We’re in the midst of Enduro season which means we have a few more pit stops with more hands on deck!
To get our heads around it all, we sat down with Red Bull Holden Racing’s Team Manager Mark Dutton as he explained the in’s and out’s of enduro pit stops!
It may seem like there are more people involved in these pits stops but technically, there’s actually only one more person – or two, if you count the driver being changed.
Basically, we have the car controller, the person at the front of the car – they can’t work on the car, they can’t even touch it.
Their job is to oversee the pit stop from controlling where the car stops on the mark, to exiting the pit bay.
You’ll hear them speaking to the crew and driver as they come down pit lane.
Then there is the tyre crew – one on each of the four wheels to change the wheels, very important job!
We also have the re-fueller or the ‘fuelman’ who is the person on the hose, and next to that is the fireman who is on the all important fire extinguisher.
Next is the ‘dead man’ – the person on the handle of the fuel rig. If something goes wrong, they’re holding a spring-loaded valve that, once they let go, will shut off the flow of fuel going to the rig.
If there’s a bad spill, they can stop the flow immediately.
And finally, we have someone on the spike. They put the air spike into the side window to activate the air jacks and lift the car off the ground.
The ‘fuelman’ isn’t able to connect until the car is off the ground – you can do it at the same time, but not when the car is actually on the ground.
When it comes to driver changes, things can get tricky.
You can choose to have a driver change assistant, or you can have the outbound driver assist with the change.
We choose to have a specific driver assistant to help out – they ensure the driver is in the right spot, buckled up, drinks plugged in with window nets up, closed and ready to go.
With endurance races being much longer, you’re more likely to do more things in the pit stops.
Compared to a sprint race, we have more going on whether it be refilling the dry ice, changing wheels or even changing the brake discs.
Changing the brake discs is for a longer stop and it’s where you’d lose time – it’s not something we’d do for performance, but more if they’re going to explode and need to be done.
The good thing is that, because the re-fuelling can take a little longer, the wheel change has the freedom to take a little longer – the crew can slow down a little to make sure the change is 100% correct.
At Bathurst this year, we had the pit crew diving in to clean the windscreen and windows, whilst all the other jobs (dry ice, drinks, etc) were going on and it’s not something we had practiced.
The crew jumped in, in the heat of the moment, and got the job done quickly and effectively – it was a credit to them.