Brighton Magazine

The Brighton Magazine

Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Sussex Student Gets Gold For Organising Vettel Tour

A Sussex-based undergraduate from the University of Bath's Department of Mechanical Engineering has become the first placement student to win a Nissan Gold Award for her work organising a successful event for the company involving F1 champion Sebastian Vettel.



Gemma Hatton, 22 from Sussex, is a long-time fan of motorsport, and always saw her future working as a race engineer. 

She was undertaking a 'year in industry' as part of her degree programme when she was approached by the Global Technical Director of Nissan Motorsport, Jerry Hardcastle, and tasked with a very specific role.

Gemma said: "I was asked to meet with Sebastian Vettel's PR Team because he was visiting the Nissan European Technical Centre (NTCE) and I was tasked with organising the whole thing!"

Sebastian Vettel is F1's youngest Grand Prix winner, youngest triple World Champion, and now one of only three drivers in F1 history to claim four championships in succession.


Vettel is also the Director of Performance for US car company Infiniti, where he plays a vital role in developing the performance of their vehicles.

Gemma added: "This year Vettel's focus for Infiniti was on the Q30 that was revealed at this year"s Frankfurt Motorshow. 

"As Infiniti progress into the European market, the Q30 will be built at the Nissan Manufacturing plant in Sunderland, with NTCE conducting further R&D work – the first collaboration between the two automotive giants.

"Essentially, I was given the job of not only showing Sebastian what NTCE had to offer, but also making it as interactive and interesting as possible because the whole visit was being filmed."

Gemma's passion for motorsport has led her to take on a number of jobs in the sector, including writing for Racecar Engineering magazine and monitoring track data for JRM during the Spa 24 Hour and Silverstone three hour races. 

She was therefore thrilled to be given the opportunity to meet Vettel, even though it meant taking on a completely new challenge.

Gemma cotinued: "Organising the tour was huge - it took a month of full time work to plan every detail. 

"I organised a full range of tests using climatic chambers and chassis dynos, which gave the camera crew plenty of opportunity to get great footage of Vettel in the cars.

"With the visit timed to the minute, it was a logistical challenge to say the least – especially as I was in charge of every detail; from importing Infiniti cars from all over Europe for background shots, to ensuring health and safety regulations were met while maintaining the confidentiality of the new Qashqai. 


"I spent weeks chairing meetings with senior management from all departments and was then asked to present to the European Board of Directors.

"Through my work I am used to analysing car performances on the track and road, going through data with drivers, briefing them and helping in the pit lane. 

"This role at Nissan put me in front of global directors of both Nissan and Infiniti, and I was the only one who knew all of the details - it was a big responsibility!"

The Nissan board of directors was so impressed by Gemma's effort that they took an unprecedented step and awarded her a coveted Nissan Gold Award, usually only presented to company staff, and for extremely high levels of attainment.

Gemma said: "I was really shocked and absolutely thrilled that the directors were so pleased with my work. 

"I really enjoyed the project, and working with Nissan has opened so many doors and created so many great contacts for me in motorsport. 

"Meeting Vettel was fantastic, all I'd really wanted was a photo and a signed hat for my little brother - the Gold Award was the icing on the cake!"

Gemma is now back at Bath and completing her final year of study, during which she is contributing to the University's 'Formula Student' team and continuing to write for Racecar Engineering Magazine. 



by: Mike Cobley

Related links

Sebastian Vettel

Share    


Caroline Lucas joined hundreds of bighearted revellers for music, poetry, food and dancing in the Space For All Festival at the revamped Rose Hill Tavern. The event marked the launch of Brighton Migrant Solidarity's Thousand 4 £1000 project.
Photo By Miles Davies

Something protean is stirring inside Brighton Little Theatre's jewel-box of a theatre…

In Mexico Morrissey has always been more than just a musician. His songs of love, loss and longing, with powerful imagery and metaphors have found a huge audience and chimed with generations raised on rancheras and mariachis and their singers who were not afraid to cross the line.

Dave Wakeling – the  songwriter  and  lead-singer  of  The  Beat - returns to Brighton this September where he will be showcasing new material due for release in 2017. 

English post-punk/hip hop duo Sleaford Mods will be in Brighton later this year in support of their third album, Key Markets. 

The final countdown has begun. With a few weeks to go until Together The People returns to Preston Park, let's take a look at the wide range of entertainment the festival has to offer.

Feature film One More Time With Feeling will screen in cinemas for one night only on 8th September, launching the new Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds album Skeleton Tree.

Brian Wilson will be joined by former Beach Boys band mate Al Jardine and their band at this summer's Together The People Festival in Brighton to perform a UK Festival Exclusive of the classic album Pet Sounds in full. 

Stewart Lee has, over the last five years, set his sights on unravelling the mysteries of modern Britain via a series of irregular newspaper columns.

It's the ultimate rock 'n' roll road trip. In 2016, on the 90th anniversary of the opening of America's 'Mother Road', Brightonians Suzanne Rolfe and Melita Dennett spent five weeks travelling the dirt roads and gravel byways of Route 66.


Hazel Rochez's mother, Thelma Jenkinson, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in  2001 and died in 2003. 

Tucked away amongst the wild hillside pines of North Wales, sits an old weather beaten, rust eaten showman's wagon, gently swaying and creaking with the warm, low hum of sweet dreams and two four blues. 

Six years used to be a lifetime in rock 'n' roll. Kids driven by the urgency of youth form bonds, plug in, play gigs, find a label. acclaim, exhaustion, over and out. 

After two years spent on the road, self managed and unsigned playing shows across the country and winning fans in all corners, this year saw the release of Swim, Fickle Friendsfirst official single after signing to Polydor.

Archive search

Search our archives for what's on and gone for the best of this city's theatre music comedy news and much more...







Organising a conference or event in Brighton?
See our Brighton Conference section.
Brighton web design by ...ntd