There are just five days between the six-hour race at Watkins Glen (USA) and the start of the race weekend at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park near Bowmanville (CAN). Although the two IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship circuits are only around 300 miles apart, this is one of the most challenging weeks for the BMW Team RLL. This is particularly true for the logistics team, which delivers an outstanding performance between the two events.
Sunday, 1st July: just after 15:45 local time, the two BMW M8 GTE cars of BMW Team RLL crossed the finishing line at Watkins Glen. For the logistics team, that moment marked the start of what is probably the most gruelling week of the year. Just a few days later, both of the team’s cars will be back on the track, battling for IMSA points in Canada. The 300 or so miles that lie between the two circuits in the northern USA and southern Canada are the least of their problems.
Cars, team members, spare parts and equipment: transportation is planned in minute detail, down to the smallest part. Everything starts at Watkins Glen: both BMW M8 GTEs were rebuilt on the Monday and Tuesday after the race in the paddock. Ten mechanics were working on each of the two BMW M8 GTEs.
Brandon Fry, BMW Team RLL Technical/Racing Operations Director, said: “This is one of the most exhausting weeks of the year for our team and it really shows what motorsport is all about. We don’t have much time at all. Everything has to work perfectly to guarantee a smooth start to the race weekend at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.”
More than 5,000 parts, three trucks, two BMW M8 GTEs.
On the afternoon of 3rd July both BMW M8 GTEs were loaded onto the team truck. There are around 2,000 more parts in this transporter: from team apparel to spare parts and personal equipment items for the drivers. If everything goes according to plan, the travel time is just under five hours, however, the border crossing can be more problematic. Each individual part must be documented and the BMW Team RLL has to prepare around 25 pages of paperwork just for the first truck. Ideally, the truck should cross the Canadian border in ten minutes but it could just as easily take hours to pass, which is why the team was planning on arrival in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
The two other trucks start their journey on the 4th July, a national holiday in the USA. They are transporting around 3,000 additional parts, primarily bodywork and spare parts, as well as engines. The team in the Ohio BMW Team RLL headquarters remains ready for action the whole time. Spare parts were dispatched from here to Canada before the race in Watkins Glen, to ensure that they are there when the team arrives. The team headquarters also stores pre-assembled chassis that can be dispatched overnight to Canada if required. The logistics team from BMW of North America works closely with US Customs and BMW Motorsport transport experts to make all this possible.
The scrutineering inspection for BMW Team RLL takes place at the Canadian track on 5thJuly. Three days later, all the cars and parts will be loaded back onto the trucks immediately after the race. The entire team will then drive through the night to return to the headquarters in Ohio. The most exhausting week of the year for the BMW Team RLL then finally draws to a close at around 3 am on Monday.