Picture the scene inside Jaguar Land Rover's performance division, and you imagine a lot of men gathered in a perimeter shed around a V-8 on a test bench, goading each other in the manner of ex-"Top Gear" host Jeremy Clarkson to extract more power.
The vehicles so far to emerge from JLR's 2-year-old equivalent of Mercedes-Benz's AMG or BMW’s M division are mostly V-8-powered, but it's not all men creating them. Far from it. Several key executives overseeing the work of the Special Vehicle Operations division are women. And the sparkling, multifunctional headquarters is a long way from the image of a grimy mechanic's shop
However macho the vehicles, the female mix helps in creating them, says SVO's vehicle line director, Michelle Mortiboys.
"Succeeding as a female engineer in a male-dominated environment means you're clearly quite pushy and you've got something about you," she tells Automotive News Europe's sibling publication Automotive News. "You want that in SVO. You want that drive to be better."
Mortiboys joined the company as an apprentice in 1989 and spent most of her career there as an electrical engineer. She says she has worked on every model JLR has produced in that time, except for the XJ limo. She won an internal award for her development of stop-start technology.