TRANSLATION

Sunday, 23 March 2014

THE END.

2014 has been very difficult for me and my blog. So much has been happening with the logistics for all the teams but I was not allowed to write about it. It is not that I cannot write it, but there would be consequences for me if I did. The official WTCC test that has just taken place in Valencia will signal the end for this blog and the beginning of a new season for the WTCC Truckies.

Citroen in Valencia


In 2014, we have new cars in the WTCC but also some teams have not been able to find the money, a car or a driver. I will miss the teams from RML, STR, Wiechers, PB Racing and Bamboo Engineering. I have been very lucky because the teams and individuals have trusted and allowed me access to the garages, allowed me to take photographs and given me details regarding the movements of the race trucks. And this blog would not have been possible without all this. But even though I am only concerned with the logistics of the trucks, in 2014, the teams have been trying to keep things very secretive about when and where they have been testing. This has meant that I can write nothing this year.
Also, the success and interest that my blog has generated has meant that some teams have now started using Facebook,Twitter and their own team websites to post information and pictures about the race trucks. I am busy with my job and I do not want to spend my spare time writing about "old news". I only hope that they continue to highlight the importance of the Truckies and the jobs that we do.

JAS Honda in Valencia


I was looking forward to writing about the logistics of the WTCC races in 2014. The fact that the time schedule between Morocco and France is so small, it will be interesting to see how all the teams cope with this. The logistics to get to Russia is another difficult job for the Truckies. Now that the problems in Ukraine seem to be drawing so many different countries into disagreement, could we have a more difficult job crossing the Russian border or even a cancellation of the race?
My good friends from Italy, Roal.
The "fly away" races, where we transport everything in containers, are always a challenge for the teams and I have been very lucky to have special access to the logistics. Thanks to my friends at DHL and Wietracon.
Campos Racing in Valencia
The Truckies are an integral part of any team and the logistical challenges, of a race team, should never be forgotten. I hope that the teams will continue to keep you informed via Facebook, Twitter and there websites.
 
Yokohama Tyre support
Testing is finished and now we get ready for the 1st race in Morocco. Thanks for reading my blog and I hope that you have enjoyed it. 

‹(•¿•)›
The Race Truckie.





Sunday, 12 January 2014

Sexy Truck Picture

Time to go and see if you can get the 2014 calendar from Liqui Moly which has a gorgeous picture of the Engstler WTCC race trailer with Franz,s BMW on the tail lift. This picture has been spoilt by a couple of girls who also wanted their picture taken !!!!!

Friday, 10 January 2014

Welcome to 2014.

Happy New Year to all of you who take time to read my blog.
I made a little video of pictures which I posted on YouTube and I would like to apologize to anyone in Germany. It seems that the music has some copyright issues so you can watch, but you cannot listen. It is a real shame as there is some good music on the video.
                                                                                                 ©TB

The containers that ended up in South Africa, last year, arrived back in Europe in December. The remaining containers from Macau have now cleared customs and the teams have been collecting their cars and equipment this week. Normally it is a good chance for me to say hello to some of the Truckies but I was busy with other work. A big thank you to my friends for sending me some pictures. It is still too early for some of the teams to announce their plans for 2014 but I know that I will not see some of my Truckie friends this year as some teams will not be racing in the WTCC. But we will have new teams and I am looking forward to making some friends. The fact that we have Morocco as our first race will be an interesting introduction for the new teams. Will it be any easier this year or will we be at the mercy of the customs and police in Tangiers port again?And when we drive to Russia, will the roads be repaired and have new tarmac? I doubt it.
                                                                                                 ©HK

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                DO NOT FORGET THAT YOU CAN CLICK ON THE PICTURE AND MAKE
                                                   THE PICTURE BIGGER.
 And lastly.......................
What is in the box for Zengo?
New changes for Lada?
video 
Loeb testing 2014

    

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Race Truckie Picture Movie

                   


I have made a little video for you to watch. This is just a random collection of pictures that I have taken this year. If you work in the WTCC, or you are just a fan who comes to watch the racing, I am sure you will recognize some of the faces and I hope it will bring back some good memories of 2013. Please Like it on YouTube, share it on Facebook and Twitter.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Please watch.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
Here is an old video but for those of you who have not seen it, I am sure you will find it interesting. Your chance to understand more about the tyres in WTCC.

And here is another old video, again from Chevrolet. You can see the trucks arriving at night in Marrakech and then watch the hospitality unit and the garages being built and dismantled after the race.
I hope you enjoy them.





Thursday, 5 December 2013

Something Different.

I thought that it would be good to give you chance to read about some Truckies who do not work in the WTCC series. These guys work with the Auto GP series which we are lucky enough to have as a support race at some of the WTCC races. The Auto GP cars are powered by 3.5 litre, V8 engines and they are VERY LOUD. We have a fun name for them and call them "Formula Noisy" but they are exciting to watch and the pit stops are fast and furious. These Truckies still drive all around Europe for their races and are highly skilled and knowledgeable in their jobs. The trip that we took from Italy to Morocco in 2013 meant that many of the race trucks were driving together. It gave me a chance to talk to and get to know these two very likeable Truckies.
So we all sat down in a hotel I and asked them some questions. Here are their replies.
First Q&A session is with Pete. Pete prides himself on keeping the alloy wheels on his race truck, as polished and shiny as he can.
"Pete"
What,s your name?
Pete

Nationality?
British

Age?
53

What truck do you drive?
I drive a Volvo FH 500.


How long have you been a Truckie?
16 years

How did you end up working in motor sport?
I was made redundant and I wanted to change my job. So, I took a quick lorry test which lasted 4 days, I passed the test and got my licence and started applying for all the Truckie jobs that were advertised in Autosport magazine. I finally got my first Truckie job working in British F3 in 1998.

Our teams spend a lot of money on travel and hotels to race in Marrakesh, Morocco. Do you think it is worth the huge, financial expense to hold a race here?
I think it is worth it as it helps promote motor sport to a new audience.

Do you prefer the latest satellite navigational aids or do you use maps?
I always prefer maps but I do have a sat.nav. I find that the sat.nav. is very good as it shows the distance and time to my destination, as I am driving. This information just helps me plan my day much better.

When was the last time you had an accident in your truck or caused any considerable damage to it?
It was in 2011, as I was driving through some narrow roadworks in Germany. I was concentrating so hard on my driving that I actually concentrated too hard and that caused me to touch the road barriers against the side of the truck. I hope that makes sense !! The trailer had a large scrape line along one side. My boss gave me a strict warning "not to do it again".

What is your favourite country to visit and race in?
USA.

What is your favourite country to drive your race truck in?
Definitely not in the UK. It is so busy with traffic and roadworks. But I really enjoy driving in the rest of Europe as the roads do not have the same amount of traffic.

What annoys you most about other road users when you drive your race truck?
Nothing at all.

Our trucks are limited to a maximum speed of 90 kmh, do you think that this limit should be raised to 100 kmh?
No, I am quite happy to drive at 90 kmh. I can just set the cruise control on the truck and enjoy the varied countries that I drive through.
Pete leaves Spain.



                                      -------------------------------------------------------------


The next Truckie on my Q&A list is "Moisty". That is not his real name but just the name that everybody knows him by. He has been a Truckie almost as long as Pete, and he is still a crucial and invaluable part of his team.
"Moisty"
What,s your name?
Steve (moisty)


Age?
40


What type of truck do you drive?

Renault premium 420 DCI

How long have you been a truckie?
12yrs.


How did you end up working in motor sport?

I was working at Lotus and I had chance to learn to be a Truckie. I suppose I was in the right place at the right time.
 
Our teams spend a lot of money on travel and hotels so we can race in Marrakesh, Morocco. Do you think it is worth the huge, financial expense to hold a race here?
Once we arrive in Marrakesh, it's all good but it's getting there with the truck that is a problem.

Do you prefer the latest satellite navigational aids or do you use maps?

I use both.

When was the last time you had an accident in your truck or caused any considerable damage to it?

Getting on the boat in Algeciras, Spain caused some damage to the underside of the trailer. As the loading ramp is so steep, we knocked a skid plate off and bent one of the side locker doors.

What is your favourite country to visit and race in?

Spain.

What is your favourite country to drive your race truck in?

France because I love the roads.

What annoys you most about other road users when you drive your race truck?

Nothing. I'm too chilled out for road rage.

Our trucks are limited to a maximum speed of 90 kmh, do you think that this limit should be raised to 100 kmh?

Yes. Modern trucks are very safe and have good braking systems and it would make the journey time a little quicker.
"Moisty" in Tangiers port, Morocco.

Well I hope you enjoyed a different view from these two Truckies. I hope to meet them again in 2014 somewhere on Europe,s vast road network or at a race track somewhere.





Sunday, 1 December 2013

£1,793,500 for a race truck

                                                                                                         ©Andy Buckley
I have just found out that this old race car transporter sold at auction for £1,793,500. WOW !!!!!!
That,s big money for a truck, even though it is a unique one. I am certain that the trucks that we drive today will not be worth this amount of money in 50 or 60 years time.
Anything to do with motorsport seems to have a value when it gets old whether it is an old racing car, a pair of drivers gloves, old team clothing, old team advertising and even the books that are written about the sport.
I appreciate all of you who take time to visit my blog and read about me and my work colleagues, and 50 or 60 years from now, I hope you will still be able to find it on the internet and read it FREE OF CHARGE

You can click on the link below and read the listing from the auction website..


http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/20934/lot/11/



And I have copied the written text for you below..........

Perhaps the motor racing World's best known and most instantly recognized team transporter, the Ecurie Ecosse team's celebrated Commer is offered here in fully-restored, running and fully 'road-prepared' order – direct from its long-time owner, Mr Dick Skipworth and his magnificent Ecurie Ecosse Collection

The team had relied upon a pair of venerable converted coach transporters through the 1950s but once David Murray's D-Type Jaguars had not only won their second consecutive Le Mans 24-Hour race in 1957, but had also come home first and second in that latter year's Grand Prix d'Endurance, membership of their Ecurie Ecosse Association supporters club absolutely boomed.
Collectively, Association members were keen to help the team's racing efforts. The weakest link in the Merchiston Mews chain was plainly transportation, as identified by Alastair Cormack, managing director of James Ross & Sons Motors, Rootes Group agents. He had been a prominent racing driver with Alta cars pre-war when he competed most notably at Brooklands and Donington Park.
Another Association member was Ronnie Alexander, managing director of Walter Alexander and Company of Falkirk, specialist truck and bus coachbuilders, and he offered to have a one-off transporter designed and built by his company. Further support for the project was offered by British Aluminium (paneling), Dunlop, Joseph Lucas and Wilmot Breeden. Machining and other services were also donated by companies such as John Gibson & Sons, and so work began on the team's brand-new transporter in 1959 with substantial funding provided by the Ecurie Ecosse Association.


Walter Alexander's Design Manager, Selby Howgate, was himself a colourful character within the Scottish motoring world. He had trained as an aerodynamicist within the British aviation industry and was a tremendous Bentley enthusiast who drove his particularly quick 4½-Litre model "with vigour". A genial, good-humoured gentleman, Selby Howgate wore a luxuriant toothbrush moustache and usually drove his thunderous Bentley swathed in heavy tweeds.

Howgate's contemporary assistant at Walter Alexander's, Ian Johnston, would later recall that had this Commer transporter for Ecurie Ecosse been an actual commercial project it would have cost an absolute fortune. This was because the ever-ebullient Design Manager kept changing his mind but in the end what he created has been described as being "...nothing short of stunning in concept and execution". Many people have commented on the upward sweep at the rear of the bodywork which Ian Johnston explains was the answer to Selby's rhetorical question, "What is the most streamlined thing in nature....a fish."

The transporter emerged with a spacious cab for the Commer's crew, plus a six-foot by six-foot square workshop area behind, providing a work bench and vice, and which also gave car-underside access on the upper deck. One car could be accommodated on the 'bottom deck' and two 'up top'. A single hydraulic ram located under the floor raised and lowered the upper ramp via cables, absolutely as original.


This uniquely well-specified Commer transporter was finished in time for the 1960 motor racing season and it made its public debut at the Scottish Charterhall aerodrome circuit on May 29 1960.
Wherever it travelled the Ecurie Ecosse transporter was admired and when the team was wound down early in 1971 the ageing Commer was sold to the prominent historic racing driver Neil Corner who actually owned – and still campaigned – one of the ex-Ecurie Ecosse D-Type Jaguars. The Commer's flanks were re-signwritten to bear the legend 'Corner Racing' but retained the distinctive original Ecurie Ecosse style. Mr Corner still waxes quite lyrical about the vehicle even today, over thirty years later. It subsequently passed through many hands including those of Historic racing specialist Tony Merrick and Roger Ludgate but as the years passed so it had deteriorated in the way that well-used, obsolescent commercial vehicles so frequently do. Various tales are attached to the old vehicle, including one that it failed to find a buyer when offered for just £15, and another that since it was still a runner it was used occasionally to transport beer barrels and animal feed...

Meanwhile, Dick Skipworth had just acquired the Ecurie Ecosse C-Type Jaguar 'KSF 182' from Campbell MacLaren. The car was being prepared for him by Chris Keith-Lucas, then of the Jaguar specialist Lynx company, and "over a coffee mentioned to him that carting the C-Type around on an open trailer isn't quite the thing, is it? What I'd really like is something a little more in keeping...".
Mr Keith-Lucas instantly exclaimed: "I think I know where there's just the thing. But it needs a bit of work!".


Didn't it just. But Mr Skipworth's acquisition of 'VSG 7' now offered here and its subsequent virtually single-handed restoration at Lynx by the late John Hay is one of the great Historic motor racing rescue sagas of all time. During restoration the opportunity was taken to provide sleeping accommodation for the crew behind the cab, while great care was taken to retain virtually all the original superstructure's aluminium skinning. Indeed, as has often been pointed out, the Skipworth/Keith-Lucas intervention probably came just in time to save this iconic vehicle.

Alexander's original brief in 1959-60 had been to provide for Ecurie Ecosse a transporter vehicle no more than 30 feet long, yet capable of carrying three contemporary-sized sports-racing cars while also incorporating a workshop space. Selby Howgate selected a Commer TS3-powered bus chassis from the Rootes Group as his starting point, and indeed the vehicle's supremely sophisticated contemporary design provided something of a coachbuilder's dream. Since Commer's revolutionary three-cylinder, opposed-piston compressor-scavenged diesel engine is so compact, it could be housed completely between the chassis side members, thus providing a totally flat platform upon which the transporter bodywork and fittings could be erected.


The renowned TS3 engine was the first diesel unit to be adopted by the Rootes Group and had been created largely by Tilling-Stevens engineers before that company's acquisition by Rootes. The 'TS' initials are those of Tilling-Stevens, who manufactured the unorthodox power unit in their factory in Maidstone, Kent. The unit was unusual not only in being a two-stroke, compression-ignition diesel unit comprising only three uniflow-ported horizontal cylinders, each housing two pistons moving in opposition to one another. Even more unusually, since most opposed-piston engines feature a separate crankshaft at each end of the cylinder, in the TS3 both sets of pistons drove the same single crankshaft housed beneath the cylinders, each piston driving it via a connecting rod, rocker lever and a second connecting rod.

Burned-charge scavenging was performed by Roots-type 'supercharger' that was mounted on the front of the engine, driven by a long quill-shaft from chain drive at the rear of the unit. Cylinder displacement was 3.2-litres and power output was a quoted 105bhp at 2,400rpm, allied to 270lbs/ft torque at just 1,200rpm.

It has been written that: "The new Ecurie Ecosse vehicle was without doubt the most memorable of all the transporters from that era, eye-catching in the extreme with its long, rakish lines and forward-sloping windscreen to allow the upper ramps to run the full length of the vehicle. Finished in the usual Ault & Wiborg 'Flag Metallic Blue' with smart gold signwriting either side, it turned heads wherever it went, its unique exhaust note giving advanced warning of its approach...".

Into 2013 the Ecurie Ecosse transporter is just as resplendent as it ever was thanks to Mr Skipworth having commissioned its extensive restoration. He has used it for many years now to carry as many as three of his ex-Ecurie Ecosse cars. At the 2007 Scottish Classic race meeting at Knockhill Mr Skipworth arrived with the ex-Ecosse Austin-Healey Sprite, D-Type Jaguar and the Tojeiro-Jaguar on 'VSG 7'. On the Saturday there, Ian Johnston – the Walter Alexander veteran - came to see the transporter and the following day brought with him Adam Burrell, then in his eighties, who had built the vehicle's aluminium body back in 1959-60. Hugh McCaig, the present patron of Ecurie Ecosse, was thrilled that Mr Burrell had been able to attend, while he in turn was emotional about seeing his creation for the first time in fifty years.

The vehicle operates on an historic licence (incurring zero UK tax). It is rated at 11.5 tons and annnually passes the stringent UK VOSA test for commercial vehicles. It will cruise all day long at a comfortable 55mph, returning average fuel consumption of 18 miles per gallon.

In considering this unique racing car transporter's many attributes, its distinctive design has been celebrated over many decades now before a far wider audience since it served as the full-size prototype for a scale-model depiction produced by the Lines Brothers Corgi Toy brand. As recently as this past autumn a Corgi Ecurie Ecosse No 16 transporter and gift set, described as boxed and mint, featuring 'VSG 7' as its centerpiece was offered on eBay for a 'Buy it Now' price of £760...

Today, 54 years since it was first commissioned, the real 1:1-scale Ecurie Ecosse Commer transporter 'VSG 7' offered here survives as an immensely practicable and highly-useable Historic racing car transporter, and as a much-in-demand and utterly unmistakable adornment for any promoter's Historic event paddock. This is a supremely important 1950s/60s racing car transporter. Unlike the almost-as-distinctive Fiat-Bartolettis made famous by Ferrari, Maserati and Reventlow Scarab/Shelby Cobra – 'VSG 7' presented here has no siblings – it really is unique.... And simply gorgeous.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Macau 2013

The WTCC truckies may be missing their trucks and the driving but Macau is always a special time for us all. A magnificent end to the season and also a lot of damaged racing cars. This is not good for the teams who were looking to sell them as we have new rules and regulations for next year.
Weitracon, DHL and the hardworking, local Chinese staff, ensured that the containers were loaded up and cleared from the paddock within 24 hours of the last race finishing. The WTCC teams are getting very good at packing all their cars and equipment into the containers. We have so many fly away races and most of the teams have had quite a few years experience using the containers that it is not such a difficult task anymore. But it is still a sweaty job in the heat and humidity of Macau.
Many of us will be looking forward to a well deserved break towards the end of the year but there is also a lot of work for the teams who are building new cars for next season. I will be continuing with this blog so keep checking back here to look for new stories and information.
Do not forget that if you click on the pictures, most of them will open in a larger size.
Also, you can click on your countries flag at the top of the page and use Google translate to change my English into your language.

Day 1 in Macau
The Yokohama tyres are unloaded.

Day 1 in Macau

Honda get the garage ready.

The Nika Racing Chevrolet.

RML getting the garage ready.
Roal garage Day 2.

The view from the MST Timing office in the new Macau race control tower.

Zengo do a bit of cleaning on Day 2

Oliver Ronzheimer  practicing before his stunt show on race day
Cleaning, cleaning.

Nitrogen for the tyres is delivered. Day 2

Time for the drivers to listen to the Boss.

Inside the crowded RML garage.


Repair time.

Electric cold air blowers and a charging station for the wheel nut guns.

Engstler team member "loves" his pink car.
Free advertising for me. Thanks.
Tuenti Racing get the garage ready.



I have to end this with an awesome video that shows the Macau circuit from a motorcycle riders view. They reach speeds of 180mph. These guys are the real heroes of the whole Macau race week so please watch it.

Video by Franky19racing







                                                             

Friday, 22 November 2013

Definitely not a Race Truckie.

This is "How not to transport a racing car".
Please watch this video, taken at Macau this year.


I do not think this driver will get a job driving any of the WTCC trucks and I suspect he will not be working at the Macau GP again.

Video by DG

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

French government suspends "Eco-tax"

 OCTOBER 29th 2013. The prime minister of France has announced that the planned environmental tax on trucks has been suspended after mass protests in France.
Eco-tax was being developed to charge all national and foreign vehicles over 3.5t for use of the entirety of the country’s principal highway network currently not tolled, plus a certain number of secondary roads. The French government said, “As soon as trucks start to use smaller roads as a way of avoiding payment of Eco-tax, it is likely that more of the secondary network will be included and tolled,”

This tax issue in France could have meant even more expense for the WTCC teams who are forced to use the French road networks. My blog is all about the logistics of the WTCC teams and it is these sort of taxes that the Truckies and the teams need to be aware of. We already have so many different taxes and tolls to buy as we travel around Europe and this would have been one more. I am glad that the French people have seen sense and stopped this as soon as it was started.
You can read more about the truck taxes here. http://racetruckie.blogspot.com/2012/04/taxtaxand-more-tax.html

The French have a long history of protesting when they do not agree with things. There is a very interesting story concerning Alain Prost, the French Formula 1 driver.
When he won his first championship, in 1985, it was a victory for him, not for France. He
was driving an English-designed car with a German engine and living, self-exiled, in Switzerland.
Prost had left the French national team two years earlier following a bitter dispute with Renault management. He had won nine races for Renault, become the first Frenchman since 1927 to sweep the British Grand Prix, and was within two points of the 1983 championship.
But he was outspoken and knowledgeable and complained of flaws in the car design and team organization. Renault made sure that this was written about in the French press, and in April 1983 outraged workers in Prost's hometown of Saint-Chamond marched on his house and burned his prized white Mercedes. Within days, Prost had packed up his wife, Anne-Marie, and his 3-year-old son, Nicholas, and moved to Switzerland.

SO BE CAREFUL AND DO NOT UPSET THE FRENCH.