Ask Team Aon

The 2012 FIA World Touring Car Championship season marks Team Aon’s first year in the prestigious series and having made the move from the BTCC we knew that our fans had a few questions they’ve wanted to ask for a while. And so you sent us the questions and it’s time for you to take to the floor….

Daniel Nijveldt (@nijvnet)

What are Team Aon’s future plans for the WTCC?

ME (Mike Earle): This season is about learning about the championship and working with two young, new drivers in the WTCC to learn new circuits.  In 2013 we’re aiming to be regularly challenging for the podium and by 2014 we want to be challenging for wins and hopefully the championship.

Lara Nuthall (@LaraBTCC)

It must have been quite a change going from the BTCC to the WTCC how have the team and drivers found the transition?

AC (Alan Cole – Team Manager) : It’s been a learning curve with so many little bits and pieces which are different from the BTCC. But the guys are enjoying it a lot. The championship is very well organised as well as very tough but you don’t mind that because you’re competing and that’s what you enjoy.

Michael Leaver (@mike_a_l)

How many and which components had to be changed on the car the BTCC to the WTCC?

AC: A lot, I couldn’t count them off the top of my head! The main things we had to change was the rear trailing arm as well as the way that we manufacture the front upright brackets and all the other components around it. But really there is so much that has had to be changed and we’ve had to learn for this year.

Char (@CharmaineElaine)

What kind of experience do you need to work as part of a successful touring car team?

AC: You need a background in the area you want to work in, be that electronics, fabricating or as a mechanic. However you can’t do this job without dedication or passion so that’s also essential to contribute to becoming a successful team.

Charlotte (@charliechewett)

Is working in the team like one big family?

AC: Yes! We spend so much time together back in the factory and then when we’re away. We travel together, eat our meals together, work together and share hotel rooms when we’re away so you see a lot of each other.  As a team we have so many good times but, as in every family, there are also the little arguments – which get easily forgotten within minutes!

Shannon Kay (@shannonkaaay)

Who in the team keeps everyone entertained and why?

AC: JC (Jon Caller) has got to be the main contender for this one! He loves taking part in the £10 challenge. The team think of different things they can challenge him with and if he’s successful he wins the money.

Danielle (@twilightdani)

What is the hardest part of being a newly established WTCC team?

AC: I think probably the lack of knowledge in comparison to the other teams. We’ve never competed at these circuits before so we come to them without a database from which to draw our information. Also elements like getting to grips with the tyres however every time we run we learn something new so can add that to our expanding knowledge from this season.

Amanda Hughes (@amandabzwl)

How do you transport cars from one country to the next?

Team Aon: During the European races we have two race trucks which transport the cars and spares, as well as all the tools and other bits and pieces we need to get out on track and build a garage for a race weekend. When we travel further afield things are a little bit different because we have to pack the cars into freight to flown/shipped which means sending them off much earlier. Then of course because you’re leaving so early you have to make sure that you have remembered everything you need!

(We’ll be reporting on how we get ready for Brazil in the coming weeks)

Vin Deasel (@vindeasel)

When drivers finish a race why do they need to deliver a drivers report?

PR (Paul Ridgway – Nash’s engineer): We carry out a drivers report because we need to understand what’s gone on during a race, why the performance was that it was and make changes/further steps from what we’ve been told. Very often just by having the drivers sit down and think about it there are other things they bring up which they hadn’t thought up at the track.We would generally start with incidents, accidents and general handling of the car. The we’d move on to how the car changes during course of race and everything in between. We’ll talk through whether we can change our strategy and then it’s a joint decision between myself and James about what we’re going to do. It’s a bit of a need/want compromise. Ultimately my aim is to engineer a car which will get from the start to the finish of a race in the shortest amount of time.

David Warren (@civicpalace)

What does the team like to do when there is a break to enjoy themselves?

AC: Most of the team are avid mountain bikers. On a Thursday night we have about 8-14 members go out who go out a cycle around the local area.When we’re at a track and there’s a break we generally find things to do around the circuit. This weekend in Portugal there’s a go karting circuit which we’ve already tried out! And very often in between sessions we play ‘keepy-uppy’ football… although we’re really bad at that!

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