At the end of nextweek, the V8 Supercars will race for the first time in America for the Austin400 at the Circuit of the Americas (CoTA).
That means less than two weeks for 28 V8 Supercars to travel across Australia from the lastevent in Perth, back to their home workshops, to be prepped and turned aroundin time to be air freighted to the US.
The V8 Supercarswill be transported from Melbourne and Brisbane in two 747-400 Series FreighterAircrafts.
According to V8Supercars Operations Manager Stephen Robertson, the reality these days is transportingthe 28 vehicles and associated equipment isn’t that big an exercise.
“It’s actuallyquite easy because we’ve done it so many times,” Robertson said.
“We’ve beentravelling overseas for four or five years now, so the brunt of the logisticsis with Gibson Freight.”
The air freightsystem was developed six years ago by V8 Supercars to use for the internationalraces in Asia, the Middle East, New Zealand and this year to Austin, Texas.Gibson Freight handles all the equipment, as the company does for Formula Oneand MotoGP.
“The teamsthemselves play a small part in getting the equipment together – everycontainer has a maximum weight, so teams have to be quite particular with whatthey choose to take, as it has to be within weight limitations,” Robertsonsaid.
The cars andcontainers will be freighted to CoTA on Sunday (from Melbourne) and Monday(from Brisbane), arriving on Monday and Tuesday. Then 400-plus team personnelwill arrive between Monday and Wednesday.
For this event, thethree Walkinshaw Racing Holden Commodores will leave from Queensland, eventhough the team is Melbourne-based.
“Because there are more cars in Melbourne than Queensland and it hasto be balanced for the planes that carry them, every event (that requiresfreighting) one of the Melbourne teams travels to Queensland,” Robertsonexplained. “Two or three cars are enough to balance, and there’s a rotation.
“It may be a logistical issue for thoseguys (Walkinshaw Racing) – they get back from Perth and have to have thecars stripped down and ready, and the equipment ready and get it all up toBrisbane.”
With just under a fortnight between raceweekends, Robertson said most teams had two drivers bringing the trucks back fromWestern Australia so they arrived sooner.
“The trucks should be back from Pertharound Wednesday afternoon, so there’s Thursday to Saturday to strip, rebuildand turn the cars around and get the equipment ready to fly out.
“Fortunately most cars came out of Perthreasonably unscathed – we saw what happened with LDM (Lucas DumbrellMotorsport) going to New Zealand from Tasmania.”
A purpose-builtaircraft container has been developed to house support equipment for each car.This will not house spare engines (one per car), gear boxes (two per car) andwheels though – those items will be packed into communal cargo in theaircrafts.
Each aircraft willcarry 12 communal pallets and will have the capacity for 16 cars in eightdouble stack car racks, with Pedders Safety and Course Chryslers included.
Total weight offreight of each aircraft including purpose built containers is in excess of 100tonne.
Each car competingin the event will be allocated one support equipment container. Race carsupport equipment containers are weight limited to 3500kg per container.
Given thisrestriction, Robertson said teams would share some equipment.
“For example,usually each team would carry a welder for repairs – but they’ll split itand one team will take a welder and another will take some panel beatingequipment. Instead of duplicating, they’ll share the stuff around,” Robertsonsaid.
“The teams arepretty good at cooperating but there’s more of a unity amongst them atflyaways. If you get stuck someone will help out.”
Drivers will needto be careful at the international race because teams are limited with the bodyspares they are carrying.
Hazardous materialshave been sourced in the US or sent by sea freight with the Dunlop tyres well in advance of therace.
There are 784 dryrunning Dunlop Supermaxx tyres in Austin and 336 wet running Dunlop Supermaxxtyres. Each car will belimited to 24 wheels in addition to the four wheels that are mounted to the carat the event. This is a total of 784 (28 x 28) wheels.
The Austin 400 runs from May 17-19 US time at the Circuit of the Americas – tickets available through Ticketmaster.
Each V8 Supercar is worth more than $600,000 and $100,000 perengine.
Each 747-400 Series Freighter Aircraft will becarrying more than $50 million in V8 Supercars and $20 million worth of engineand associated equipment.
Total combined cost of the freight carried overby the two aircrafts and additional equipment carried in each team’s allocatedcontainer is more than $100 million.