04 Jun Life as a professional mechanic – a Q&A with Braydan McDermott
Ever wondered what it’s like to be part of a Supercars team – We recently caught up with Braydan McDermott during his time in Perth for the PIRTEK Perth SuperNight.
Q. What is your role?
A. My role currently is a number 2 mechanic on James Courtney’s Mobil 1 MEGA Racing Commodore.
Q. How long have you been with the Walkinshaw team?
A. I’ve been at Walkinshaw Racing for about 5 years now. Before that I cut my teeth working for Action Racing in the Super2 Series.
Q. When did your interest in motorsport begin?
A. My interest in Motorsport stemmed from my grandfather who raced cars at a state level in Victoria through the 90s. Spending my weekends tinkering away in his shed with race cars. And once you’ve caught the bug, it’s hard to let it go!
Q. What does a ‘day in the life’ of a Supercars mechanic look like on race day?
A. It’s usually pretty busy and hectic! Typically we arrive before the fans do and are the last ones to leave the track after the racing has finished. The hours are long and quite intense. Given the tight turn around between sessions and races, we are usually flat chat preparing the car and making setup changes. Then once the race starts, it’s full focus on the strategy and the pit stops. Hopefully you come out the other end of the race with a good result and go into the night time servicing including fixing the damage. Then it’s back to the hotel to rest before we do it all again the next day.
Q. How many litres of fuel/sets of tyres?
A. On an average weekend, we have usually have 4 practice sessions, 2 qualifying sessions and 2 races. Across these sessions we typically use around 5-6 sets of tyres. Some of these tyres used in qualifying will then be used as the race sets for that particular car. With the longer races on Sunday, there is minimum fuel drop of 120 litres which adds a bit of spice to the strategy for the engineers to manage!
Q. How important is your relationship with the driver, and do you spend time together outside of work hours?
A. The relationship with the driver is a very important one. Not only are we responsible for the mechanical well being of the car, but we also spend a fair bit of time adjusting the ergonomics of the cockpit for the driver as well. It’s also easy to forgot how much of a team sport Motorsport is, so at the end of the day we are all in a team together and rely on each other. Regardless of whether you’re a driver or a mechanic. Away from the track, we tend to see James a bit in the workshop for meetings and debriefs.
Q. Favourite/most rewarding part of the job?
A. Most rewarding part of the job would have to be winning! Success is often celebrated pretty well!
Q. Favourite circuit?
A. Hard to say…. Bathurst is always cool. But Townsville is a close 2nd! Fantastic location!
Q. Highlight/most memorable moment in your career?
A. Most memorable highlight would be the Bathurst podiums. I’ve been involved with a car on the podium there 3 times and it’s a pretty special feeling.
Q. Do you get to spend much time in Perth while you’re here? Where is your favourite spot to enjoy down time away from Barbagallo?
A. Unfortunately not, it’s typically airport, racetrack, hotel, REPEAT! But we typically stay in Scarborough which has a really nice view of the surf and the sunset!