A new motorsport scholarship at Cranfield University is set to continue the global legacy of Tyler Alexander, one of the founding fathers of the McLaren team.
The Tyler James Alexander Scholarship will offer an exceptional student, from any background, access to Cranfield’s world-leading Advanced Motorsport Engineering MSc. The successful applicant will also benefit from internships at UK and US motorsport racing teams and mentoring from leading professionals in the industry. Cranfield’s first Tyler James Alexander scholarship will be available for the 2024/25 academic year.
Alexander (1940-2016) helped to establish the McLaren F1 team in 1963, alongside Teddy Mayer and Bruce McLaren. He went on to have an extraordinary career as a motorsport engineer, leading McLaren to its Indy 500 victories in 1974 and 1976, and the McLaren Can-Am team which dominated the Series from 1967 to 1972.
Alexander was hugely influential in building the success of McLaren across many decades and his partner Jane Nottage has established the scholarship as a legacy to the remarkable impact that he had on the motorsport industry.
“Tyler was an extraordinary man, not just for his many professional successes in motor sport, but also as a mentor, guiding many of the leading lights in F1 as they built their careers,” said Nottage. “Men such as Ross Brawn, Pat Fry, Paddy Lowe, and Adrian Newey, who all, at some time in their professional lives, worked with Tyler, and who are all the change makers and innovators of their time.
“When I discovered the 50 years of Formula One engineering history that Tyler left when he died, I knew his legacy should live on in helping others to embrace their hopes and dreams, to be the change makers of future generations.”
To celebrate his career and the scholarship in his name, the Tyler James Alexander Annual Lecture took place for the first time at Cranfield University on 11 December.
The inaugural lecture was delivered by Tim Mayer, President of US Race Management and Chairman of the Formula One Stewards for the FIA, who gave a rare opportunity for insight into how rules are created for various championships and how they work in practice. Tim is the son of former team principal of McLaren Teddy Mayer, and began working in motorsport in the early 1990s.
“Tyler was a part of our family, and an inspiration to me as I started my career,” said Mayer. “I am honoured to play a small part in remembering his legacy. Tyler came from a small town in the US and was always at the forefront of racing technology through five decades. It would please him enormously that the scholarship is focused on giving deserving candidates the opportunity to work at the forefront of the industry.”
Mayer organised IndyCar races internationally from 1992-98, aided the construction of several circuits, and produced international TV for multiple series. In 1998 he became CART’s Senior VP for Racing Operations then in 2003 became COO of IMSA, operating multiple series at all levels, including the American Le Mans Series.
In 2009 he left IMSA, working independently for several US series and focusing on coordinating US motorsports with the FIA. He was elected an Independent Director of ACCUS and US FIA Delegate, responsible for World Championship events in the US. He Stewards the FIA’s F1, WEC and World RX championships as well as teaching and working on multiple commissions.
“The passion that Tyler had for motorsport and the enormous influence he had on the industry made him one of the legends of racing,” said Professor of Automotive Engineering, James Brighton. “It is an honour for us to continue his legacy with this exceptional scholarship, which will open up a career in motorsport for the next generation of engineers.”