IndyCar teams prepare for fly-away race to Brazil
More than 400,000 total pounds will be swallowed by two Nippon Cargo Air 747-400F planes for the 5,000-plus-mile trip between Indianapolis and São Paulo, Brazil - the initial logistical stage of conducting the Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle on April 29.
Race cars, a Holmatro Safety Team truck and equipment for two more, pit and scrutineering equipment, tools, rain tires and consumables will be weighed, wrapped, stacked and set in a staging area this weekend at Indianapolis International Airport by INDYCAR and DB Schenker personnel in a free-form ballet of forklifts and 18-wheelers.
On April 22, the two behemoth cargo planes will take off for Viracopos-Campinas International Airport in the state of São Paulo. Firestone Firehawk slicks, fuel and Dallara parts and equipment departed via ocean cargo vessel last month.
The freight is then transferred to trucks to continue the journey to the Anhembi complex in the north-central section of the largest city in South America. Manifests are checked and spot customs inspections are conducted at the venue in time for team personnel to unpack the next day and begin preparations for the race weekend.
Cargo provisions recently were made for a 27th entry, the No. 25 Andretti Autosport car to be driven by Ana Beatriz in her "home" race, as a promoter's selection. Also, slight modifications were made to the car racks to accommodate the new Dallara chassis (most entrants will pack only one car).
"In the past we were able to mount wings on the car rack, but with different configurations this year we're not able to do that," INDYCAR director of operations Bill van de Sandt said. "The front wings will be on the car itself and teams have made the frames designed by Bryan Herta Autosport. The rear-wheel guard is disassembled and put in with rest of cargo."
DB Schenker has been associated with INDYCAR since 2009, providing logistics for the Honda Accord Safety Cars between North American event venues. Its role expanded in 2010 with oversight of the event logistics for the inaugural race on the streets of São Paulo.
"It's multiple processes, but it's very well-organized," van de Sandt said. "The cooperation of the governments, the help of DB Schenker and the airlines works very well. It's a process that is very effective and efficient."