Racing’s heavy artillery
WITHOUT big trucks, Australian racing stops.
That’s because behind every great race team is a transporter. In fact, even the dud teams have them.
Before we all kicked back on the couch to watch the action at Bathurst this weekend, the teams’ transporters were hauling all the race cars, parts, tyres, tools and fuel to the famous NSW track.
The NT News caught up with the guys at Kelly Racing during their final preparations for the most important race of the year, asking exactly what it takes to truck all they need to Mount Panorama.
First of all comes the prime mover. For its lead Jack Daniel’s team, Kelly Racing uses a Mack Trident MP8, running the 373kW (500hp) 13-litre linked to a 18-speed RoadRanger manual. It runs as a B-double. The lead trailer, or A-trailer, contains a stash of components, including engines and larger, oddshaped parts.
The B-trailer contains the two Holden Commodore race cars on two levels, which are accessed by a flipdown hydraulic platform.
It also features benchtops along each side, used by the race team members during the weekend to examine telemetry and discuss strategy away from prying eyes.
A lot of components are loaded into rolling containers that slide in beneath the benches.
All up, the truck, the trailer, the cars and the gear will add up to around 55 tonnes.
That sounds too heavy to be true but when you consider the weight of some of the components and the amount of them required, it starts to make sense.
The team packs several toolboxes weighing around 200kg and one main toolbox per car, which each weighs about 600kg.
It takes at least one spare V8 engine and gearbox for each car.
New rules mean
the teams can no longer take a complete spare car.
Kelly Racing takes no fewer than 32 wheels and tyres to Bathurst, with Dunlop providing many more tyres at the track.
Space must also be made for two sets of spare doors, two sets of front guards, two sets of rear quarter panels, two rear bumpers and four front spoilers.
Other spares include two suspension arms, two spare windscreens, 60 litres of engine oil, 40 litres of gearbox oil, two trolley jacks and, importantly, two sets of driver suits, helmets, gloves and race boots.
The team loads up the truck over several days before it finally departs for Bathurst on the Monday before the race weekend.
Jack Daniel’s Racing truck driver Ian McPhee says a lot of care goes into making sure everything is on board before the team sets off.
‘‘We always make sure both cars are in there,’’ he jokes. ‘‘I can’t remember us ever leaving anything very important behind.
‘‘I wouldn’t want to be the first bloke to do it.’’
McPhee doesn’t notch up many kilometres compared with most truck drivers, with an annual total of around 40,000km.
That said, he carries a different kind of cargo to most other drivers and has a responsibility to get the oneoff hand-built cars to the events in one piece.
‘‘It’s not like having an accident with general freight; you can’t just ring up and ask for another load of apples,’’ he says.
McPhee’s job doesn’t end when the Mack’s engine turns off.
He has many other roles, including managing tyres, during the race meetings.
Jack Daniel’s driver Rick Kelly doesn’t steer the team transporter but does have a heavy rigid licence – he used to drive Mack tippers for his parents’ construction business.
Kelly didn’t travel in the Mack transporter to Bathurst this week, opting instead for a more leisurely drive with his brother and fellow racer, Todd, in their mum’s FB Holden.
For its lead Jack Daniel’s team, Kelly Racing uses a Mack Trident MP8 for hauling all the race cars, parts, tyres, tools and fuel