If rallying is anything, it is unpredictable. WRC teams like ours have to be prepared for any eventuality. Our composites team plays a key role in ensuring we can fight strongly to the finish in every event whatever happens along the way!
Their ultimate responsibility is to build and rebuild the many parts that make up our car. In the tough WRC environment, even the smallest of errors can result in damage; its the job of our composites team to put things right.
Made up of model makers, laminators and a department leader, they are on hand during rally events to fix any parts. Repairs must be carried out to exacting FIA standards, but also with the safety of the drivers, marshals and fans in mind.
It is a role that requires creativity, technical knowledge as well as an ability to imagine in 3D. There are no templates when it comes to repair work. Each person in the department needs to appreciate the amount of work that is needed, as well as time management skills to carry it out.
It is not possible simply to copy from an original, as this requires a longer-lead pre-preg process. With repairs, our team works with wet laminate combined with a vacuum that needs a different approach.
In between rallies, the ability to work well under pressure is important. Like all other departments in our company, there is often only a short time in between events. It could be as few as four days to enact all repairs for assembly in the workshop, and delivery of spare parts to freight for the next event.
Working closely with our designers, composites colleagues also create prototypes out of initial concepts to gauge their feasibility as functioning parts for the car. Once a prototype part is created, it is evaluated on a test car before being put into production on the actual rally car. Close co-operation with the test and race teams, as well as engineers and electronics, ensures the process runs smoothly.
They also have their own store to keep a clear overview of the composite parts already in stock, liaising with our purchase team for orders.
All team members are actively involved in daily planning of their tasks, as well as liaising with numerous other departments within our company. It is essential that the information flow goes in all directions, working hand-in-hand with colleagues in other areas of the factory.
There is a strong team spirit and work ethic running through composites that allows them to thrive in pressured circumstances. With a well-experienced and versatile team at hand, everyone ensures that whatever the issue, it will be solved.