For most WRC drivers and teams, the upcoming Coates Hire Rally Australia (12-15 September) is the biggest trip of the season.
For WRC newcomers Volkswagen, it’s by far the longest journey from its base in Germany and the toughest challenge yet for the squad's logistics team.
Planning how best to transport the team and its equipment to Australia by air, land and sea began last year, when logistics boss Lutz Meyer booked seven shipping containers to take Volkswagen’s long-haul service equipment on a round trip from Germany to Mexico, Argentina, Australia and back again.
He last saw the crates after Rally Argentina in May, closing them after Australian quarantine officers set off disinfectant bombs to kill any germs on the car parts before they were even loaded onto the ship.
Next week, with any luck, Meyer will be reunited with the crates in Coffs Harbour, where they will be joined by a selection of event-specific airfreight including the team’s Polo R World Rally Cars.
Starting small and getting enormous, here are some numbers related to the Volkswagen factory team’s logistics:
- 2. The number of Ducati motorbikes taken to each rally. Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito, a former enduro rider, likes to go recceing on two wheels during the rallies. He can take his pick from a Multistrada 1200S Pikes Peak and a Hypermotard SP.
- 3. The spare parts and bodywork components that the team takes to the service park would theoretically be enough to make three more Polo R WRCs.
- 6. At rallies, Volkswagen’s six-man logistics crew is responsible for setting up and dismantling the service area, tyre management and maintaining all the equipment. The members of the team are on the road for an average of one and a half weeks per rally.
- 7+4. Volkswagen takes a total of seven trucks to European rallies. They contain all three Polo R WRCs, the complete recce equipment, the office for the engineers and team managers, all the spare parts, tools, wheel rims, tyre racks, a cleaning unit and the structures needed for the service area. Then there are another three lorries containing everything for the team and media hospitality areas and a truck with toilets.
- 18. The airfreight for an overseas rally alone weighs in at 18 tonnes. Amongst other things, this includes the three Polo R WRCs and spare parts which are limited in number by the regulations.
- 25. If there is a power outage in the service park, the team can use two back-up generators which each produce 12.5 kW of energy. These 25 kW are used to keep all essential systems going.
- 40. The extra equipment and spare parts flown out to the overseas rallies is housed in 40 flight cases.
- 48/79. The seven shipping containers which Volkswagen sends to the three overseas rallies weigh 48 tonnes unladen. Once the 40-foot-long, high-cube containers have been loaded with equipment, spare parts, a repair workshop, the recce vehicles, service tents, the kitchen and the team managers’ office, they weigh 79 tonnes.
- 140. Michelin delivers the tyres for the three Polo R WRCs straight to each rally. The team from Volkswagen Motorsport ‘just’ has to take the wheel rims – as many as 140 of them per rally.
- 600. The team takes a parts cleaning unit to each rally for spare parts and wheels. The wastewater is collected in a huge 600-litre tank to comply with all enviromental regulations.
- 101,309.56. The team from Volkswagen travels more than 100,000 kilometres during each season. That is equivalent to going around the globe two and a half times. And that doesn’t include the 47,217.62-kilometre round trip completed by the sea freight for the three overseas rallies.