With the amount of infrastructure needed at every round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, Audi Sport have already been making plans for the 2014 season.
This is a whole two months before the season begins, but with two R18 E-Tron Quattros and crates of spares to transport to far flung destinations like China, Brazil and Japan, the logistics operation has to begin in earnest as soon as possible.
“A World Championship such as the WEC is not only a great sporting and technological challenge but has to be prepared with high precision in terms of logistics as well,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “In Audi Sport Team Joest we’re relying on a squad that has been at home on the world’s race tracks for decades and that knows what counts – with respect to major tasks as well as details.”
For Audi, the season begins easy with rounds at Silverstone, Spa and Le Mans allowing machinery and engineering equipment to be transported by road. However, with round four taking place at Austin – air freight becomes a key part in a programme which sees cargo transported to Japan, China, Bahrain and Brazil without seeing the factory in Ingolstadt until season’s end.
“The material doesn’t return to Germany between these stops,” says Chris Reinke, Head of LMP at Audi Sport. “This means we’ve got to consider the mileage limit of the individual components plus possible accident damage in our planning. There are some particularly stressed components, which are subject to defined replacement cycles, as well as single components that are used several times.”
This all means that 38 tonnes of equipment packed into 19 aircraft pallets will travel a total of 49,000 kilometres between races.
Indeed to get all the supplies and equipment set up before each race, a special set up crew get to the track a day early to set up the garages and stay a day later to make sure everything is packaged correctly and sent onto the next destination where the process repeats itself.