At TOYOTA GAZOO Racing, all team members are key people. So, after our incredible wheel gunners, let’s meet Jörg, the man in charge of TS040 HYBRID engine maintenance. Good mechanical and technical skills, manual dexterity and being able to pay attention to the smallest details are the qualities required to be an efficient engine mechanic.
What is your position in the team?
I work at the engine department of TOYOTA Motorsport GmbH. Before joining the LMP1 programme I was working as an engine mechanic for the TOYOTA F1 programme from 2000 to the end of 2009, when the project stopped.
What is exactly your task as an engine mechanic?
Coming from the F1 team in the same position, when I arrived on the LMP1 programme I started directly to work in the engine department. The engine is made in Japan by our colleagues at Higashi-Fuji and arrives more or less completed to Cologne, I just need to fit some small pieces just like alternator or clutch. The biggest task after we get that engine is to follow up its lifing in the workshop and on track. I have to follow up the parts we use and to support the planning for lifing parts: what we need to use, what we need to change as well as taking care about the equipment we need at the track. I have to make sure that everything is loaded and sent to the track. We have to bring the proper equipment with the proper spare parts. There are many different tasks apart from the engine maintenance itself.
What are your tasks at the track?
At the track, as the engine mechanic I have to make the maintenance of the engine. Luckily our engine is reliable and there is not much to do in terms of intervention on it. I have to prepare the engine for fire-up before every session and of course before the race. During the race, when needed I check the small parts during the pit stops, I change the data card and if necessary I refill oil. Whatever happens, I am focused on the engine from the beginning until the end of the race.
How many engine mechanics are working in Cologne and on track?
Well, in Cologne, there is one TMG engine mechanic for both cars; me. I work on both cars and our colleagues in Japan do the biggest part of the job on the engine itself. The engine is built in Higashi-Fuji plant, just 20 kilometres from the Fuji Speedway track. In Cologne we have a team of engineers dedicated to the engine who work closely with Japan. On track, I do the maintenance in the background for both cars’ engines, my colleague Andreas takes care about the hydraulics and also has a second look for car #2 while I take care of car #1.
Is it a big difference to work in LMP1?
Regarding my position the main difference concerns the races. During the F1 period I was just working in Cologne, I never was on track during race weeks. My first contact with the race track in race conditions was with LMP1 and it was very different from what I experienced in the workshop. Working on track is very interesting but it is also very time-consuming. You travel a lot and even if people think you are lucky to visit so many countries, you are definitely not on holiday; it is hard work.