Big Brother. Check Out the Service Truck

Big Brother. Check Out the Service Truck

It’s a twenty-metre long rolling workshop, thought out to the last centimetre. Each of the thousand tools and spare parts has its exact place and purpose. It’s the largest member of the ŠKODA Motorsport team.

8. 8. 2018 Lifestyle Motorsport

It carries so many parts that you could build two complete racing cars. It has its own power station, a tank with 450 litres of water for washing the cars, a lathe, a grinder, vices, a tyre changer, 200 litres of racing fuel, 50 tyres, and, in the trailer, space for two FABIA R5s. During a race, it also serves as a workstation for up to 20 mechanics. The ŠKODA Motorsport service truck is custom-built and is the result of many years of experience.


Every last inch of space in the truck is put to use. For example, note the carefully stacked batteries in the chargers on the right.

“We’ve been fine-tuning the interior for the past 15 years. It’s based on our experience of which things we need to take out the fastest, which the most often, and how to be as efficient as possible,” says Miroslav Šlambora, coordinator of racing car construction and service facilities.

Miroslav Šlambora
coordinator of racing car construction and service facilities


One of those legendary Simply Clever solutions to save precious time – battery-powered tools located outside the truck are at the mechanics’ fingertips. 

When service breaks are limited to 30-45 minutes, every second counts, so any needless move can be costly. The battery-powered drills and tighteners are hung on reliable Velcro right on the truck door, for example, and spare batteries and chargers are located right opposite them. Mechanics can change batteries within 30 seconds.


A place for everything, no matter how small. As you can see from this perfectly arranged drawer of fittings.   

Rescue station

All the components are perfectly sorted in endless compartments, drawers, and cabinets, and it’s plain to see that team members can find anything they need with their eyes shut. There are even larger components – the team even carries 12 front bumpers to a race. “Tyres aside, the bumper is the most used part. It’s always the first to get damaged at any race. And it can take a beating, even if it doesn’t look like it. If it gets damaged, though, it’s better to replace it and repair it by the next service stop so that it works as it should. It’s important, for example, to ensure that air can pass through to cool the brakes,” Šlambora explains.


As you can see from this perfectly arranged drawer of fittings.   

If a damaged race car manages to make it back to the service zone, the truck team can deal with almost anything within half an hour. “As long as the protective frame isn’t damaged, we can get the car back into enough shape to continue the race and even win. We can replace the transmission, axles, differentials, wings, and we even carry two complete sets of spare doors in the truck. We also carry a roof, even though this is trickier to replace,” says Šlambora. A number of parts are also pre-assembled, because sometimes it’s easier to replace an entire unit than just a specific part. If there’s a problem with the steering, for instance, it’s faster to replace the entire axle housing at once.


An ample supply of front bumpers is stored at the top of the truck. They must be kept in perfect shape.

And why does the truck carry so much water for washing, when a car race isn’t a beauty pageant? To avoid chaos during a race, there has to be strict order and cleanliness. During a service stop, the race cars are always perfectly cleaned inside and out. This helps to detect any wear and tear in time, while increasing the comfort and concentration of the crew, to keep them from having to breathe in dust and to spare the co-driver’s vocal cords. The same strict rules apply to the service truck. “It’s our workplace, and it reflects on our level of professionalism,” says Šlambora.


More important than ever before

The complexity and demands of this mobile service facility have steadily increased over the years, and with it the demands placed on the truck’s equipment. During races in the past, the truck would drive from place to place, service breaks were relatively short, and since more complicated repairs couldn’t be handled on the spot, the trucks contained less equipment. And, Šlambora explains, it wasn’t so important to keep the cars in perfect condition. Today, with large service zones, the teams can prepare for relatively serious damage and send the race car back out into battle.


Replacement exhaust pipes and turbocharger manifolds in the background.   

And the biggest adventure when travelling with the service truck? “Driving on  to a boat is usually pretty difficult. As our truck has minimum headroom, we need a low approach angle so that we don’t damage the cases suspended underneath. We need the operator to assist us using wedges and cables. This is when everybody gets a bit nervous all around. It used to be a bigger problem 15 years ago, but now the harbours tend to be prepared. Another problem is when we go to Sweden or somewhere where there’s snow – it’s not easy to handle such a big vehicle. We need to be careful where we park and where we drive, to keep from slipping and turning over. Sometimes it gets pretty tense, but so far we’ve managed to come out on top,” recalls Šlambora.


Motor oil tanks

The ŠKODA Motorsport team is now in the process of completing a new truck, which will be available this summer. The present truck has been on the road for 15 years now, and it received a new body four years ago. But as you can see for yourself – it still looks like new. Šlambora already knows what he wants to improve in the new truck, such as the access to the jacks that lift the race cars. They’ll be moved from inside the truck to exterior cabinets to make them easier to get to and where they won’t have to be carried so much. Who knows, those extra few seconds might just come in handy sometime soon…


Technical specifications