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If it's not really about tuning or wiring. Then it belongs in here.
I'm a 20 year old in the uk and I want to go down the performance engineering route and I'm not how to get into it. I've been looking at University's but listening to the HPA podcasts everyone had some form of internship or connection in the industry. Does anyone have any advice on how to get into performance engineering.
Go to local level race meetings, talk with teams and offer to help, get some hands on experience and then work up from there. If you want to get into the engineering side, then having a degree in an automotive relevant area is almost a requirement now, especially if you want to make a career out of it. You could also do courses like the OptimumG 3 and 10 day seminars as these are recognised by a lot of motorsport related industries.
Your education level may also make a difference - if you're weak on, say, math', check out night-classes to catch up. Before I left the UK, I was taking "Engineering Science" for my Uppers (Scottish 7th form exams, IIRC), after an "O" level in something like "Applied Mechanics" - but that was nearly 50 years (oh, where have they gone...) ago, so modern standards may be quite different. You may find your local college or school also offers draughting classes using CAD, but even pencil on paper can be very useful for learning the basics of projections, dimensioning, etc.
As Steven said, just hanging around and helping when needed - there will always be times when a spare pair of hands are needed - paying attention and asking questions you've put thought into, etc, will get you noticed and when asked you can tell them of your interests. On that last, also give it some thought as there are a LOT of fields that make up the "performance" business - tuning, suspension, brakes, transmission are some of the basics.
I think HPA provides courses with enough info to not only get you started on your own projects, but be able to provide value to others including those racing, so I'd take some HPA courses in your areas of interest, then like the other folks said, see if you can help out local enthusiasts or racers. While what you end up doing may for them may not be exactly what you're hoping to do in the end, you'll learn along the way from doing. That experience combined with continued HPA course study, and building a project of your own if possible, are a great combination.