By Racers, For Racers. An expert guide to a motorsport team’s paddock equipment.
At Gala Performance, we’ve been supplying professional motorsport paddock equipment for over 5 years, and over that time we have attended countless race and motoring weekends. From enjoying VIP treatment at the European Le Mans Series with United Autosport, to 750MC weekends as title sponsors of the Toyota MR2 Championship in 2018 and 2019, to BTCC weekends as partners of Clio Cup and Mini Challenge superstar Max Coates, and to high octane action of the British Drift Championship, as well as attending motor festivals such as Japfest and Trax.
On top of attending as partners of teams and championships, we also have our own race team, headed up by our directors and drivers Mark Thompson and Andrew Scott, which goes by the name Gala Performance Racing and competes regularly in the wildly popular Citroen C1 Challenge endurance series, with some great results.
So, with our vast experience of not just visiting paddocks regularly, but using them ourselves, we think we’re well placed to be able to give you some top advice on what makes a great paddock space.
The absolute minimum requirement in your allotted paddock spot would be a tent of some nature. We’ve seen some drivers and teams who don’t use anything, and when the rain comes down hard, the bonnet of a race car is not a pleasant place, nor does it allow the concentration to fix things properly. The simplest and quickest to erect tent is a pop-up awning such as the Gala Shade Pro 50. The size will depend on what it is that you’re driving or riding, and what else you might want to fit inside, but they are available from 3m x 3m up to a vast 4m x 8m structure.
If you’re a professional team with several cars and sponsors to accommodate, the MQ-65 freestanding awning may be more suited. They take a while longer to erect as they’re manufactured using superior aluminium extrusions and 650gsm customisable PVC covers, but they are available up to 6m x 12m and are in use in high profile championships such as the GT World Challenge, which should give an idea of their suitability for teams of any professional level.
Other uses for the pop-up tents in our experience have been as catering, servery, tyre storage and as driver changing rooms. They’re a very versatile product.
One word, Swisstrax. The world’s leading brand of modular flooring is suited to almost any flooring application, but motorsport more than anything else. Each of the Ribtrax or Smoothtrax tiles are non-slip, self-draining, resistant to oils, brake fluids, acids, alkali, high temperatures, low temperatures, and extremely heavy weight. Put simply, they’re world leading for a reason, and this is why we not just supply it, but we ensure we use it at all times whether we’re at the circuit or a trade show like Autosport International.
Motorsport paddocks are notoriously windy places, and the likes of Donington and Cadwell in particular, at the top of steep hills, are a magnet for blustery weather. This means you must always ensure that your awning, whether it’s a pop-up you bought from Gala Performance, or a hard-sided hospitality unit purchased from elsewhere, anchored as best you can.
Our advice is that there seriously is no such thing as too much anchorage. Use 50Kg water weight pyramids, available to buy from Gala Performance, tyres, a vehicle, anything you have to hand to ensure that you’re not damaging yourself, your vehicle or your tent.
Strong folding tables capable of holding your tools or your drivers’ kits are ideal.
Furniture so that your drivers can enjoy some down time, especially if you’re in endurance racing like we are. Drivers will spend a long time behind the wheel and need somewhere to refocus before their next stint.
Flags and banners will elevate your paddock space to be more than just a place to work on the vehicle. Sponsors want to see that you take pride in your team’s image, so adding some team branding will give a great impression.
At the end of the day, it’s a matter of what your budget allows and what you consider a priority. We’ve seen hundreds, if not thousands of paddock spaces, from a variety of championship levels, and we also regularly pitch up our own, so this is just our best advice on what we know works. Go with what your budget allows, or why not source a sponsor who will be happy to help you to improve your presence in the motorsport paddock in exchange for their branding all over the tent? We’ll be happy to provide you with a quote, if you call our team of experts on 01709 803457, or drop us a line via Live Chat. Alternatively, why not take Gala Performance away with you and download our brochure now?