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Thatcham Xtrac engineer receives 2024 Louis Schwitzer Award





A long-serving principal design engineer at Xtrac has received the 2024 Louis Schwitzer Award.

Andrew McDougall was presented the award during a Louis Schwitzer Award Banquet at the Dallara Factory in Speedway, Indiana, on May 18 by the Indiana Section of SAE International and award sponsors, Cummins and Valvoline Global.

Andrew McDougall presented his $10,000 prize for innovating Xtrac’s P1399 Electric Servo Actuator (ESA) new gearchange system for sequential shift transmissions
Andrew McDougall presented his $10,000 prize for innovating Xtrac’s P1399 Electric Servo Actuator (ESA) new gearchange system for sequential shift transmissions

Mr McDougall also received a $10,000 prize in recognition of his gearbox electric servo actuator, which has since been adopted as part of Xtrac’s single source transmission supply for the NTT Indycar Series, including the famous annual Indianapolis 500 race.

Mr McDougall is described as a critical team member at the Thatcham-based mechanical engineering specialist, where he has worked for more than 20 years out of its Indianapolis facility.

The Louis Schwitzer Award
The Louis Schwitzer Award

Speaking about his achievement, he said: “This award is a testament to the exceptional work of our engineering team, a group of dedicated professionals who have shared this journey with me.”

Mr McDougall was also presented with a plaque, which will be added to a trophy at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Xtrac's Andrew McDougall receives Louis Schwitzer Award
Xtrac's Andrew McDougall receives Louis Schwitzer Award

He continued: “I was particularly proud to accept the award on behalf of our senior R&D systems engineer Geoff Cholmeley, design engineer Geri Nicosia and senior software engineer Rose Panikulam, whose collaborative contributions were instrumental in developing the electric servo actuator and taking the concept into production.”

His expertise has been instrumental in designing and managing complete transmission systems and sub-assemblies.

“This level of expertise is mirrored in the team, with each member bringing their unique knowledge to the project,” added chief executive, Adrian Moore.

“I’d also like to pay tribute to all of the hard-working production team at Xtrac who manufacture all of the individual parts of the ESA in the UK before the final assembly, which is carried out in the USA.

“Without the quality of their work on this programme, it simply would not have been possible to supply the whole Indycar grid with this technology.”

Senior software engineer Rose Panikulam, design engineer Geri Nicosia and senior R&D systems engineer Geoff Cholmeley, whose collaborative contributions were instrumental in taking the concept into production
Senior software engineer Rose Panikulam, design engineer Geri Nicosia and senior R&D systems engineer Geoff Cholmeley, whose collaborative contributions were instrumental in taking the concept into production

Steve Holman, who chairs the Louis Schwitzer Award Committee, said: “This award is a prestigious automotive engineering accolade celebrating and recognising groundbreaking innovations that push the boundaries of advanced automotive technology.

“Named after Louis Schwitzer, an accomplished engineer and race car driver, this award has a rich history of honouring individuals and teams behind the innovative concepts introduced to the motorsport industry.

“This year's award recognises McDougall’s exceptional work and team leadership, and underscores the significant role of Xtrac in advancing the motorsport industry.”



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