In nearly every form of racing, competitors have to find a way to transport all of their necessary equipment to the track. Depending on the sport, this can be quite the logistical challenge. Some folks simply load up the bed of a pickup truck and are on their way. Although they may be considered the “lucky ones”, they don’t reap the benefits of having a sort of ‘garage on wheels’ that any enclosed trailer can provide with the right equipment. With the right systems in place, a racing trailer can provide workstations, test stands, hospitality of all different kinds, and a host of high-tech systems. A trailer’s job isn’t over after it’s parked, in fact, it just begins!
For the larger teams that have to coordinate a multi-trailer caravan to the track, the logistical challenge becomes critical. Without having to mention the fact that large trailers have to meet a legal maximum weight while travelling down the road, let’s take a look at some of the basic functions of a fully-loaded race hauler. One that you might find near or at the top levels of motorsport.
As you can see, this isn’t your average trailer. This particular rig was configured for a larger oval racing team, hosting many team members and plenty of VIPs every race weekend. The cars are usually relegated to storage on the upper level during transport, leaving the entire lower level of the transporter open for configuration. Every team operates slightly differently, thus the lower level must be tailored exclusively to each team. At CTech, we work hand-in-hand with the teams to ensure that literally every piece of equipment and individual part has it’s place in a cabinet or drawer. In many cases, the number of items accounted for is in the tens of thousands. When you’re working in logistics, being this methodical is the only way to ensure that the system will work as a whole. From the racer’s perspective, the less they have to worry about organizing and finding ways to make due, the more effort can be put to the task at hand; winning!
Starting with the basics, lightweight aluminum cabinets and drawer units make up the bulk of the trailer’s interior at the lower level. Cutting weight here is essential. We use exclusively 5052 aluminum panels and extrusions to construct our cabinets, making them roughly 50% lighter than traditional steel counterparts. This brings up a great issue when it comes to mobile storage; the trade-off between cutting weight and not sacrificing strength, longevity, or durability.
As you can imagine, the road can be a very rough place, and travelling down the highway with, potentially, millions of dollars worth of equipment is not the best time to have a drawer or cabinet failure. That’s why we construct our 5052 aluminum storage components with fasteners. Fastener construction allows the storage unit’s frame to ‘flex’ under increased load moments, bumps, and uneven terrain. Where welded components might bend and break, fastened components keep on flexing. As an added bonus, in case of an accident, components that are fastened together are much more easily replaced. This saves money, time, and effort in the bigger picture.
The next biggest hurdle to overcome in a race hauler is customization and technology integration. This is where it’s essential for us to work hand-in-hand with the client and/or trailer manufacturer to ensure that the storage systems and amenities are integrated seamlessly. Without the unmatched level of cabinet system configurability developed by our engineers, creating a fluid and dynamic storage system just for this complex space would be next to impossible.
The culmination of all this engineering and innovation is a multi-functional, mobile headquarters capable of hosting everything from an engine swap to a business meeting. Cabinets of various configurations host component test stands, multiple workstations and worktop areas, appliance integration, electronic/data hosting racks, various wireless technologies, and hospitality services. After all, after a hard day of work at the track, the team needs to eat as well.
Case Study: Ed Carpenter Racing (IndyCar)
When Bret Schmitt (Chief Mechanic at Ed Carpenter Racing) sees an opportunity to optimize, whether it be on the racecar or in the race hauler, he takes it. That’s why he chose to outfit their primary IndyCar race hauler with CTech storage. In the process, he cut rolling weight on the rig an increased storage space simultaneously.
“The biggest thing for us choosing CTech was saving weight in the trailer and being able to customize the cabinets to the exact size we want, which increased our storage area almost 20% over a stock Lista cabinet. That was huge for us because it’s all about maximizing your storage space in the trailer. That space, along with weight savings, was a big bonus for us with CTech. It’s a great product, and a great finish. We really like the handles! Everything is just very user friendly for what we’re doing.”
-Bret Schmitt, Chief Mechanic | Ed Carpenter Racing
Each NASCAR, IndyCar, Pirelli World Challenge, TORC off-road team, you name it, needs to get the most out of their equipment so that they can get the most out of their vehicles. The more capabilities they can carry with them to the track, the better. A dependable, customized storage system makes that possible. Each build is an engineering exercise in organization and space optimization. I’m sure if Formula 1 teams could bring a wind tunnel on the road with them, they would. Hmmm, maybe that’s an idea for the HAAS F1 team to ponder!?