Former Fen pupil’s McLaren supercar work leads to national award

Former Wisbech Grammar School pupil Joanna Rowe (pictured) who manages the day-to-day production of McLaren supercar engines 

Former Wisbech Grammar School pupil Joanna Rowe (pictured) who manages the day-to-day production of McLaren supercar engines has been named as one of Autocar’s ‘Great Women: Rising Stars 2021’. - Credit: Ricardo PLC/WikiMediaCC 

A former Fenland student who manages a team of 50 people building 100 supercar engines per week for McLaren has received a national award.  

Wisbech Grammar School alumni Joanna Rowe has been named as one of Autocar’s ‘Great Women: Rising Stars 2021’ after her career launched in 2010.  

Starting off at Jaguar Land Rover, Joanna, known as Jo, has worked her way up the ranks at West Sussex-based automotive engineering firm Ricardo.  

She left Wisbech Grammar School in 2004 with four A-levels and nine GCSEs, A* to A in Physics, Art and Design Textiles and Resistant Materials Technology.  

Jo Rowe left Wisbech Grammar School in 2004.

Jo Rowe left Wisbech Grammar School in 2004. - Credit: Ricardo PLC

Since joining Ricardo five years ago, Jo has played the lead role in introducing the brand new engine launched in the McLaren Artura supercar.  


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Dave Shemmans, chief executive officer of Ricardo plc, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Jo has been recognised as one of the Autocar Great Women: Rising Stars for 2021.  

“The recognition is very well deserved and is a testament to the industry-leading manufacturing expertise that Jo offers day in, day out to world-renowned Ricardo customers.  

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“Jo exemplifies the Ricardo core value of Respect which, with such a diverse global community, has always been an integral part of our company, and is at the heart of high performance teams and business, enabling us to celebrate differences.  

“We have a special business, a special team and a special family around the world, and my objective is for Ricardo to lead the way as a ‘good good’ employer as well as through technology and innovation.”  

Jo said: “I am honoured to have been named in the Autocar Great Women: Rising Stars.  

The new McLaren Artura is a hybrid supercar.

The new McLaren Artura is a hybrid supercar. - Credit: WikiMedia CC

“I’m passionate about my work and driven by the desire to be better, so for me, enabling an environment and culture where a team can truly achieve operational excellence is a key career goal. 

“I’d also really like to make a visible impact with my career.  

“Since day one, when I was presented with a director panel, I wanted to see someone like me among them.  

“Diversity in our sector has increased since then, but there’s still work to do. I’d be proud if a future young engineer saw me on that panel and were to be inspired by my achievements.” 

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