High-performance mechanics work on custom engines that have been designed for maximum power output. Qualified high-performance mechanics can work in repair shops that target automotive enthusiasts. They may also work as part of a race team in Formula 1, NASCAR or other racing leagues. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies high-performance mechanics under the broader category of automotive service technicians and mechanics. Salaries vary by experience and employer, among other factors.
Employment and Wage Estimates
High-performance mechanics can expect better-than-average compensation, especially those who hold an automotive engineering degree. The bureau reported that automotive service technicians and mechanics held about 587,510 jobs in May 2010. The reported earnings for this profession were $18.36 an hour, or $38,200 a year, in 2010.
The bureau reported that automotive service technicians and mechanics earned a median hourly wage of $17.21 in 2010. Mechanics in the bottom 10th percentile earned a reported hourly wage of $9.71 or less, and those in the bottom 25th percentile earned an hourly wage of $12.65 or less. The top 25 percent earned an hourly wage of $22.73 or more, while the top 10 percent earned $28.65 an hour or more.
The bureau reported that the median salary for automotive service technicians and mechanics in 2010 was $35,790. The lowest-paid 10 percent earned a reported annual wage of $20,200 or less, while the lowest-paid 25 percent earned an annual wage of $26,320 or less. The highest-paid 25 percent of mechanics earned $47,280 or more, while the top-paid 10 percent earned $59,590 or more. High-performance mechanics specialize in more sophisticated engines, so they can expect salaries on the higher end of this range.
The earnings for a high-performance mechanic vary depending on the geographical location of employment. For example, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Alaska is the top-paying state for this occupation, with an hourly mean wage of $24.94 and annual mean wage of $51,870, as of 2010. West Virginia is reported to be one of the lowest-paying states for this occupation, with an estimated hourly wage of $13.13 and annual mean wage of $27,320.