At the starting line with DTM Mercedes AMG C-Class Coupés.
Power screwdrivers screeching, then torque limiters rattling – this sequence of noises regularly breaks into the peace and quiet on the HWA AG premises in Affalterbach near Stuttgart. In a temporary pit stop there is a Mercedes AMG C-Class Coupé. Above the top of the car: a metal rod with four tubes hanging from it. On the ends of the tubes there are compressed air impact wrenches which four mechanics use again and again to change the tyres. It takes them about three seconds. In a few more days the new German Touring Car Championship (DTM) season is due to start. In the evening, the team sets off for the Hockenheimring where the starting shot will be fired for the first race. Until then they will use every spare minute to work at achieving the best possible result.
Six Actros transport trucks.
“At the races everything is very tight. It’s vital that every little task at the pit stop is practised until it’s down to a fine art,” said Michael Schleehauf. Aged 46, he is one of the 42-strong team in action on race weekends. A trained car mechanic, up until two years ago he was changing tyres himself. He has now stepped aside to make space for his younger colleagues. But at the races he is still active, as the “catcher” for the tyres removed at the pit stops. Also, he drives one of the six Actros trucks that transport all the equipment needed at a race. That includes bolts and also engines and gearboxes. The most important elements also fit in the trucks: the four racing cars of the two AMG teams looked after by HWA.
The Actros trucks are the team's centrepiece,
On site, the Actros is transformed from a means of transport into a mobile headquarters and command centre complete with warehouse and places for the engineers to work. A massage room and resting places for the racing drivers are also located inside the trailers.
'The Actros trucks are the centrepiece of our team on race weekends. We'd be lost without them,' said Ulrich Fritz, a HWA board member.
Absolute reliability is required.
The trucks need to be extremely reliable. That applies both to the relatively short drive to Hockenheim in Baden-Württemberg and to the 2600 kilometre journey to Moscow. Last season, the Russian capital was included in the DTM calendar for the first time. Even slight delays or breakdowns en route could create chaos to the tight schedule and endanger the success of the racing team.
This season, however, HWA remains confident that it will continue to be the most successful participant in the history of the DTM. Fritz said: “This success is only possible because everyone is an absolute professional in their own sphere. That goes for our fleet too. That is why we rely on the Actros.”