The fourth leg of the World Endurance Championship (FIA-WEC) is in Austin, Texas USA (AUS), where the “Circuit of the Americas” started last Saturday. The DHL Motorsport Team (“value added services” division of DHL Global Forwarding) leading the operation worked in close coordination with race team logistics and various transportation companies to move the high performance vehicles to their next destination on Boeing 747-4Fs (Atlas Air).
Behind the scenes
CargoForwarder Global had a back stage pass to the entire operation at Frankfurt-Hahn Airport that started in the early days of September where heavily branded trucks, especially built for this kind of transport, started rolling in to VG Cargo’s high-tech cargo terminal. 25,000 sqm. of capacity were quickly transformed into a racing car heaven - the optimal environment for the necessary handling expertise and care of the high value freight. “High tech freight requires high tech equipment,” VG Cargo COO, Victor Gornak says.
Unloading the special trucks, specific rigging techniques, careful loading, security and processing were carried out by approximately 50 people who converged on site for the land side-to-airside operation (incl. race teams logistic professionals, station managers and flight personnel). By the 9th of September over 400 tons of racing cars, spare parts, tools and related equipment were processed, prepared, stored and ready for the first flight. “The constant changes to the plan as well as keeping everything under control are the biggest challenges for me and my team. In addition, our jobs are very time-intensive but still need to be handled quickly, for example continuous ad-hoc shipments” stated Christina Splettstoesser leading the operation (Motorsport Manager at DHL). The last flight to Texas took off a couple of days ago.
Racing cars around the world
These special racing cars represent cutting edge technology. The race tracks in 8 different countries are the proving grounds for top performance by pilots, pit crews, and race engineering. Stars like Marc Webber, Nick Heidfeld, Alexander Wurz and Patrick Demspey continue to compete for the championship title. “The whole project was very special for us, not every handling company has the privilege to work the WEC operation. Having all the state-of-the-art cars and equipment inside our facility being prepared for flight was a remarkable experience from start to takeoff” says VG Cargo Chief Operations Officer, Mr. Gornak. The race around the world goes to Japan next for the “6 hours of Fuji” on the 11th of October then to China for “6 hours of Shanghai” (1st of Nov.) then “6 Hours of Bahrain” on the 21st of November. “We are looking forward to seeing the cars in action” Hahn Airport spokeswoman Hanna Koch told CargoForwarder Global.
Teamwork vs. competition
The international teams worked in sync, carefully orchestrating the entire process and using the universal language of air cargo and logistics to communicate clearly and to beat the clock. The competition on the track is exciting and for the logistic and cargo professionals involved the team spirit plays a significant role. “There is extraordinary team spirit at the racetrack and it is always a special moment for me, when the cars are on time and in place on the grid and that everything worked according to plan,” says Mrs. Splettstoesser. CFG asked Christina if there was anything she would like to say to other women. “I have been working in this male-dominated sector for a long time and have had no problems. Even if women are not as well represented, you can feel this starting to change.
Most importantly, it is my opinion that every person who has a passion for motorsport, can work successfully in this career field be it man or woman.”
CargoForwarder Global Special Correspondent: Michael K. Taweel