A steadying influence with an eye on the big picture
Joachim Thünauer is Head of Infrastructure for the Hahnenkamm Races. A job that presents just as many challenges as the Streif racecourse. These, however, take rather a lot longer to complete than 2 minutes: We were able to take a peek behind the scenes at the 38-year-old Kirchberg man’s headquarters right next to the finish line.
Those wanting to ask Joachim Thünauer about what his role at the Hahnenkamm-Races entails are advised to bring a little time with them: "Everything outside the racecourse, from the start to the finish, falls under my remit. This includes all the structures such as grandstands, TV towers or video walls, the toilet facilities, car parks, signage, fencing and even the positioning of security," says the Kirchberg native, giving a brief insight into his world as Head of Infrastructure, a position that he took over from the legendary Mandi Goller.
For many people, infrastructure sounds like lifting, transporting and installing - but for Joachim Thünauer it's much more about coordination. The big challenge is time management: "Months before the races, we have to develop a schedule of what will be delivered and when." From parts weighing several tonnes for the grandstand, to cable ties: "It wouldn't be ideal if all the trucks turned up at the same time, because - as everyone knows - there are generally not that many parking spaces in Kitzbühel," he says with a grin.
He joined Kitzbühel Ski Club in November 2022: "At the 2023 races, I was more of a spectator alongside Mandi Goller and did my best to absorb all the information. This year's races are the baptism of fire for my job." So far, he is satisfied with how things are going: "It still all seems a bit surreal, but it's going well and I'm enjoying it. The challenges are extensive, but nothing is unsolvable," he says, before his mobile phone rings and someone makes another request. After all, he now not only has an overview of everything thanks to his digital and physical lists (post-its), but has also moved into his small headquarters in the Red Bull finish house from where he can see his screens as well as the Streif and Ganslern finish areas.
The 38-year-old is predestined to be the new head of infrastructure: Joachim is a trained electrician and event technician, has worked in the event industry, for the mountain rescue service and as a company electrician at the Bergbahn Kitzbühel Cable Car Co. He acquired extensive experience at major events, including the Moto GP, Red Bull Air Race and the Olympic Games in South Korea. He also feels mentally up to the diverse and demanding task: "I am able to cope with stress, am solution-orientated and of a calm nature: I am also thick-skinned - and that is absolutely essential for this job."
His predecessor Mandi Goller held the position for 23 years. Would that also be a desirable future for Joachim? "If I could, I'd love to. I'm really enjoying it so far." But for now, the focus is on the races this weekend - and of course the dismantling of the entire infrastructure after the event. When will the 84th Hahnenkamm Races be over for him? "My job is over when the last lorry has left the car park, the last package has been cleared away and the site has been handed back to its owner. Then I'll go for a beer. Or two," says Joachim Thünauer and turns his attention back to his mobile phone. It’s ringing again.
Photo © K.S.C./alpinguin