The former student of SZE helps the champions born for the asphalt as a racing engineer

As a child, he built vehicles with Lego bricks and later a real racing car. Before becoming a professional racing engineer, Máté Gyenis was a founding member of the student team of Széchenyi István University's Formula Student racing series. He worked with Nick Catsburg, the Dutch touring car racer, helped the Austrian Nico Gruber on his way to the junior championship and also supported Norbert Michelisz's M1RA team. He is an internationally renowned key figure in the motorsport backstage and proud to have achieved all his success starting from Széchenyi University.


Máté Gyenis is one of the young professionals who chose Széchenyi István University because of his love for vehicles. "As a little kid I just couldn't put down my Matchbox cars, later I took up building with Lego bricks, and I even built a car out of the pirate boat set.  I had already been attending Avasi High School in Miskolc when I applied to the Hungarian National Automobile Sports Association's sports referee training course to get closer to motor racing. I also qualified as a car mechanic and car technician, did some sweeping and worked in workshops, and even built my own racing car from an ordinary car, but I knew that I needed a higher level of education to achieve my dreams," Máté Gyenis began his story.

Kép1.jpgMáté Gyenis, a racing engineer and former student of Széchenyi University, listens to Norbert Michelisz (right), World Touring Car Championship winner. (Photo: M1RA Motorsport)

He said that in the early 2010s several news reported about the SZEngine engine development team and the institution's projects related to the Formula Student racing series at the University of Győr, which attracted his interest. He applied, got accepted and immediately joined the student team.

"After two years as a member of SZEngine, we formed the Arrabona Racing Team, a racing car development team, under the coordination of the Vehicle Development Department, of which I became the first technical design manager. My years at Széchenyi University were defining for me in many ways. I had the opportunity to learn from excellent teachers and professors and to gain practical experience in the student teams that others can only achieve working for years after graduation. My involvement in Formula Student also brought my first job after having been introduced to the B3 Racing touring car team at a race," he recalled the memory of starting his career.

Before making another life-changing decision of turning his status from employee to a freelancer, Máté Gyenis was employed by an Austrian team. "It's a difficult decision, because although you can manage your own time, you also need to deal with a large number of uncertainties, such as whether you will have a suitable job tomorrow or not," he said. However, the young professional had confidence in himself, and since then he has become a well-known and sought-after professional in the world of motorsport. "In 2017-18, I worked as a design and race engineer for M1RA, the racing team of Norbert Michelisz. I also worked for Hyundai Motorsport and German Engstler, where I helped  Nico Grubert from Austria gain the junior championship title and several race wins among the adults. At Team Engstler, I was also the race engineer for Nick Catsburg, the Netherlands, in the WTCR World Touring Car Championship," he said listing some of the milestones in his career.

Kép2.jpgOften it is one-tenth of a second 'found' by the race engineer that decides between the drivers (Photo: M1RA Motorsport)

He highlighted that working with a professional driver of Catsburg's calibre is both a special experience and a huge challenge, because in their case it is not seconds, but tenths of a second that must be found on the track compared to the fastest driver.  He also stressed that of all the Hyundai drivers that season, Nicky was the only one who managed to win a race, on top of all at the SlovakiaRing, which he considers one of the biggest successes of his engineering career. He is particularly fond of this achievement because three of his mechanics were also Hungarian.

Máté Gyenis underlined that it is important for anyone who chooses a path like his to strive to perform as a race engineer in a way that will make him known in the profession. He was not chosen by most teams because of his CV, but because he was known from his previous races. In his experience, someone who has already proven himself may receive a job offer from the most unexpected places. Considering the season of 2024, he has been negotiating with three or four teams, but the most important thing for him is to be challenged in a way that inspires him. "The car itself is just a car. From the driver through the engineer to the mechanic, it is the team's job io make it the fastest wheels," he admits.

Kép3.jpgMáté Gyenis' success proves that racing is not an individual but a team sport (Photo: M1RA Motorsport)

By his own example, the young professional believes that Széchenyi István University is an excellent professional workshop where young people like him can get a strong foundation to make their dreams come true on the tarmac or on the track.

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