Fourteen JCB Loadall telescopic handlers left the JCB World HQ in Rocester, Staffordshire, this morning on trucks bound for Silverstone in Northampton ahead of the Formula 1 Grand Prix next weekend. The 531-70 models - which can lift weights of three tonnes - will provide four days of support at the race circuit.
Today they were sent on their way in colourful racing style with the convoy of trucks led by a JCB 3CX Compact backhoe loader wrapped in the colours of Williams Martini Racing to mark JCB’s partnership with the British-based F1 team.
Loadall Development Engineer George Cooper, 25, of Tean, near Cheadle and Sam Goodman, 21, of Derby, who works in product sales at JCB’s World HQ, waved off the fleet of machines with traditional racing chequered flags.
George has been instrumental in helping develop a special jib attachment for the Loadalls which will make it easy to quickly recover crashed cars during the various race events, including F2 and GP3 classification races and F1 practice, qualifying and the main F1 race event on Sunday, July 16th.
George has spent six months working on the re-configured 531-70 and the attachment and he will be one of five JCB employees on hand to drive the Loadalls at the circuit, working alongside nine qualified telescopic handler operators employed by Silverstone.
Cooper said: “We have been working with the motorsport governing body FIA to develop the special Loadall over the last six months. It will make its debut at Silverstone and we will be there to operate them and continually assess their performance.
“The main benefit of the new jib attachment is it moves the lifting point of the car away from the actual machine, so it makes it easier and safer to recover a vehicle from the track. The 14 machines will be strategically located around the circuit on bends and at points where the likelihood of a car spinning off is higher.
“We are in for four long days as we will be on duty from 7am to 6pm, Thursday to Sunday, but it will be great to see the machines doing their job and helping to keep the races flowing smoothly.”
In addition to the Loadalls, JCB has supplied a further six machines to Silverstone including a 8026 mini excavator, VMT260-120 roller, site dumper and a backhoe loader to meet the needs of the circuit on and off the track.