People think: They roll a few tool boxes into the garage, connect up some air hoses and turn the lights on.
What they actually do is: Build up the whole garage area at every race from empty shell to fully functional race bays, and then tear it all down and send it on to the next race. “We’re the early crew”, says Senior Garage Technician Mark Simpson. “Some of us started work here on Monday, followed by others who arrived to work on Tuesday.” The technicians’ first job is to unpack all the sea and air freight containers into which the garage equipment has been packed. They then get busy building up all the structures and installing all the equipment the team needs to run a race weekend. “We can pretty much get the garage up and functional in one day, with power, light, air lines etc,” Mark explains. “We are told which garage we will be in by the promoters and because it’s based on your championship finish from the previous year we’ve been lucky enough to be in the same garages for the past couple of seasons. We put together a plan of where everything goes. We try to keep it as uniform as possible as it makes things smoother for everyone if things are in the same place at each event. It’s not always possible but then everyone gets a garage plan and they get acclimatised pretty quickly.” The final build of the facility isn’t the end of the working weekend for the techs though. “We also have roles on the car for the race weekend,” says Mark. “That includes work as tyre technicians and doing the fuel. Everyone’s got a role.” Once the flag falls at the end of the race, however, it’s back to their regular job, this time pulling the whole thing apart. “Strip down is much quicker, as the whole team is there,” Mark concludes. “We can have it all pulled down and packed away in about five hours. Then it’s off to the next one, where we do it all again.”