Hey there inhabitants of the world, as I promised to elaborate on a pitstop, here she goes.
To me a pitstop actually is more like and exchange of the loveseat the reason being that in the end, the place where a driver wants and ‘loves’ to be is the drivers seat a.k.a. loveseat.
It all sounds pretty straight forward doesn’t it, 1 driver out 1 driver in and GO. Well boys and girls I can tell you it just might be a bit harder then it all sounds and looks.
To the point! what do you have to do before and during a pitstop?
There are actually quite a couple of things we have to keep an eye on starting with the team radio. Last lap I usually switch to NRJ! Kidding…
We ‘just’ have to keep pushing on track till we get the call to “box this lap!” The outlap, meaning the last lap before you go into the pits, is always very important. We can’t afford to lose time here because we are dealing with other stuff like seat belts etc.
On the final straight line before the pitlane-entry we(driver in that stint) loosen the belts but you don’t! undo them. Entering the pitlane which we do as fast as possible by braking as late as we can. Remember; during our events the pitlane speed is only 50kmh, 1kmh too fast; penalty, 1kmh to slow, by braking too hard; time loss.
Finally in the pitlane with the pit speed limiter engaged we get ready for the driver change. At the last moment we unplug the team radio from the jack in the car and put our left hand on the ‘engine off’ button.
Approaching the team you want to brake as late as possible, just like we do with the pitlane entry, we do this by slightly hitting the STOP-board. Just before you hit it you turn off the engine and leave it in 1st gear. (mechanics are not allowed to touch the car before the engine is switched off). When the engine is off it is just a matter of undoing the belts by turning the latch on the buckle and we try to worm ourselves out of the loveseat as fast as possible allowing our fellow racer to get back in it just as fast as I/he/maybe even she came out. Your job is not done yet though. You have to assist your mate by putting the belt in the right position and clicking all 4 separate pieces back in the buckle and just before slamming the door shut again you reconnect the radio back into the jack.
Meanwhile, starting from when we switched off the engine, the real heroes are doing the manly stuff.
If everything goes according to plan these guys (Marcus and Adrian) are able to change all 4 wheels weighing 20kg per in less then 20sec.
As soon as they are done they yank out the air pressured hose from the airjack of the car dropping it back onto its rubbers and off she goes.
All in all the whole circus takes about 20sec (All 4 wheels and driver swapped for a new one). The time from pitlane-entry to pitlane-exit depends purely on the track and the length of the pitlane.
I hope I was able to illustrate a pitstop for you guys, just so you understand a bit better what is actually going on.
This weekend we are racing in Misano track for the penultimate round of the Blanc Pain Sprint Series. Hope you guys will be following me or at least the racing.