Adaptable, decisive, and always calm in stressful situations, these are just some of the characteristics that an auto electrician needs in the DTM. Thilo Jung likes his work. “It’s quite unique,” says the 27-year-old. “It’s very varied, and you get around a fair bit. Everything about the whole package is great too. It’s like one big happy family. You’re on the road with the guys all the time, and we sometimes go out together in the evenings.” Thilo does not find the pressure of a race weekend in any way problematic. “I take things as they come,” he says, calmly.
As an auto electrician, Thilo has a lot to do with the drivers, for whom he prepares the steering wheels. “When I rewrap a steering wheel to give more grip, I find the driver concerned and ask him if he thinks it’s OK,” says Thilo. “There are many drivers who then tell me, they’d prefer it a little thicker and a bit less chunky elsewhere. It’s interesting to see what different preferences the drivers have just when it comes down to having their steering wheels rewrapped. You have to ask yourself to start with, just what makes a driver tick? But actually, they’re quite normal people.
Thilo works very closely with systems engineer Tobias Pfeiffer on race weekends. “If we can see from the data that something has stopped working or someone asks for a change of hardware on his car, then Thilo is the first port of call,” explains Tobias. “I tell him what needs to be done.” Thilo is responsible for the electrics on all six cars. “I do a full visual inspection of each vehicle when they are in the pits and go through every single one again,” adds Thilo.
He places particular emphasis on allocating the right amount of time to each individual car while going about his work. “They pit at different times, and every vehicle has to be checked again each time to make sure that all is in order,” he explains. “Managing everything is not always easy. I don’t just do the electrics but pick up a spanner now and then and also help to change wheels. If you’re not there for some reason, then someone else has to do your job.”
As an auto electrician in the DTM, Thilo’s work is quite different to that of his colleagues in production. “When working in production, you read and correct faults,” says Thilo. “Things are different in racing. You’re the one who makes up the cable, checks it or has it checked.” The building of a car starts before the season with the installation of the main cable harness which comes as a complete component from Bosch. “After that, we install all the other additional cables needed,” says Thilo. “Then everything is fixed in place and tested. Next, the mechanics come and install more components, after which, I have to go on reinstating the wiring.”
The cars are not completely disassembled after a race weekend, as is the case during a winter rebuild, so the side elements and the main cable harness remain in place. “But obviously, after the race, steering wheels are checked, ignition coils rechecked, steering wheel locks changed, lubricated and cleaned – everything on the vehicle is checked to make sure there’s no wear.” For Thilo, that means life never gets boring. By the way, that also applies to the few weeks he gets free in the winter during the DTM off-season when the dedicated snowboarder uses every free minute he can find to whizz down the slopes.
Source: Mercedes-AMG Motorsport