Two other races took place before the main Formula 1 race. As a result, crews swept the track once after each race. “It’s key to remember that while most of the track is asphalt, the drivers don’t always stay on the asphalt,” says Chuck Aksland, vice president of Motorsport Operations. “They’ll use as much of the track as possible so they are always kicking up rocks and debris. If you hit a little pebble at 200 mph it can be a pretty dangerous situation.”
Unlike some tracks, this one is extremely wide with additional areas that have been paved. “The track is flat with a lot of hills,” Bromley says. “We not only have an area the guys will race on, but there is also a lot of runoff area that has been paved. We will have to clean that area, too.”
The sweepers’ work didn’t end there. Once the race began the units were strategically placed at specific turns in case an incident would occur; however, this race did not require any cleanups. Nonetheless, BMP had two sweepers located at Turn 5 while the track sweeper was located at Turn 19 in order to quickly and efficiently cleanup any debris during the race.
During the race, the BMP crew consisted of four employees, with an average of 2-5 years of experience, rotating through the race.
While making sure the track is free of debris is crucial, it is also important to note that the crews avoid sweeping the track too much. “If there are no problems during the race we try not to sweep unless necessary,” Bromley says. “The buildup of rubber is very important to the traction the car has on the race track. So, the more you sweep and play with the surface it will change the way the cars are going to handle on the track. Once the drivers get used to the track we don’t want to mess with it unless we have to.”
Only one Formula One race will occur each year, but other functions and events will take place at the track. “The track is available for rental for car clubs, club racing and different activities,” Aksland says. “The track crew will be responsible for a cleaning process in the morning before every activity takes place.”
With every job comes its own unique challenges, but a skilled crew and quality equipment can make all the difference. “Everything went very smoothly for being the first time that everyone was working together,” Collins says. “It was very organized, everyone had their positions and everyone met their duties. It was a well oiled machine.”