BTCC’S £200K EMER­GENCY SER­VICE VE­HI­CLE

If a BTCC driver sees this Ford F-250 ap­proach­ing, it prob­a­bly means he’s had a big one. James Attwood gets a tour of the no-non­sense safety truck

Autocar - - THIS WEEK - PHOTOGR APHY JAKOB EBREY

In­vest­ing al­most £200,000 in a ve­hi­cle that you hope to rarely, if ever, use to its full po­ten­tial might seem an odd thing to do. But should it ever be called into action, the cost of the British Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship’s new safety team truck will ab­so­lutely be worth ev­ery penny.

The truck, which will fea­ture at ev­ery BTCC event, is packed with cut­ting-edge tools that will al­low the four-per­son med­i­cal team in it to quickly as­sist trapped or in­jured driv­ers. Se­ries boss Alan Gow openly ad­mits he copied the idea from Nascar and Indycar safety teams in the US, which also partly ex­plains why all those tools are packed onto a 6.8-litre V8 Ford F-250 Laredo. “Since I was tak­ing the idea from Amer­ica, I thought I might as well get a great big US pick-up rather than us­ing a pa­thetic lo­cal one,” says Gow.

The BTCC has a Porsche Panam­era Turbo that is used as a fast re­sponse med­i­cal car, car­ry­ing med­i­cal di­rec­tor Dr Paul Traf­ford and emer­gency equip­ment to the scene of an in­ci­dent. But more sub­stan­tial equip­ment, such as cut­ting tools, was pre­vi­ously loaded into a Ford Gal­axy and ac­cess­ing it dur­ing an emer­gency, such as a driver be­ing trapped in a car, was dif­fi­cult.

The Gal­axy re­mains as a sup­port ve­hi­cle, but the F-250 has now taken on the role of get­ting the equip­ment and trained res­cue team to the scene of ac­ci­dents quickly.

“It holds more,” says Gow. “Four vol­un­teers in safety gear have to sit in it all day, so you want some­thing com­fort­able. Plus, it’s got the ca­pa­bil­ity to pull cars out of ditches.”

Gow used an im­port spe­cial­ist to source an F-250 from a Cana­dian dealer, and then spent three weeks run­ning it in over Christ­mas (“Given the weather, it was fan­tas­tic,” he says), be­fore it was sent for wrap­ping and then mod­i­fy­ing.

The mod­i­fi­ca­tions were done to spec­i­fi­ca­tions laid out by safety team leader Martin Hunt and Traf­ford. They ad­vised on the equip­ment needed – pro­vided by Hol­ma­tro, Mac­tools, De­walt and RDT – and its place­ment, so they could get to ev­ery tool as fast as pos­si­ble.

“We spent a lot of time work­ing out how the equip­ment would best fit, and what we’d need first in an ac­ci­dent,” says Hunt.

The truck was pressed into ser­vice to at­tend the scene of an ac­ci­dent at Don­ing­ton Park last month.

Gow adds: “I’m re­ally proud of it. It shows that we keep putting money back into our se­ries. We take safety in­cred­i­bly se­ri­ously, and the safety and res­cue equip­ment on the BTCC pack­age is way above any­thing else in Europe.”

The left side of the truck’s load bay con­tains both a scoop stretcher and pae­di­atric spinal board. “In a sin­gle-seater ac­ci­dent, the [smaller] spinal board is a per­fect size to use when ex­tract­ing a driver,” says Hunt. There are also two fire...

The big Ford was pressed into action at Don­ing­ton Park

Much of the equip­ment en­ables the team to gain ac­cess to a car to reach a driver, if re­quired. There are gen­eral tools such as span­ners and ham­mers, along with two an­gle grinders, drill, im­pact wrench and os­cil­lat­ing multi-tool saw – the lat­ter, Hunt...

A med­i­cal bag sits between the rear pas­sen­gers, while un­der­seat stor­age, of­ten used as a gun store by US buy­ers, con­tains a wi-fi med­i­cal mon­i­tor, suc­tion unit, de­fib­ril­la­tor and other kit. The front pas­sen­ger has the con­trols for the emer­gency lights,...

The safety team prefers to dis­man­tle cars rather than cut into them, but if they need to do the lat­ter they have a range of bat­tery­pow­ered Hol­ma­tro tools, cut­ters, saws and rams, along with spare bat­ter­ies. “Be­cause rac­ing cars need to be strong for...

The F-250 stands out even more in a bright vinyl wrap ap­plied by Boss­dog. Emer­gency lights have also been fit­ted, and tow hooks en­able it to move stranded cars. The wing mir­rors can also re­tract in­wards, which is use­ful for get­ting the car to UK...

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.