Pit Stop & Racing Facts
As racing fans and car techs who handle stuff like oil change services every day, we often talk about pit stop performances. They may not be why we watch racing, but in a way, a pit stop comes with a lot of its own tension and tactical consideration. Even a casual racing fan knows how important it is to have a high-speed pit crew alongside any professional race team, but what exactly qualifies a pit crew as “high-speed”?
We’ve collected below a few fun facts about pits and pit stops that you may not already know. And if you know any cool pit stop or race-related facts yourself, feel free to share in the comment section at the end of the page. But first,
What Does a Pit Crew Do?
For those who don’t know, the two most common jobs of a pit crew is to change tires and refuel. High-speed racing eats tires fast, and it’s a common tactic to keep softer tires on for longer than a regular driver would. This way, the drivers get more traction at high speed, but unfortunately, the tires also wear faster and need to be changed more often too.
In Formula One, however, mid-race refueling is no longer allowed so that’s not part of their job. Nonetheless, tires tend to wear out a bit faster in Formula One so they have quite enough to do between changing out melted rubber. Besides that, both NASCAR and Formula One pit teams often make suspension adjustments, remove debris and other obstructions, and otherwise support the driver however they need.
Performance Pit Stop Facts
Fastest Pit Stop is Formula One
Considering Formula One tends to operate a bit faster than stock car racing, it may come as no surprise that they hold the time for fastest pit ever. A pit stop in Formula One usually takes less than 3 seconds, but in 2019 the Red Bull Team beat the world record with a 1.82 second pit by Max Verstappen at The Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix.
NASCAR Takes Pit Strategy Seriously
NASCAR has turned the labor of pit stops into a sweet science. Pit teams are professionally trained inside fully equipped garages that would make any Chico mechanic jealous, that’s for sure. There are quite a lot of different pit tactics used in NASCAR to edge out other racers for lead on time and points, including driving on worn tires rather than taking the final pit. This can be risky if there’s a lap extension, but risks come with rewards.
In stock car racing at this level, a full pit stop with a 4-tire swap can take up to 12 or so seconds on average. 2-tire swaps can take as little as 5 seconds, and late-race refuels can take as little as 2 to 3 seconds, on par with Formula One.
Another interesting point about pits in NASCAR is that they’re used as part of the penalty system too. Pit road has a speed limit- for safety of course- and penalized racers may be sent through pit road to slow their speed as punishment. We have to imagine this is quite frustrating. It sucks to watch and it certainly hurts on points too.
Pit stops in endurance and rally racing tend to operate differently than in NASCAR and Formula One. For one, race teams have much more time to complete necessary repairs and adjustments. They also have much more maintenance to do. This is including serious chassis repairs, handling, and suspension adjustments, fluid and oil changes, or even full part replacements.
Another notable difference in endurance racing is that the crews tend to be much smaller, sometimes 5 or less to a crew. Since they have more time, they don’t have to increase the speed with team quantity. Also, they can focus on job quality instead. Enduro pit teams tend to be more broadly skilled.
Shout Out to the Pits!
Pit crews don’t always get the recognition they deserve for their hard work and contribution to the job of auto maintenance. So, we wanted to give them a bit of credit. Check-in next week for another post about cars and more! Thanks for reading.
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