you must learn the ability to integrate. After entering the workplace, taking a car factory as an example, if you don't have the ability to integrate, it will be too late until the actual car comes out and you can really see how it is integrated. Experience in Formula Racing can help you design withIntegration, vehicleDesign this car with your own ideas, and understand in advance which designs of the car will conflict, how different motor control systems will interact, whether it will affect the stability of the system, etc. Therefore, participating in Formula Racing is the best way to learn how to integrate the system. Best chance to get a car.

"The ability of the team and the ability to integrate are really much more important than individual ability."Before he finished speaking, Ping still emphasized it again and again.


In the past few years at GM, no matter good or bad, it has been the nutrient for growth.


Since joining GM, Ping has always maintained his passion for vehicles and has also grown in his work. Overall, Ping thinks working at GM in the United States is very good!


Advantage 1: Multiculturalism of multinational companies

There are many partners from all over the world in the team, and their ideas may be very different, so it is a good opportunity for cultural exchange and learning.


Advantage 2: Good salary and benefits

Ping works for GM in Michigan, USA. GM is the company with the highest market capitalization in Michigan, and its salary is relatively high for a large local company. GM believes that "people" are the company's most valuable assets, and is very willing to spend them. Resources are used to retain talents, so as long as your technical capabilities are recognized by the company's senior management, the company is also willing to pay you additional bonuses.


Advantage 3: Pay attention to employees’ health

In order to ensure the health of employees, GM will not only fully pay for employees' annual physical health examinations, but also remit USD $1,500 to employees' health accounts to cover the cost of purchasing medicines for employees.


Advantage 4: Flexibility in working hours

GM provides considerable flexibility in the working hours of non-American foreign employees who return to China. For example, Ping returned to Taiwan for more than a month to participate in the second FST competition last year. During this period, although there was a time difference of several hours, The company agrees that Ping can work from 4 pm in Taiwan time (equivalent to midnight in the United States) to 12 pm. As long as foreign employees can do their own things well when they return to work in their country, they don't have to work day and night to match the working hours in the United States.


Advantage 5: Don’t judge a person by his position

At GM, no matter you are an intern or whatever position you hold, you can refute other people's opinions or ask any questions to others. Everyone can bravely put forward their own opinions, and other colleagues will listen and answer carefully. They will not be based on seniority or experience. He is looked down upon because he is relatively small. What everyone cares most about is whether this person has ability.


Advantage 6: Respect each other’s professionalism

Colleagues from different departments will respect each other's professionalism and will not think too highly of themselves. They will also listen to and understand each other. In addition, everyone pays great attention to details at work and will not be careless.


Disadvantage 1: Fierce competition in the industry has led to longer average working hours in the automotive industry

Because competition among the auto industry is too fierce today, coupled with the rise of the transition to electric vehicles, the cultures of automakers are mutually contagious. In order to maintain a competitive advantage in the auto industry, GM has to increase employee working hours. In addition, one reason is that the automobile industry is changing rapidly and the product life cycle has been shortened a lot. In the 1990s, it would have taken about seven or eight years to develop a new car. Later, it was gradually shortened to four years. Now, it has been developed from scratch. A car only has two years left, because the market changes rapidly, and if it cannot keep up, it will become obsolete, resulting in an increase in working hours in the automobile industry.


Disadvantage 2: Large companies are slow to respond to the market

For example, when encountering the problem of chip shortage before, some small car manufacturers responded quickly and were able to immediately adjust the design to deal with the chip shortage problem. On the GM side, because the inventory is mainly controlled by suppliers, GM did not discover the shortage of chips until the last moment. It responded too slowly and had no corresponding countermeasures, and was unable to immediately solve the chip shortage crisis.


Find something you are good at, invest in it with passion, and you will be so passionate that you can’t stop!


"I just said that I would work overtime. It's just because I'm so passionate that I can't stop."Ping shared with us with a smile, because he thinks the process of building a car is very fun, and he has a strong interest in cars, racing cars, and sports cars, and he has always worked hard on things he is interested in. This is why Ping can maintain his enthusiasm. The biggest reason.


"Sometimes people say that hobbies cannot be used as a living, and if hobbies become work, they are no longer hobbies. This is true, but when you really encounter something that you are very interested in, you really can't stop." Ping The metaphor of going to work is like playing an e-sports game. Sometimes you will be very tired after working for 12 hours, but just like playing games for 12 hours, work brings you a very happy feeling and you will always think about it. Do it, want to invest, can't stop.


Ping and Corvette's executive chief engineer Tadge pose together in front of the 2020 MT North American Car of the Year championship trophy

Not limited to engineering, business management talents can also find a stage for development in the automobile industry!


1. Marketing

Even if the engineering of a car is good and the marketing is not good, the sales volume may not be very good. Therefore, marketing must cooperate with the engineering department to design a car, what kind of story to tell, and what kind of image to convey. , there must also be a certain good consensus.


2. Finance

The company's finances are responsible for controlling the flow of funds and ensuring the operating status of each department, because if the company keeps losing money, it is meaningless, and someone is bound to lose their job. Ping used the sports car department where he worked to illustrate the financial strategy. As long as the sports car department does not lose money, it will make a profit, because the sports car itself is a part of marketing and a product that is very important to increase the company's visibility. The sports car itself has already earned marketing, image and exposure, so As long as you don't lose money on costs, you will make money.


"So the marketing, finance, and engineering departments need to be closely coordinated."Ping For example, GM CEO Ms. Mary Teresa Barra first worked in GM’s engineering department and later moved to the marketing department, so she knows both the marketing and engineering fields well. From Ms. Mary Teresa Barra, we can understand how a person who understands engineering and marketing can launch products and bring GM from the edge of bankruptcy to a state of resurrection.


I hope that everyone, whether on the road to car building or career, can be like Ping, find what they are best at and full of interest in, devote all their energy and enthusiasm, and indulge in it happily and passionately.

bottom of page