THE PEOPLE WHO HELP RACING TO GO GLOBAL
HOW ONE COMPANY HELPS KEEP THE ILMC SERIES IN THE AIR AND ON TRACK CHEDBURGH, SUFFOLK N MARCH 19, 53 CARS LINED UP on the grid at the Sebring 12 Hours. On May 8, 4281 miles away, the same cars competed at
Spa-Francorchamps for the Six Hour race. The Intercontinental Le Mans Cup calendar takes in six countries around the world and the cars get to the races without us or certainly me giving it a second thought.
CARS (Classic Automotive Relocation Services clever eh?) is in charge of transporting the ILMC cars to non-European races, and it’s quite a job. For Sebring alone 160 tonnes of machinery was flown to America, which meant chartering a 747. That’s after lots of other equipment was sent by boat. The privateer teams took roughly three tonnes each while some of the factory outfits notched up over 40 tonnes. “We only got confirmation that we were the official transport provider for the series at the end of January, so it was a rush to get everything ready for Sebring,” says James Walker. The marketing, PR and ‘special project’ man from CARS is a jack-of-all-trades. The company employs around 30 people and despite the relative calm in the
Suffolk office Walker tells me everyone is flat out.
“We’re really busy as not only do we do ILMC, we cater for everyone down to the guy who wants his Mini Cooper sent from London to Brighton. For Pebble Beach we’ll be sending about 10 cars over to the USA, we took 45 to the Mille Miglia, 65 cars to the Bonhams Grand Palais auction and we’ve got the Peking to Paris to think about as well.
“The ILMC is a real challenge, though, as we’re dealing with teams from all over the world. It’s a coordination effort, really, and much of it is dealing with bureaucracy and officious customs people.
“We’ve got a fleet of trucks and each one is insured at £20 million. That covers pretty much everything, although we went to Retromobile this year and after we put three cars in one truck we had to stop because it would have exceeded the insurance cover!”
It may seem as though the cars appear magically at Sebring, Le Mans or in China. However when you next see them peel out of the pitlane spare a thought for the company that got them there. It requires a serious amount of logistics.