The Dark Art of Track Prep

Where racetrack preparation is concerned, absolutely nothing should be left to chance! Everything in between the two barriers is, quite rightly, the holy grail for a race weekend. Without a perfect racetrack not only do you potentially risk accidents and injury to the participants but you are also risking the enjoyment for the fans, both around the world and in the grandstand, as track time is curtailed or overtaking limited. It never fails to astound us how many venues seem to demonstrate either a lack of attention to detail where the preparation, maintenance and on-going cleanliness of the track is concerned, or they simply haven’t had the right training. We see time and time again that track sessions are delayed (F1 qualifying in Brazil last weekend for example) or there is a lack of overtaking opportunities due to dirtiness off the racing line (Indonesia MotoGP a few weeks ago). Over the course of this season alone we’ve seen drivers, riders and the media criticise a number of tracks because the racing surface needs attention. Track preparation and care is an integral part of a circuit safety plan, and its importance cannot be under estimated. Our track operation teams have a wealth of experience inspecting, identifying, and addressing the issues that many tracks seem to succumb to. Over the last 11 years we have managed circuits in some incredibly difficult locations including in the middle of deserts, sites surrounded by ongoing construction (with the associated debris) and sites with challenging ground water levels to name a few. Mrk1 invest a lot of time and energy on training programs for our clients and the devil is in the detail. If circuit staff don’t spot a rogue nail or screw dropped by a contractor or pick up on the carbon fibre debris from an earlier accident or don’t monitor the weather patterns for excessive dust, dirt, or rain then something needs to change with the tracks operating procedures. Similarly, if a venue doesn’t invest in the right equipment, then quite often what appears to be “track cleaning” is little more than moving the problem around and not actually fixing it. First and foremost, regular and thorough inspections are essential. These can’t be done from a car, golf buggy or quad but must be done by walking the track. It is essential that the staff also know what they are looking for! If your track team spot a patch of fluid on the track, can they tell the difference between oil, water, petrol, diesel or brake fluid and do they know the appropriate action to take? Do they realise the significance of the paint flaking from a kerb or the cracking that has started to appear? When they drive an opening or closing lap to the track, do they feel that new bump in the surface? Inspections and remedial actions must be part of a facilities standard operating procedures. Once any issues have been identified, our teams are trained to deploy a range of specialist skills and equipment including FODBOSS, TrackJet, leaf blowers, absorbent materials, specialist paint, asphalt and concrete repair chemicals or sometimes just using good old-fashioned brooms. Of course, track prep isn’t just about the race weekend itself. More serious issues occur over time such as bumps or degradation in grip levels. This is another area where Mrk1 utilises its expertise to identify, mitigate against or correct potential problems before they create an impact on the biggest events of the year. When clients spend multiple millions of dollars on a race track it deserves to be cared for in the best possible way. It is imperative that tracks hosting world championship events take a close look at how they construct and then maintain their most important asset. It is critical that circuits get the right skill sets in place to ensure that they aren’t left with unnecessary repair bills, costly reputational damage, and perhaps even fines from the FIA or FIM because they didn’t invest in the right training and knowledge transfer programs for their people. Mrk1 are the world’s leading track operation company, and we pride ourselves on our highly successful knowledge transfer and training programs. Feel free to reach out to us with your enquiries and concerns and to talk about how we can assist you in the future. Contact –

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