Inside story: JC Race Teknik
by Hal Ridge |
Based just outside Karlstad in Sweden, JC Race Teknik has that familiar feeling of a well-established and experienced team, similar to many of the other outfits competing in Swedish and World Rallycross Championship events. That’s simply because it is. However, this outfit isn’t run by a former driver using years of experience of the sport, or a wealthy entrepreneur. In fact, the owner of this particular business hasn’t even reached his 26th birthday.
Joel Christoffersson began his motor sport career in karting, and on World RX star Timmy Hansen’s first ever race, Christoffersson and his father helped the Hansen family to learn the karting ropes. Although competitive behind the wheel, Christoffersson soon decided that he was more interested in the engineering aspect of motor sport than piloting the vehicles. He began helping Kenneth Hansen’s then Hansen Motorsport team in the school holidays, before graduating to become a full-member of the team. The young Swede left Hansen to work of OlsbersgMSE on a Rally America programme, before being thrown into the deep end to run Dodge’s Global Rallycross exploits. In the meantime, back in Sweden, Christoffersson was creating the foundations for his own business and in the last two years he has run Supercars in World RX events and a number of Supercar Lites, rally cars and more.
When Rallycross World visited JC Race Teknik recently, Christoffersson’s workshop was full, but by normal standards, it was practically empty. Three single-car race bays house Fredrik Ahlin’s WRC2 specification Ford Fiesta R5, the Citroen DS3 that Alexander Hvaal ran in Euro RX 2015 and Mats Ohman’s similar DS3. The workshop is also home to four Supercar Lites, destined for the RallyX on Ice series. Through a small door on the far wall from the Supercars, Christoffersson currently rents space for his race truck to live inside, and also stores additional cars.
“The plan was to just have three cars, but I thought I needed more work, so now we have seven cars inside the workshop all the time and one in the queue. When it’s full, we have nine cars here,” explains Christoffersson. “We have a small room for transmissions, and a small room for fabrication, but I want to expand. We need more work space for cars and a bigger fabricating room that can take a bodyshell. I rent the next door building at the moment, but the plan is to generate enough business to be able to buy it. But, it’s very easy to grow too big too fast.”
The temptation to expand too quickly is something Christoffersson is very aware of. In 2016, he will just run Supercar Lites, and return to running Supercars in the future. “It’s really easy to grow very quickly, but then it’s easy to fall down fast also. My goal is 100% to have our cars running well and try to help the drivers to win. Yeah, I can take more cars if I want, but my dream is to have good quality for the cars and drivers in the team. I have three guys working for me full-time in the winter, then in the summer we will be four. We use some freelance mechanics too, so on events we are two mechanics per car, plus engineers, chef and everything – we have about 12 people.”
“I started this in 2011, and we’ve been in this workshop for two-and-a-half years. In that time I went to work for Travis Pastrana and the Dodge team in America. The plan was that we would get the Dodge cars from OMSE, and a team principle. We arrived in America and there were two cars and a trailer. No tools or anything. I had to build everything up. I was engineer, team principle and mechanic at the same time, but it went well was because Travis is so good to work with. We took one win, it was a fun year and I learnt so much. That and Kenneth Hansen are the two things that have helped me to get to this.”
Christoffersson went back to working for the Hansen team for 2013, where he ran Timmy Hansen in Euro RX, before running a pair of ex-Hansen DS3s for Emil and Mats Ohman in 2014. He also bought his own Supercar Lites machine to rent out, and last year ran a range of Lites and Supercars. Ever enterprising, Christoffersson realised a gap in the rallycross market for car transportation and provided a service for competitors last year. This season he will run four RX Lites full-time and also Fredrik Ahlin’s Ford Fiesta in the British Rally Championship (together with CA1 Sport), and plans to return to Supercar in the future. “I understood in 2014 that there was a big problem everywhere with getting cars to events, because transport is a big part of the budget. Then we were using one of Kenneth’s trailers, which took two cars. I looked at it and thought you could carry four cars in the same, so that’s what I bought. For the first event last year I took three cars, then four, and it helped me form a relationship with people and I will run their cars in the Swedish and European Championships this season. It will be good.”
Clearly pacing himself and his aspirations, Christoffersson has time on his side to expand, but also feels that because of his impressively young age, some don’t take him as seriously as they might if he were older. “This isn’t just about running cars, I want to be able to do all sorts, with bodyshells, repairing gearboxes, diffs and that kind of thing. Sweden is quite big for motor sport but also small, so it’s good to keep the business quite wide. I think some people think I’m older than I am because I have been in the sport for a long time, but new people coming into the sport who don’t know me think I’m a little too young. I think in the future, I can make my name bigger. I think I have an advantage to some other teams too; I’m just me, there is no family relation driving or owning my team, so there will never be any question about all my drivers having an equal service.”
Christoffersson’s first European Championship event, as the ‘broom pilot’ was when Hansen debuted his Citroen C4 in Portugal, 2006. A decade on, having worked around the world, the Swede already has a full year of work planned. It’s abundantly clear that the future for rallycross is bright, and JC Race Teknik’s is too.
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