Drive like the pros – Racecontrol ensures safety and proper organisation on the BILSTER BERG

Track Days, Driving Experience, Driver Training. The range on offered at the BILSTER BERG is diverse. But one thing is the same at all events: Racecontrol keeps an eye on everything! No matter whether you are a novice driver, a hobby racer or a professional. Philip Hagemann and Christian Rieke, in their function as track safety operators at the BILSTER BERG, keep an eye on everything that drives on the 4.2-kilometre-long race track. Because anyone who thinks that you can speed around the BILSTER BERG as much as you like is mistaken. Safety always has the right of way!

Philip Hagemann, who shares his job with Christian Rieke, keeps an eye on everything from his vantage point in front of the monitors – like the race director in Formula 1. Although on a somewhat smaller scale than in the F1, the professionalism with which he ensures that the rules are observed and safety is ensured is similar.

As a track safety operator, the 24-year-old has a lot of responsibility. “Observing what is going on, securing the track in case of emergency, coordinating track marshals, communicating tasks of the track marshals and information to the participants, reporting events and checking everything,” is how Philip Hagemann sums up his job in track operations.

A typical working day at one of the most extraordinary workplaces in the world begins for him with preparing the systems and the preliminary discussion with the organiser who has booked the BILSTER BERG. After the track is opened, it’s “Go for it!”. All vehicles on the course are monitored from Racecontrol and as soon as there are any problems, the track safety operator intervenes.

Once the track operation is finished, the track is cleared again, the attendant’s equipment is collected and the participants of the driving event are seen off. This is followed by an internal debriefing with the BILSTER BERG team about the course of the event, special incidents and possible damage. Then Philip Hagemann has to record the day in a report … and then it starts all over again the next day!

20 people on duty during track operations

While the participants are enjoying their day, the track safety operator is in the race control building, which is located in the basement of the building in the East Loop overlooking the start-finish straight. He is supported in his work by numerous cameras and monitors, as well as by the track marshals who are posted around the course. They all keep a close eye on what’s happening and report possible accidents, defects or rule violations by radio. “You can’t watch up to 50 vehicles at the same time from the race control on 26 camera screens,” he explains.

During normal track operations on the BILSTER BERG, a total of 20 people are on duty, including the track marshals, paramedics and customer service staff, with whom Philip Hagemann and Christian Rieke are in constant contact via radio. “The track marshals support us not only with their eyes, but also with their ears. This ensures that help is immediately on the spot when it is needed.”

Noise protection is also an important point that must be taken into account during events. This, too, falls under the responsibility of Racecontrol. “The entire track operation, including the sound emissions generated, is permanently monitored by Racecontrol,” says Philip Hagemann.

The most important tool to ensure smooth track operations is technology. “Without the technology, we can’t start a track operation.” In the event of a power failure or technical problem, all wheels come to a stop on the BILSTER BERG.

“The greatest workplace in the world!”

Other tasks of the track safety operator include personnel scheduling, reporting, damage assessment and determining the cause of the damage. In order to be able to perform this job, Philip Hagemann completed training as a track safety manager at the German Motor Sports Federation from 2017 to 2018. “Training with a commercial background is also necessary due to the high level of customer contact,” he explains. “A confident handling of IT systems and applications, stringent thinking and quick reactions as well as a passionate interest in cars and motorbikes should also be required.”

For the 24-year-old, this is not a problem; after all, he began an apprenticeship as an event management assistant at the BILSTER BERG in 2013 and successfully completed it in 2016. Philip Hagemann was the first apprentice at the BILSTER BERG and has also remained with it in his new role in Racecontrol.

What excites him about his job? “It’s the greatest workplace in the world!” gushes the automotive fan, who can’t imagine a better job.

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