The days of driving to Bathurst in race cars are long gone.
Now, the teams travel to the heartland of Australian motor sport with massive transporters loaded with cars, parts, tools, tables, chairs, catering equipment and even a kitchen sink.
The Freightliner Racing team benefits from its tie-up with its naming sponsor, which provided a gleaming red Argosy cab-over to tow two trailers to Mt Panorama for the world-famous enduro.
Fully loaded with all the gear, this combination weighs in at 57 tonnes. But that’s not much at all, given it is fitted with a 15-litre Detroit six-cylinder diesel that pumps out 418kW.
Transporter driver Paul Eddy could have chosen a fully automated transmission, but decided to keep his gear-changing skills polished with an 18-speed Eaton RoadRanger non-synchro manual.
Freightliner Racing is part of the Brad Jones Racing family which runs a total of six cars at Bathurst, in both the main game and the Dunlop Development Series. Among them are the Number 14 Freightliner Racing Commodore of Fabian Coulthard and the number 8 Alliance Truck Parts Commodore of Andy Jones.
In addition to the Freightliner Racing combination, two other Argosys are used to haul single trailer sets. Each combination carries two cars at the rear, behind a mass of gear that is loaded in a process similar to a game of Tetris. Every inch of space is filled by the time the Argosys hit the road.
Running so many cars means the Bathurst campaign is a massive logistical challenge. All up, the three trucks set out from Albury loaded with six V8 Supercars, 66 wheels, 24 bumpers, 12 complete doors, 12 bonnets, 30 front brake sets, 18 rear brake sets, 48 suspension dampers, 15 door mirrors, 10 sets of headlights, six tail-shafts, three steering racks, four gearboxes and four spare engines.
The extra parts aren’t much good without tools, and the team took plenty of them. In fact, there were enough to fill 12 big toolboxes. The mechanics used the same tools they operate in the workshop, and every spanner is itemised and logged. Race teams also take the walls for their workshops, which fold up for easy transport.
More than 60 people work for the Brad Jones Racing team at Bathurst, and that means lots of mouths to feed. Over the six-day period leading up to and including the race weekend, the catering outfit prepared an incredible total of 1,080 meals. It’s thirsty work too, and the race team also went through 80 slabs of water and 50 slabs of soft-drinks and energy drinks.
In the end, Freightliner Racing’s Coulthard and Youlden finished just off the podium, in fourth place, while the Team BOC car of Jason Bright and Andy Jones was seventh.