Leena Gade made history by becoming the first female race engineer to win the Le Mans 24-hour endurance race. Since then she has gone on to win another two Le Mans, including in 2012 with an innovative hybrid vehicle. Leena currently works for Bentley.
Leena was named the World Endurance Championship’s Man of the Year in December 2012, and also the C&R Racing Woman in Technology Award in the same month – C&R being a foundation established by former racing driver Lyn St. James.
The 37-year-old, from South Harrow, London, was born in the UK and spent some of her childhood in India. Having been interested in engineering from childhood, she studied automotive and aerospace engineering at university.
She began her career in motorsports by taking a job with Jaguar as a part-time mechanist and data analyst. She then joined the Audi race team in 2007, and was quickly promoted to race engineer.
Leena said: “People can come out of motorsport courses or engineering degrees with all the theory in hand, but when they come to apply it in practice the working world can be so very different. Formula Student doesn’t just give you the work ethic, it gives you the practical knowledge of what goes where and what type of spanner to use. It sounds odd but you don’t always get that with a degree. Formula Student is definitely a big stepping stone and it’s worthwhile doing it."