Paddock Life – DTM, Brands Hatch

Although my alarm was set for 5.50am, I was wide awake for the best part of an hour before that in anticipation of the biggest event on my working calendar.

Brand Hatch had been transformed into little Germany for the weekend and boy don’t they go to town! The week before, I was there working the BARC Dunlop meeting and the circuit was already teeming with German workers, piecing together their huge travelling circus. Nothing however, could have prepared me for the scale of the circus when we rolled up, midmorning on Thursday. Huge two storey hospitality units were next to the main grandstand for Audi and BMW with two more set further back for Mercedes and for the DTM race organisers.

Upon arriving in the outer paddock (our place of work for the weekend), most of the overseas based championships had already arrived and were setting up. We started preparing for the two championships that we were to look after, Formula Ford and Volkswagon UK Cup. Parking up for these two championships was 2pm, giving us 3 hours to get everything ready.

After a manic three hours or so, everything was where we needed it to be. Our part of the paddock was looking very smart, especially compared to what our continental counterparts had managed. It was safe to say that our lines of trucks were far more in line than theirs, (not that it was a competition).

With only a quarter of the paddock to look after, the rest of the time was spent just being on duty, in case of any problems from any of the teams, MSVR or DTM. This included setting up an arm wrestling arena where the ‘British Legends’ competing in the Sirocco Cup could do battle on German TV. The legends comprised of, Damon Hill, Martin Donnelly, Julian Bailey, Perry McCarty, Mark Blundell and David Brabham (I know, he’s an Ozzie!)

It was great to be able to work and chat with these guys, all were enjoying themselves and were having a real laugh. Along with these legends, there was plenty of other ex F1 drivers around. DC and Ralf Schumacher were, in and out on their scooters all the time. Plus current F1 drivers, Jenson Button and Paul di Resta came along for the weekend.

The rest of the time, we could enjoy a little bit of track action. This was my first experience of DTM and in terms of speed, they didn’t disappoint!

I now have two weeks off, my next event will be the British Touring Car Championship from Oulton Park. If you’re going, make sure you come and say hello.

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