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Altogether now After years of working from multiple sites, the crack single-seater squad Carlin Motorsport is now under one roof in a brand-new factory WORDS BY GRAHAM HEEPS
Overview of the race shop. Note the Focus touring car: the Arena WTCC team is also part of Capsicum Motorsport, but based elsewhere
April-June 2012 |
Carlin Motorsport is long established as one of the world’s top single-seater race teams, with the stats to back up its success: 175 drivers have passed through its ranks; it has notched up 200-plus race wins; and in 2011 took championship victories in British F3 and World Series by Renault. Some four years ago, Carlin expanded to take over the former Brabham and Yamaha factory in Chessington, southwest London, in addition to its main premises in Aldershot, Hampshire (see PMW, September-October 2008). Now, its F3, GP3, World Series and GP2 teams have been located together for the first time in a brand-new, purpose-built factory in Farnham, just a few miles from the team’s former home in Aldershot. These days Carlin is part of Graham Chilton’s Capsicum Motorsport organization, which also owns the Arena touring car team that will race the Ford Focus in WTCC this season. Capsicum has invested £2 million into Carlin’s new facility, into which the team moved at the end of 2011 following a 10-month design-andbuild process. The heart of the 483m2 building is a race shop that provides a home for the F3 and GP3 cars on one side, the ‘bigger brother’ World Series and GP2 Dallaras on the other. On a practical level, this makes it easy for information, tools, equipment, presentation ideas, and the rest, to be shared between the different teams. And with some of the mechanics new to a particular car this year, it’s easy for them to get help and advice from their predecessors who might only be in the next bay across, rather than 30 miles away. “It’s crucial to have everybody together because you get the cross-fertilization between the teams,” stresses team principal, Trevor Carlin. “Another important factor was to ensure that every department had an area to do every job properly, and the guys the tools to do their jobs easily. “I was worried about putting Chessington and Aldershot together – possible personality clashes for example – but it hasn’t happened, everyone has got on brilliantly. It’s reinforced the sense that we’re one team, with good team spirit – we just happen to run four separate championships.” The upper storey wraps around the race shop in a C-shape, allowing the transporters to back in through one of two loading doors to load or
www.pmw-magazine.com | April-June 2012
discharge their cargo either into the race shop, or directly onto a first-floor platform. Behind the race shop is the technical complex, including preparation shops for the production of carbon parts, a pattern shop, machine shop, subassembly area large enough to build up an entire rear-end, and the ovens and autoclave. The bulk of the equipment and machine tools therein are ex-Chessington, as is the surface table for measuring chassis stiffness. “Chessington was a bit of a rabbit warren, having been repeatedly extended, and was 50 years old,” says Trevor Carlin. “We had a chance to bring all of that kit and put it in here [Farnham]; it’s all good kit, so why not use it? There’s no point throwing it away.” Chessington’s ace card was its third-scale wind tunnel. Carlin originally planned to integrate that into the new building – it was designed to be high enough – but the area required would have compromised the space available for the race shop. Not wishing to split the cars up so soon after reuniting them, Carlin has leased an empty industrial unit in nearby Alton, where the ex-Brabham tunnel is currently being reassembled horizontally, at 90° to its former position. “At the moment we’re concentrating on getting it built, then we’ll look at the measuring equipment and stuff,” he says, hinting at the potential for future upgrades. “Initially, we need to get it up and running in the same form
Everything in place Carlin turned to System Store Solutions to deliver a bespoke workshop solution in the Farnham race shop. The result is a clean and efficient working environment that matches the standards of today’s F1 team race bays. It was down to F3 race engineer, Mark Owen to facilitate the refurbishments. He worked with David Price, MD at System Store, on the layout design in preparation for the
Below: Exterior view of the new factory. Note the twin loading bays
Above: Felipe Nasr’s 2011 title-winning F3 car in reception. Right: F3 wind tunnel model awaits its tunnel calibration task. Far right: World Series tub on the surface table
April-June 2012 |
installation of new Fami cabinets, worktops and units. Each car has its own bay and units, including all electrical and compressed air outlets, located to provide the technicians with the most efficient work bay possible.
it was before. The old [F3] model is there, with all the figures to validate it. For sure, having moved it, the readings will change; we just have to get a baseline again. But it’s pretty bullet-proof that tunnel; I’m sure it’ll survive the trip!” The rooms to assemble the tunnel models are located upstairs at Farnham, along with a canteen, trophy-laden office area, bodywork
“I am absolutely delighted with the finished workshops and the work System Store has done for us,” says Trevor Carlin. “As a team, we pride ourselves on producing motorsport’s racing stars, and the workshops now reflect this.”
and tire storage, and a simulator room. The latter facility is a static item for now, but there’s a large area of floorspace set aside for a more ambitious simulator in the future. Any such tool is very likely to be developed in partnership with BRD/ PureTech Racing, the former PMW Expo Award-winning company, which has been a technology partner of Carlin for the past two years. <
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