From accountancy to engineering, Charley Webster-Clarke’s path to being a quantity two technician is definitely an uncommon one. She is now a part of EXCELR8 Motorsport’s MINI CHALLENGE workforce, working for the squad at British Touring Automotive Championship occasions. We spoke to her to seek out out what the job includes and how one can swap careers with the fitting dedication.
What’s the position of a quantity two technician?
The principle factor is to comply with what the primary technician asks of you. One factor I’ve realized is you may be as concerned as you need to be. I’ve discovered at EXCELR8, the extra I ask, the extra I be taught.
Among the essential duties are fuelling, cleansing, brake pad altering, jacking up the automotive, and doing the wheel modifications. If you unfold that over all of the workforce’s automobiles, you’re shocked by how busy that retains you for a weekend – folks don’t realise, till you’re right here, how a lot is concerned. For instance, we do about 100 wheel modifications a day.
How do you change into a quantity two technician?
I really feel my route has been a bit of bit totally different. I already knew Andy [Menzies, team manager, who is involved in the University of Derby’s motorsport course] at EXCELR8 by college and he supplied me the chance primarily based on my dedication and fervour. It’s not a straightforward trade to crack. Lots of people are inclined to do volunteering and ask for alternatives simply to get their foot within the door. If it’s a ardour, you don’t see it as a weekend of labor – it’s extra play than it’s work.
Motorsport is aggressive from begin to end, individuals are angling for the job roles but when you may get your foot in and show your self, it’s not so onerous. I’ve acquired no work expertise – something I do know is from my very own builds. It actually doesn’t matter the place you come from – my background is accounting. You don’t should go to school, you possibly can come from the trade, you possibly can come from motoring or you possibly can come from nothing relatable in any respect. So long as your coronary heart’s in it, it actually doesn’t matter.
What different expertise are helpful?
You might want to be very ahead considering as a result of issues are continuously altering and also you additionally must be fairly revolutionary and adaptive. You might want to be motivated – if you happen to’re not devoted and motivated, you received’t put up with the hours on race weekends. I feel the principle factor is dedication. If folks can see your ardour and your coronary heart in it, you’re going to get alternatives.
What does a race weekend appear to be for you?
I often get right here on a Thursday afternoon, by which era the awning arrange is almost achieved and I’d assist end any arrange. We often get again to the lodge at 7/8pm at night time.
On Friday, we’re often on the monitor from 7am and we do any closing automotive preparation, test the camber, test the toe, set the suspension clicks. It’s in all probability the toughest day since you’re within the pitlane and the drivers need as a lot time on monitor as they will get to optimise their set-up and really feel comfy within the automotive, so every little thing is so fast. We in all probability change wheels 4 or 5 occasions. As quantity two, when the driving force is available in, your position is jacking the automotive up after which helping with the wheel change.
As soon as we are available in from FP1, I jack the automotive up onto axle stands, we take away the bonnet and put a canopy over any uncovered gadgets that will give away car set-up. We drain the gas, log the gas used after which refuel prepared for the subsequent session. You must clear the automotive and assist with any modifications to the set-up, brake pad modifications and brake bleeds and clearly test over the automotive. The air filters want cleansing and it’s the identical after FP2. All of the automobiles may also go onto a flat patch after every session to ensure the set-up is precisely as we would like or make any modifications the engineers ask for. Friday is often an 8pm or 9pm end.
The Saturday is much more annoying. Beginning at 7am, we’re doing any closing preparations to the automobiles, doing the engine and gearbox checks and set-up. When the drivers are out in qualifying, we’ve a run plan to comply with and we’re egging them on from the pitwall. It’s then again to the awning and it’s time to test the automobiles over once more and put together them for the primary race. The drivers give a variety of suggestions they usually may need to make changes.
There’s usually a variety of contact in the course of the races so there may be some bodywork repairs to do or vinyl wrapping or stickers to exchange. The night end tends to be quite a bit later – we begin leaving at possibly 8pm or 9pm, however typically it’s 10pm. On my first weekend, the quantity ones stayed late to do an engine swap. I stayed behind that day to watch however I realized quite a bit.
On Sunday, it’s the identical course of another time till the tip of the ultimate race once we begin to pack down. On a Sunday, I’m often on my manner house by 8pm. However it’s by no means the identical – as a lot because it’s very repetitive work, it’s by no means the identical race weekend. If you get into it, and issues begin occurring, it’s such a unique ballgame to what it appears to be like like on paper.
What number of different individuals are concerned within the workforce?
We’ve the workforce principal and workforce supervisor/engineer and two knowledge engineers. There’s a primary technician per automotive and we often have six automobiles throughout two awnings. There’s a head technician for every awning, who additionally do the gearbox and differential rebuilds and oversees components. There’s then one quantity two technician per two automobiles – I’m with Dan Zelos and Jason Lockwood this season. There’s additionally a tyre engineer and assistant per awning.
Your job position is what you’re ready to tackle. If folks don’t assist out, and will not be working as a workforce, then issues will disintegrate. As soon as I’ve completed my duties, I’ll assist out elsewhere as wanted.
Do you suppose extra girls ought to become involved in these roles?
It’s an enormous disgrace there’s not as many ladies. Any lady who needs to do it, even when they haven’t labored within the automotive or motorsport trade, don’t let it cease you. I’m 25 and I spent seven years doing accounting.
You’ll get stronger each weekend. I take my hat off to everybody at EXCELR8 due to the persistence they’ve had. So long as you’ve acquired these key traits of ardour and dedication, that’s most necessary. Even if you happen to’ve acquired a profession in place, if you happen to actually need to do that, it’s not too late. Everybody ought to be doing what they need – you should chase and imagine in your goals.