Racefan’s Ramblings

Collecting my thoughts, news and inspirations on Tech, Psychology, Motorsport and … well anything!! . . . . . . . . . STILL UNDER DEVELOPMENT IN LIMITED SPARE TIME!

Bahrain International Circuit » The Australian Logistics

Posted by Pat Kershaw on November 22, 2006

BICAs The V8 Supercars head to Bahrain I found this really interesting article from the Bahrain International Circuit, helps you realize the sheer scale of the industry that V8 Supercars have become. F1 may be a way out in front, but not many other series! From next year the organizers are on a cost containment bent to avoid the sport out pricing itself. But WOW, what a show, and they are loud, fast and aggressive. Love it!

This is a press release, but I have highlighted some interesting bits for those not so interested in reading it all!

Over 110 tonnes of V8 Supercar muscle and technical know-how to manage them touched down in the Kingdom of Bahrain yesterday in readiness for this weekend’s Desert 400 race weekend at the Bahrain International Circuit (November 23-25). It is only the second time that the Supercars have taken flight, following a hugely successful foray to China’s Shanghai Circuit in 2005.
The V8 Supercars are spreading their wings courtesy of specialist shipping company Gibson Freight – which also ships the Formula One and Moto GP fraternities to their respective Australian Grands Prix and America’s Champ Car World Series contenders to Surfers Paradise for their Australian event – in association with the governing body of the V8 Supercars, AVESCO. As a domestic series, the responsibility for getting from race to race around Oceania is down to the teams and their logistics experts, but for the 12,000km leap to Bahrain Gibson Freight’s capacity and knowledge was called for.
As a result of the growth of the V8 Supercars’ calendar, Gibson and AVESCO have created the ‘V8 Supercar Air Freight Advisory Committee’: the purpose of which is to advise the V8 delegates vital to the overseas logistic requirements of the series. The V8 Supercar Air Freight Advisory Committee is made up of various members, drawing on their experiences to make the logistics of carrying such cargo as manageable as possible. They were chosen by the teams in an elected process so to keep everyone’s interest at heart in a fair manner. Gibson Freight, established in 1978, is the leading sports logistics operator in the Southern Hemisphere.
In order to ensure smooth progress for the Supercars on their marathon trip to Bahrain, Gibson had to take into consideration weight limitations, sizes of cargo and all the additional features of a race series such as spare parts, branding and advertising panels’ etcetera. Weight and space limitations prevail, which means the teams can only take what is absolutely necessary and are encouraged to leave the vanities and luxuries behind. Unlike Formula One haulage where the cars can be broken down into relatively small packages, the chassis of a Lumina V8 is solid making it much bulkier to transport.
Gibson had to design a specially crafted container for each car and its equipment. Measuring 3.1×2.3×2.3metres the container is split into two levels allowing for 1 car in the bottom level and its equipment on the top. It was Gibson’s responsibilities to provide these containers but the teams’ to pack them with the reiterated point of only packing the crucials. As V8 Supercar Air Freight Advisory Committee member Dean Orr explains: “Basically it comes down to what is critical and what is not, when it comes to racing. Understanding this determines what makes the trip and what doesn’t.” The planes used are Boeing 747s, but it only takes two of them to carry all the equipment needed for the Desert 400. The containers are stacked two by two which works well for the teams as their cars are all together. It’s a savvy operation which has had two shipment sessions before and the teams are getting used to the process which benefits the slickness of the programme.
Gibson’s specialized knowledge is also invaluable with the balance of the plane. Each section is dedicated to certain parts of the equipment in order for the plane to be balanced for a safe journey. There is a special place for the engines and gearboxes, as these are the heaviest part of the vehicle. Additionally the hub caps are limited to two per wheel and are placed at the tail end of the plane. All of this is specially thought out to make for a very efficient transportation of 31 cars, spare parts, engines, TV equipment and the Pace Car for a safe landing from Melbourne to Bahrain. The containers for the cars were dropped at the last race, the Ferodo Tasmania Challenge, where the teams were left to pack them up ready for Gibson Freight to pick them up by truck and deliver them to Melbourne Airport for their flight.
Once they arrived at Bahrain airport they were taken through customs for thorough checking then placed on trucks for their final straight to the circuit arranged by Bahrain International Cargo Service. The trucks were ready and waiting at midnight on Saturday to pick up the first shipment and will be back again to pick up the next shipment arriving on Monday also at midnight. Unloading and repacking onto the trucks happened until 6:00am showing the weight of this hefty project.
Bill Gibson, who arrived in Bahrain well in advance of the containers, has ensured that the whole process is running to schedule: “This is a very smooth operation helped by the cooperation of everyone involved. The Bahrainis are very professional logistics people, it is all heading very well and is very well controlled. The cars are safely in the garages at the track and we are now waiting for the second shipment to arrive tonight.” For the personnel coming to Bahrain there is the BIC’s own all-star team of Hotel & Transport Manager Abdulrahman Qatara and his assistant Loida v. Aparato. With three Grands Prix under their belts already, Abdulrahman and Loida are perfectly placed to ensure that every need the Supercar teams may have is catered for in advance. In total there are 31 drivers staying in 6 different hotels around the island. Flying on commercial flights, they are all met by Abdurahman and guided into the country, then supplied with cars to take them from place to place and given the opportunity to taste some of Bahrain’s delights.
“It is always a great honour for me and everyone at the BIC to introduce people to Bahrain,” said Abdulrahman. “The prestige of the people and the events that we host, and the importance they bring to Bahrain and to the Gulf region, is of great value to us all. It is always good to hear how much visitors enjoy Bahrain, and it is always a pleasure to introduce people to what the country can offer on their first trip to the Kingdom.” The Desert 400 marks the start of a five-year agreement between AVESCO and the BIC to host the Australian V8 Supercars Series at the Desert 400.
The Kingdom is ready and the logistics are catered for: soon it will be time to witness the Thunder from Down Under.

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