Have you ever wondered how we transport three cars, the contents of two garages and all of the equipment required for a successful Supercars race across the ditch?
Well if you have, you’re in luck because we spoke to Triple Eight Race Engineering Workshop Manager Kris “Gooey” Goos, aka “The Tetris King”, to tell us all about the intricate world of packing and unpacking containers.
And we start with the fact that the transporters don’t actually get to go on an airplane or to NZ at all…
That’s right; we fly everything that’s supposed to be in the transporters over to Pukekohe in containers, without the transporters.
“We used to be able to just take the trucks over and it was pretty simple, it would all go over on sea freight,” Gooey said.
“However, it’s obviously quite time consuming and more expensive.
“The weight of the transporters themselves is about 55 tonne a pop, so it blows it out when we’re going by weight limits.
“We started using the air freight in 2005 and we’ve been to New Zealand ever since with just the containers.”
It’s basically a big game of Tetris but with all sorts oddly shaped pieces of equipment and not a whole lot of time.
“Once you’ve seen them completely packed, they’re dead set full,” he said.
“If there’s a space that’s 20cm square, then it’s going to be used. It takes a bit of experience to get it right.”
Although it sounds like a huge mission, it’s much more efficient than sea freight considering the weight and time constraints.
“We’re on a tight turnaround with just four days after the Gold Coast 600 – so it’s much quicker than a normal pack.
“The containers got here on Tuesday morning and by Friday arvo they’re packed and leaving again.
“There really isn’t any need for the transporters, it would just be a nicety, but it’s so much quicker without them.”
In saying that, we still have to ensure we’ve got everything we need and prioritisation is a huge player in this Tetris game.
“We do have to prioritise a fair few things – it’s going to take longer over there because you just don’t have the ability or space for some things.
“Everyone is in the same boat and we do share things around a little bit – some teams will take a crimper while we might take a welder.”
And considering the game we’re in, we need to be prepared for whatever is thrown at us and multiply that by three, to cover our whole team.
“In 2015, we had to pull an all-nighter on Craig’s car, and dead set the whole team worked through the night, it was a memorable moment because we finished P1 and P2 and it was completely worth it.
“We were in the championship hunt and it was simple enough to get done but if we didn’t have all those spare parts, we wouldn’t have got there.
“So essentially, you need to have enough to repair all three cars.”
And after all of that, the whole process just ramps up a little bit more on the way home…
“Coming back, the pack is not quite the same because it effectively takes three days to pack them before you go.
“But then, we have about five hours on Sunday night post-race to pack them up again.
“It’s quick and time is of the essence, that’s for sure.”
So there you have it – the ins and outs of our little Tetris game… No room for overweight baggage charges this week!