A new 53' Featherlite trailer was ordered and delivered to Doug Watson at the MRN headquarters in Concord, NC, in Sept. 2013. That's when he and his crew of engineers Bob Wolfe and Sam Williams and drivers Dan Cressman and Mike Doncheff got started. Once the race ended, the heavy part of the project got underway in November and December 2013. MRN Director of Operations Frank Beers managed the project from start to finish.
The main control room is at the nose of the vehicle.
The five-man team was able to complete nearly all the work in building the vehicle to have it ready for use at the Rolex 24 in Daytona on Jan. 21, 2014. While a few finishing touches remained, the trailer was ready for use.
Now that it's in use, the old 40' trailer has been retired. The previous 53' truck has since moved to secondary use.
The main studio can seat up to three guests.
But the new vehicle is not a repeat of the 2003 design. It's very different all around.
The primary difference can be seen in the chassis. Both trailers have a space to transport a golf cart for use at event. The 2003 trailer used a low chassis where the cart was raised up and stored above. The 2014 hauler has a high chassis, and the golf cart is stored in the belly. This is the obvious difference from the outside, but the internal differences are numerous.
The first step in planning the design was for engineering, operations and production to come together and discuss all the needs and wants. The 2003 trailer was a baseline for a design, and a wish list was created to decide what could be improved in the new vehicle. In the end, every idea proposed was implemented in the new vehicle.
For example, the 2003 vehicle was comparatively small and cramped. It has a two-seat studio and control room, but that space is confining. The office was in the nose of the vehicle. The traffic flow of the vehicle is such that people have to move through the studio to get to the office. This is far from ideal when a show is in progress.
The new vehicle places the larger studio, which seats three, in the nose of the truck. (A floorplan for the vehicle is online.) There's also a second studio and control room. The new vehicle has slide outs like the 2003 trailer, but the new slide outs are not symmetrical.
The larger slide out is on the street side. It holds the second control room and second studio. The small slide out on the other side provides access to the main control room.
- continued on page 3