In the third episode of the Behind the Curtain of the Škoda Motorsport series, we explore what building a car involves. The precisely planned hand assembly of thousands of parts has its own exact rules and takes its time. We'll reveal the progression of this demanding process in this article.

The new Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 builds on the success of the previous Fabia Rally2 evo and is in high demand by customers. That's why the Škoda Motorsport team is using its production capacity to the maximum to meet this demand. But this is only on the scale of rally specials. The production of a rally car is fundamentally different from that of a serial car, which is built on the assembly line. While a serial car is ready in a matter of hours thanks to a large proportion of robotic production, a rally special is built manually by Škoda Motorsport mechanics over a number of days.

"It usually takes 11 days to build a car from the moment we can start fitting the painted bodywork," says Miroslav Šlambora, Škoda Motorsport's Head of Race Car Build. A huge number of components pass through the mechanics' hands. The exact number varies depending on the specific car configuration chosen by the customer, but also on how the number of parts is actually defined. "Among other things, it's a question of whether we take the assemblies such as the engine and gearbox as one part, or whether we divide them into individual components," explains Miroslav Šlambora. However, these assemblies are also completed directly in the Škoda Motorsport workshop. Either way, the Škoda Fabia RS Rally2's BOM contains just under 2,300 unique parts. Nonetheless, many of them are used more than once on the car, so the car consists of more than 7,000 parts.

According to the customer's wishes
Each car is always built by two mechanics, and one of whom is responsible for the result. The most challenging part for the pair is the installation of the electronics and the entire wiring system. The mechanics always build the car according to the customer's exact specifications. The customer basically chooses whether they want the car in tarmac or gravel specification and then they choose various modifications and accessories. The basic specification has to fit within a certain price cap according to FIA rules (for this year it is 260,766 euros excluding tax), but in some cases teams can upgrade or customise the car.

"For example, the customer can choose from a range of homologated seats, the car comes with aluminium wheels as standard, but magnesium alloy wheels are an option too. If the customer intends to take part in night stages, they will also need us to provide a light ramp and additional headlights on the bumper," says Radek Těšínský from Škoda Motorsport's Customer Department.

There is basically no difference between the construction of a tarmac car and a gravel car, only some parts are different, such as shock absorbers, wheels or suspension springs. The optional elements do not complicate or lengthen the build either. Even so, the total production capacity is in the order of units per month, because Škoda Motorsport can work on three to five cars at a time. While Škoda car factory produces hundreds of thousands of serial cars a year, only dozens of rally specials can be produced.

The finished special will pass a driving test on the Škoda Auto test polygon, called a rollout. During this test, the functionality of the entire car will be verified. First, the test takes place in a transit mode, i.e. as when the car moves on public roads, and then, of course, there is the test in a racing mode. After a thorough check of the data, the car can then go to the customer. The customer, of course, remains in close contact with Škoda Motorsport. For example, for the supply of various spare parts. "The most expensive item that can be ordered separately is the engine, which costs more than 40,000 euros," says Radek Těšínský. However, this is rarely needed; the normal sets of parts that teams may need are much more affordable.