Triple Eight's cookies have won many awards. Actually, these are for Bathurst, and the entire office is littered with trophies of varying size and style, from glass shards to surfboards. Triple Eight wins a lot, including one constructors' championship, two drivers' championships and three Bathurst 1000 victories.
You can't escape an open plan office. Downstairs is the work area, which is like a giant garage — unfortunately, we had to be careful of what we shot due to sensitive research and equipment lying around, so this is as exciting a shot of the office as you'll get...
Ian, an engineer at Triple Eight, works on a car design in Autodesk Inventor. The software allows not only design, but stress testing of the design. An average roll cage will end up being around 70kg in weight, the total chassis around 120kg.
Another of the milling heads, with several different bits. A common misconception is that Holden delivers the cars to Triple Eight and they're modified — Triple Eight actually designs and builds around 96 per cent of its cars from the ground up.
Inside the biggest of the CNC (computer numerical control) milling machines Triple Eight owns. There are at least four of them littered about the place of varying size and costs, totalling to around a million dollars of equipment.
More bits! After the CNC milling program has been designed upstairs, it's fed into the machines below and a prototype is made using cheap materials. When it's confirmed that the piece has been milled correctly and fits how it should in the car, the real thing is made.
The chassis being built on top of the roll cage, held in place by a jig. The jig helps Triple Eight to keep to within 1mm tolerances — that is, from paper to reality, the car is only allowed to be 1mm longer than the original design. A lot of the frame is aluminium — by 2012, Triple Eight hopes that 50 per cent of its frame will be able to be recycled.
Jamie's steering wheel. The buttons are used for custom functions; one limits the car to 40km/h for the pit lane, another locks the front wheels to hold the car in place on the starter's line while the car is revved up. There are two paddles behind, which allow Jamie to either talk to the pit team, or get a drink from the hose fed into his helmet. Jamie currently has a mix of Gatorade and water; Craig Lowndes just has water.
The front of Jamie's car. We weren't allowed to snap engines or wheels, so this is all you can get of the exterior, folks. By the time the car is finished, about AU$500,000 of materials will be in there.
The view from the other side. Anything that's not essential is stripped away. Eventually a screen will be mounted which can feed Jamie back a lot of stats, but generally he leaves those to the pit team. The only thing he keeps his eye on is the ghost lap counter, to make sure he's on time or beating it.