Team Aon Face First Long-Hauls In The WTCC

Team Aon - Photo Credit: WTCC Media
Team Aon staff are busy preparing for their first long-haul races - Photo Credit: WTCC Media

Having completed the European leg of their first World Touring Car Championship season, Team Aon now take on a run of five long-haul events around the globe.

Since the round at Portimao, the team have been working hard at their Littlehampton base to prepare the pair of Ford Focuses ready for transport to the Netherlands where they are then shipped to Brazil ready for the races at Curitiba on 20-22 July.

It's a busy time for Truckies Peter Harris, Colin Hide and Greg Senior.

“Of course it's a challenge,” says Hide. “Before we do anything we sit down as an entire group and go through everything that needs to be loaded, when it needs to be loaded and how were going to go about that. More often than not things crop up which mean we're unable to follow our original plan to the letter.”

Harris adds: “You have to remember, we're not just packing for one race like we normally would; we're packing for five. So we have to think in advance of everything that we're going need and make sure that it's all packed because once it's out there it could be difficult to get what we need at short notice.

 “Everyone pitches in because each department needs different things at a race meeting. For example the engineers and management will need a printer and office supplies – so they'll box it up and we'll find a way of loading it.”

Hide explains: “Effectively we're packing two truckloads into two smaller containers. We have to find the space for things and try and load so that the last thing that goes in will be the first thing we need at the other end. But you also have to think about the small things that are needed too such as all the tools, brake pads as well as the elements people don't necessarily think about like Helmet dryers for the drivers – which during hot races they will most probably want.”

Senior adds: “The first thing we load will be components such as tyres and tyre racks because we won't need these until we're actually on track. The last thing to be loaded is the cars and that's purely because the mechanics are working on them up until the very last minute of packing.”

It's not just the cars and equipment that need to be taken care of – there's also the matter of getting the team members to each country. That's the job of Travel Co-Ordinator Michele Quaife.

“We get a lot of support from the championship organisers when it comes to these events,” she says. “I still book all the flights and hotels but they will send a list of hotels where they have rooms exclusively reserved for team members.

“The biggest change I notice between the two parts of the season is needing a Visa for visiting countries like the USA, China and Japan – other than that I try and treat these events like normal round but just add a little extra time to get everything planned an booked.”