Thierry Le Ster, our expert of the day, has not always been involved in the car industry, having previously spent 20 years working on the Ariane rocket programme. He joined Renault’s prototype spares department in 2001, before taking charge of engine test stand maintenance and then joining Alpine at Dieppe, where he was responsible for the distribution of Renault Sport competition parts.
A motorsport lover, he has been an ever-present at World Series by Renault meetings since 2011. Opening early and closing late, the store consists of two truck trailers housing all the spare parts needed to maintain the Formula Renault 3.5, Formula Renault 2.0 and Renault Sport R.S. 01 fleets.
A genuine Aladdin’s cave, it weighs more than 50 tonnes altogether. Packing so much material into so confined a space is a feat of ingenuity and planning. “Every part is stored in a specific location,” explains Thierry.
“Everything is organised in such a way that you can track the parts down easily and serve customers as quickly as possible. Every minute counts when you’ve got teams who need to repair a car between qualifying and a race.”
Stock management criteria changes from circuit to circuit, with the experience acquired over the years proving invaluable in deciding what will be needed where. “The aim is not to be short of anything and for each and every team to get what they need, which helps ensure a level playing field for the competitors,” says Thierry.
“We always take more brake discs and pads to Motorland Aragon, which is a circuit that’s very hard on brakes. And at Monaco, we always keep a lot of suspension wishbones in stock, as they bend easily if you clip the guardrails.”
And as Thierry goes on to explain, the advent of the Renault Sport Trophy has posed new problems due to the size of the bodywork parts : “The bonnets are very bulky, and with three races per meeting we have to keep enough of them in stock in case there are a lot of shunts. We keep all those parts together in one of the trucks, which helps us, once again, to be more efficient.”