A DISPLAY of the remarkable logistical exercise required to fill the Mount Panorama pit garages with more than 50 cars has been on display at the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour this week.
Getting a race team to Australia’s international endurance race sounds far easier than it actually is, but for teams like Audi Sport Team WRT and Strakka Racing who have come over from Europe, there’s more to it than loading your equipment in a truck and unloading it when you arrive.
A number of teams have come from overseas to be at this year’s Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, an event that has proved time and time again to be popular among the internationals.
Head of logistics at Audi Sport Team WRT, Sébastien Viger, says it took a lot of work for the team to get setup trackside.
“It’s good to be here at Bathurst,” he said.
“Obviously it is out first time in Australia and our first time at the Bathurst 12 Hour, so it’s exciting for the team and everyone involved.
“We have a lot of our guys come over from Europe, plus our two cars too, one came from China and the other from Laguna Seca, so there was a plenty to do when we arrived.
“It actually took us two whole days and we worked late into the night as well to get everything set up but obviously we cannot wait to get the weekend started on Friday for practice.”
The first crews started rolling on Monday and Tuesday, with one of them being British squad, Strakka Racing who had all their equipment shipped in from the UK.
“Overseas racing is something we do a lot, but getting everything across to Australia is something different,” said Strakka team manager Jay Davenport.
“We’ve split our freight, so we’ve got some stuff like the heavy equipment, tire warmers and garage stuff that were put in a container and sent off in November last year down here.
“The cars themselves and essential equipment that we needed back in Europe were flown across by air freight so that’s how we’ve sort of managed our logistics.”
For local Melbourne-based squad Audi Sport Customer Racing, getting their equipment to the event was far simpler.
With seven cars run out of the Audi stable this weekend, team manager Troy Russell has come prepared for this year’s event with over 70 crew members, including ten people from the Audi factory in Germany to assist with running the team’s R8’s this weekend.
“It’s great to be back at Bathurst again,” explained Russell.
“This weekend we’ve brought a lot of our guys over and a lot of equipment too, enough that it took two B-Double trucks, a single trailer truck and a coach as well to get everything up here.
“We’re really looking forward to the weekend and hopefully having one of our squads stand on the top step of the podium on Sunday after the race.
“Twelve hours is a long time to be racing, but we’ve done it before and we know what needs to be done, so we’ll work at it and do the best we can do as a team.”
Tickets can be purchased at the gate, with general admission weekend passes available. Sunday GA passes, including access to the pit and paddock area, can be purchased for $46 on arrival.
By Slade Perrins