V8 Supercar Mechanic, Not Your Normal 9 To 5 Job When the V8 Supercars hit the track for this weekend's Betta Electrical Sandown 500 spare a thought of what it takes to prepare these cars to ensure they are in prime condition round after ...
V8 Supercar Mechanic, Not Your Normal 9 To 5 Job
When the V8 Supercars hit the track for this weekend's Betta Electrical Sandown 500 spare a thought of what it takes to prepare these cars to ensure they are in prime condition round after round.
Since beginning on a part time basis with Larkham Motor Sport Mike Flynn began to live out his boyhood dream working full time in one of Australia's leading motorsport entities.
Two years later upon completion of his apprenticeship Flynn was crowned the Queensland Apprentice of the Year in 2002 and National Runner-up. This year the 22-year-old is the number one mechanic for the driver of the Number 10 Orrcon Racing Falcon, Jason Bargwanna.
"I have always had an interest in cars and more in particular motorsport, to be involved with a team at the highest level of motorsport in Australia is a real buzz," said Flynn.
While most motor mechanics will tell you their job isn't a 9 to 5 job this is certainly the case in the highly competitive world of motorsport.
The V8 Supercar Championship is more about team effort and hard work than ever before with the mechanics putting in hours long after the drivers have gone to bed on a race weekend. It is much the same in between races with the team of mechanics stripping and then preparing the Orrcon Racing Ford Falcons for the next round of the Championship.
It's not a case of kicking back to relax between rounds, it is all hands on deck as you can see by Flynn's week by week diary below.
WEEK ONE "We arrived back from Oran Park on Sunday night and had Monday off before the cars arrived back to the workshop at 7:30am Tuesday morning.
"Once they were unloaded the cars went straight onto the set up tables checking the dimensions for data comparison before a mechanical and damage report was compiled and the disassemble to a bare shell begins.
"Three times a week the five pit stop guys head to the gym for a work out so this is how I started the day on Wednesday morning.
"After the car is stripped down all of the parts are inspected and replaced according to mileage which takes us until Friday morning where we begin to re-assemble the car.
We will generally work the Saturday prior each event or test day, with us testing on Thursday we are in the workshop all day Saturday."
WEEK TWO "The week begins with the completion of the full re-assemble and changing the car to endurance specifications that includes the changing of some parts and also the alteration of seating and pedal positions to find a happy medium between the two drivers.
"On Tuesday we mixed a seat for Bargs (a foam constructed seat to fit inside the normal seat) and Wednesday Mark (Winterbottom) came into the workshop to be fitted into the Number 10 car prior to the test the following day.
"For the test day I was up at 5am to be out at Ipswich by 7am to then focus on ensuring the drivers were comfortable with the seating positions and finding a balanced car between the two driving styles.
"While the drivers completed about 100 laps in the Number 10 Falcon the team practiced their endurance pit stops that included brake pad changes and we all left the track about 8.
"After testing it is basically like another race weekend where we strip the cars down, this time we also rebuild the driveline components. A lot of time is spent in sub assemble during the later stages of the week.
WEEK THREE "We had the weekend off to refresh and then went straight into re-assemble mode and having the cars ready by the middle of the week so we can focus on looking at set up data and check the corner weights etc.
"Late in the week our main focus turned towards ensuring the car is almost race ready before preparing the spare parts to be loaded in the transporter which will leave on Monday night. Basically we carry a spare of most major components ready to bolt straight into the car at each race meeting.
"The final prep is completed on Monday before the car was loaded into the transporter and Wayne (our truck driver) heads down the road to Melbourne."
After the cars were loaded into the transporter and on the road from the Gold Coast base to Melbourne it was time for Flynn to kick back and relax having two days off before the action begins on Thursday with set up of the pit area.
Flynn believes that seeing his driver achieve a good result gives him a huge sense of achievement and rates the improvement of the team over the past twelve months as one of the highlights of his career so far.
"This year has really been a shinning light so far in the way we have all improved as a team and the highlight for me has been the pitstop at the last round at Oran Park where we gave Bargs' nearly 10 stops on the track. It was a great reward for the effort by the guys," said Flynn.
"My other highlight was in 1999 before I began fulltime with the team. Larko destroyed the car at Calder and we rebuilt the car within two weeks, it gave everyone involved a real sense of achievement, even more so when Larko went out and won the next round."
Practice for round nine of the V8 Supercar Championship begins today with two practice sessions. Tomorrow will include a further practice session in the morning followed by qualifying and the top ten shootout in the afternoon. The 161-lap race around the historic 3.10km Sandown layout will begin at 1pm on Sunday.