In the middle of the legendary Hockenheimring race track, where the racing cars do their laps, a WashTec SoftCare2 Juno XL ensures that the classy sports cars are clean when they are on the track.
That is certainly unusual. Anyone who wants to visit this WashTec gantry car wash at the Hockenheimring has to pass through two checkpoints. Only then is free passage to the car wash possible. The driver of the car is not allowed to drive his vehicle into the car wash himself. This is taken care of by the team of Danny Kwiek, who oversees vehicle care and preparation at the Ring. The qualified motor vehicle mechatronics technician has training in professional motor vehicle preparation.
After all, the Hockenheimring is not just any old race track. As early as 1932, Mercedes-Benz used a 12-kilometre triangular circuit in Hockenheim as a test track before it was converted into a permanent circuit six years later. The tradition of the Ring includes renowned racing series formats such as Formula 1, the DTM and the Sport Auto Tuner GP. The 2019 German Grand Prix was also held at the Hockenheimring. Since October 2019, there has also been the Porsche Experience Centre at the Hockenheimring, built by the emodrom group, which is responsible for the strategic development of the Hockenheimring and has its headquarters right in the heart of the Hockenheimring. It is the sports car manufacturer's seventh customer experience centre worldwide.
Similar to the existing centres in Leipzig, Le Mans, Silverstone, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Shanghai, the Porsche Experience Centre Hockenheim offers a comprehensive range of driving activities. At the Porsche Experience Centres, customers and fans of the Stuttgart-based sports car manufacturer can experience the performance of the vehicles and the fascination of the brand at first hand. Architecturally, the future customer experience centre bears the hallmarks of the existing Porsche Experience Centre. An event area of 4,500 square metres houses event and meeting rooms, a Porsche Selection Shop, a Porsche Classic Lounge and a restaurant and café, as well as workshops and exhibition areas for vehicles. The Experience Centre also has a fast-charging infrastructure and an off-road course covering around 5,200 square metres.
The emodrom event + services gmbh, a subsidiary of the emodrom group, looks after the professional maintenance and care of the super sports cars. It also offers services and products for all aspects of modern mobility and is active as a service provider, consultant and operator at the Hockenheimring. The company's portfolio also includes driver experiences on the Grand Prix circuit, the opportunity to acquire the official A and D racing licence, an emission-free e-kart track, mobility training for cars, trucks, motorbikes and tractors and vehicle preparation. Since July 2021, vehicle preparation has also included two extra wide WashTec self-service washing bays for pre-washing and off-road vehicles and a WashTec SoftCare2 Juno XL with two bays. The exit leads directly into the spacious vehicle preparation bay.
This is part of Danny Kwiek's domain, as Timo Seitz, Head of Operations PEC, Personnel Management, Project Management at emodrom event + services gmbh, informs us. Danny Kwiek and his team look after 50 to 60 Porsche vehicles every day from the Porsche Experience Centre as well as the sports cars of private customers. On weekends, emodrom manager Seitz knows, there can be as many as 2,000 racing cars on the Ring. Many of them are 'flipped' in the car wash. When asked, Timo Seitz explains that the term is used for a special washing programme, also called the spoiler programme. The spoiler on vehicles such as the Porsche 911 GT3 is treated particularly gently during the wash. The term flip was adopted for this from the Porsche Experience Centre in Atlanta.
The fact that the super sports cars from Lamborghini, Aston Martin, McLaren, Ferrari and Porsche require individual washing programmes is also confirmed by Kevin Daum, Area Sales Manager Gantry Systems at WashTec. "WashTec has custom-written eight special washing programmes for this SoftCare2 Juno XL." In first place is the Gold programme, followed by Silver, Bronze, Express, 5 and 6 also contain wax, programme 7 means Porsche washing as well as drying and 8 is the aforementioned Spoiler programme. The dry stage takes eight to ten seconds longer than with the conventional Juno and the high-pressure nozzles work a little more powerfully. Danny Kwiek knows that since the start-up on 1 July 2021, 4,000 washes have been performed, and most of the washing is done between 3 and 4 pm. In the period from 8 am to 3 pm, there are only two to three vehicles.
After washing, the team drive the race cars directly into the vehicle preparation bay. This is where the finishing work and interior cleaning are carried out with great care. WashTec has installed a central vacuum system with six vacuum stations especially for this purpose. Only after the particularly gentle, careful preparation do the gates open and the racing cars are allowed to race around on the track again.
Text / Bild: Hans Rongisch, tankstellenWelt