NASCAR: RCR signs spygate engineer Mike Coughlan

Britain’s Mike Coughlan is bouncing back to NASCAR after a stint back in Formula One with Williams F1. Coughlan has been named Technical Director, effective immediately, at Richard Childress Racing.

Coughlan is known as a character in Spygate. Then chief vehicle designer at McLaren Mercedes, he had been named for illegally obtaining Ferrari engineering documents from Nigel Stepney. Although there were no criminal proceedings against him, he was involved in civil litigation.

Then, after leaving Formula One, Coughlan settled in the United States and worked on military vehicles called the Ocelot. Steve Hallem, a former McLaren executive, hired Coughlan to work for NASCAR’s Michael Waltrip Racing as chief of vehicle design in late 2010.

Mike Coughlan

Mike Coughlan (Photo: Williams F1 Team)

When Coughlan went back to his native England, in 2011, to work for the Williams F1 team in 2011, he was then sued by MWR for breach of contract for the sudden move back to Formula One.

This summer the engineer suddenly left Williams.

According to the team “the addition of Coughlan greatly adds depth to the RCR competition organization. That area will now be managed with two major approaches and perspectives: race operations and engineering. Mark McArdle, who joined RCR full-time in August 2013, will continue in his role as Director of Race Operations, with Coughlan now serving as Technical Director. Both will report to Dr. Eric Warren, RCR’s Director of Competition.

Their combined depth of experience and established leadership with championship winning teams, in multiple forms of racing, provides even more strength to RCR’s culture of rapid performance development and efficient execution at the track.

“I have known Mike Coughlan for many years and have a tremendous amount of respect for both his personal skills as an engineer and as a leader of people,” Dr. Warren said.

“He is a tremendous talent and has a rare combination of experience in leading teams and development programs in Formula 1, along with prior experience and exposure to NASCAR. To be successful in any form of racing, you have to push hard to find performance gains and his experience will strengthen RCR with regards to our competition.”

Coughlan is looking forward to applying his combined experience, success and knowledge with his new role.

“This is a great opportunity for me to become involved with a team like Richard Childress Racing,” Coughlan said. “This is one of the great teams in NASCAR and their commitment to winning is second-to-none.

“I feel with the increased technical focus of the Sprint Cup Series and the direction that the sport is moving, it makes a perfect fit for me. I look forward to helping Eric Warren, and the rest of the team, in bringing more success to the organization through the next few years.”

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