Transporting V8 Supercars has moved to new design heights with the latest designs of Graham Lusty Trailers
Over the last few years, I’ve had the pleasure of showcasing a few race transporters from many different categories of racing. The first of these was the Triple Eight Race Engineering Red Bull Racing transporter around four years ago, and, with those trailers recently being updated, I was recently lucky enough to be asked along to have a look at the replacement trailers. As far as custom trailers go, you would be hard pushed to find a more bespoke B-double combination on Australian roads.
Built by Graham Lusty Trailers in Brisbane, the new Red Bull Holden Racing Team transporter has been designed from the ground up to work not only on the way to the track, but also provide a comfortable and quiet environment for the team while they are there. Importantly, it also looks the part while performing either role, and drew quite a crowd on its first outing to Perth’s Barbagallo Raceway in early May.
At first glance, the new transporter doesn’t look that different from the others in the Supercars paddock. Underneath, though, things are very different. For a start, these trailers are built of aluminium, reducing the tare weight by almost five tonnes over the previous combination.
Graham Lusty Trailers has years of experience in building aluminium trailers, and this shows through the quality fit and finish throughout these units. But there is more to the story on these trailers than a simple tare weight reduction, with a host of features built into these trailers that took months of work to incorporate into the design.
Both trailers have a solid upper floor, which is dedicated to providing space for team members while at the track.
The upper level on the A-trailer contains the drivers’ room, with plenty of space to relax and unwind before or after a race. In here you will find storage compartments for each individual driver’s clothing, race suits and helmets, a huge lounge and an in-built ice bath mounted beneath the floor.
The top deck of the B-trailer provides space and facilities for the team engineers and support crew to analyse data and work on strategy in a peaceful, but luxurious, environment. This area doesn’t run the full length of the trailer, providing enough space to fit one of the Red Bull Racing cars in behind, leaving the lower level clear for tool boxes and equipment. Both trailers are fitted with their own independent Wi-Fi, power and communications equipment, making them truly self-sufficient.
With all of this space taken up for on-track use, there was a need to increase the amount of interior space to accommodate all of the racing related equipment en-route. The solution came in the form of being able to literally raise the roof. The ability to lift the roof on each trailer meant the upper floor could be built higher into the trailers, thus allowing more space for the gear below. Lifting the roof not only increases the headroom on the upper floors, but also exposes a row of windows along each side that allows plenty of light to come into what would otherwise be a dark space. These windows are made from the same glass that you would find in the windows of a passenger train, and are double glazed to provide the benefit of both heat and sound insulation. Insulation in the walls and roof combine with in-built air conditioning units to maintain a comfortable temperature within the trailers.
The lower level of the A-trailer is purely cargo space, with a large side-lifter to enable easy loading and unloading. Some heavier items are loaded up the front, before the gooseneck, and so a power operated engine lift is fitted in the floor to help with the heavy lifting. When not in use, it simply drops into the floor, providing a smooth level from front to back. With no locker boxes beneath the floor, the floor height has been brought down much lower than was the case with the design of the older set, further increasing the amount of storage space available for larger items.
The lower deck of the B-trailer is flat, from the tailgate to the side door, with a workbench dedicated to building suspension components in the forward section. The rear tailgate is used to lift equipment up to floor level, with most of it being mounted on wheels and simply rolled into place. As mentioned earlier, one of the team’s cars travels on the upper deck, and is also loaded using the tailgate.
While a lot of these features are common on race transporters, the method of operating them is very different on these trailers.
All of the functions on these trailers are operated remotely, using the in-built Wi-Fi and an iPad or similar device. In the case of these trailers, transporter driver, Warick, can operate it all from his own smartphone. The system operates virtually every moveable part on the trailers, including the toolbox doors, tailgate, engine lifter, and even the landing legs. It also raises the roof and operates the folding stairs that allow access to the upper levels. Fitted with an on-board battery system, the various features can be operated even without the generator running or mains power connected. The system is also fitted with isolator switches to eliminate any accidental or unwanted operation while in transit.
In terms of overall storage, the new trailers are down a little on the previous set, which have now become the Team Vortex transporter. Given that Triple Eight Race Engineering run both teams, a little load sharing between the two combinations sees all the equipment get to the track on time and intact. While they may provide less load space, they do provide many advantages in terms of team and driver comfort, ease of operation and facilities.
These new trailers not only represent the flashiest bit of gear in the Supercars paddock, but also the ability of Australian manufacturing. Graham Lusty Trailers has created a few specialised race transporters recently, with these being the latest and greatest to roll out of their factory so far. The build quality, features and presentation on these trailers are world class, and a real credit to both Triple Eight Race Engineering and Graham Lusty Trailers. I’m guessing this won’t be the last set of Graham Lusty Trailers we see in the paddock in the future.