The perfect pitstop and how it works

If you are a motor sport fan, you will have undoubtedly watched numerous pit stops by countless teams, but have you ever stopped to watch or think about how a pit stop works? There are a number of key steps that must fall into place to ensure that a pit stop is up to the team, and the drivers standard.

pit crewThe process

• The driver gets the radio call that the crew are ready for the stop. This happens before the pit entry, allowing time for the driver to get into position for leaving the race track.
• Once in the pit lane, the driver adjusts the speed and steers the car into the appropriate team slot, before stopping in front of the ‘lollipop’ or red light.
• Once stationary, two jack operators lift the car front and back which allows four, wheel gun engineers to loosen the wheels which are then removed by further members of the team.
• Simultaneously, in some arms of the sport, fuel is being added to allow the vehicle to continue racing.
• With the used wheels removed, a new set is quickly fitted and the gun engineers tighten them onto the hubs.
• As this is happening, two members of the team ensure that the engine air intakes are free from leaves and other blockages whilst another checks the driver’s cockpit and cleans the helmet visor.
• At this point, there may also be minor adjustments to settings or even a replacement body panel fitted.
• With the jacks dropped and all engineers cleared, the car re-joins the race.

The result

In seconds, a high performance car is ready to continue racing having had a four- wheel change plus a possible refuel. Times for this can be sub three seconds as shown here. Only skill and constant training can make such a complex set of events look so incredibly slick to us, the motor sport fans.