In the first of a series of monthly features that will take you inside the workshops of the world’s best rallycross teams, we get unprecedented access to Ford’s official team, OMSE. Each month we aim to give fans an insight to what goes on away from the public eye back at base for teams in the world of rallycross.
OlsbergsMSE is tucked away in the east Swedish port town of Nynashamn. Since founding the rallycross team, Andreas Eriksson has worked hard to convert a former car dealership into one of the busiest rallycross workshops in the world. The space is over two levels, with the ‘noisier, dirtier work’ of machining and fabrication done downstairs, along with storage for wheels and tyres, parts and the teams trucks.
Upstairs lay clean build areas, offices, gym and restaurant. If you enter through the fabrication area and climb the narrow staircase to the offices, it’s a surprise to see more racecars: how did they get up there? The premises is built into a hillside site and a second entrance provides a drive-in to the ‘upstairs’ level. The workshop itself is laid out in bays for cars to be worked on in a row, but it also has the room to accommodate more cars should that be required, and it is, OMSE has now built over 23 Fiesta Supercars from these bays. In the far back corner of the workshop is the ‘simulator’, made by the engineers for a young Kevin Eriksson a few years ago. Now, the Super1600 and Supercar Lite star still finds time to keep his hand in.
Alongside the workshop is the mechanics’ changing room, and across the hallway an industrial sized kitchen and restaurant, with chef! This allows mechanics and engineers the opportunity to eat properly at meal times, and also helps when work is required long into the evening. Instead of mechanics having to go home to see their families before coming back to work, families are invited to eat at OMSE, giving it a more homely environment. Next to the restaurant is a showroom, full of achieved history of the OMSE team.
Among the most striking things about the Ford team’s base is the amount of history mounted to the walls, on shelves and to the celing throughout the building. Racing suits of past and present drivers, photographs, body panels and trophies. While OMSE is renowned for pushing the boundaries in moving rallycross forward, the past is also significant to the Swedish outfit.
Possibly the most random, and therefore interesting pieces of history in the ‘showroom’ upstairs is what appears to be an old tree stump, which is exactly what it is. Andreas Eriksson takes up the story; “We were doing the Swedish WRC round in a Ford Focus world rally car, with Ford Sweden. We were second on shakedown, but early in the rally I was pushing hard, and we went off and had a big accident, into a tree. My co-driver was not in a good way for a while, but he is ok now! That crash was the start of the end of my rally career. The team had to cut the tree apart to get it out of the car, and then they sent me the part I have to remember it by.”
Old and new rub shoulders at OMSE, tucked away in a quiet corner, the five-door Fiesta used at Pikes Peak and X-Games is undergoing a complete rebuild, its place as probably the most important car OMSE ever built assured. A few meters away, wrapped up and waiting its place in the schedule, a brand new bodyshell, fabrication and paint completed, is ready to be built into a 2014-spec racecar – and this new offering from OMSE promises some new features as the Ford boys plan their move into the World championship. Which is what goes on behind the closed doors of race shops.
Read even more on OMSE’s base and more in the forthcoming new edition of Rallycross World magazine.
« Previous Post Next Post »