Pit Stop Practice - James Clay
1/20/10


Full dress rehearsal for drivers was this afternoon/evening. We felt pretty good at Daytona Test Days and the crew is very much on it. We have all done this before in club enduros, but we are looking at a minimum of a 2 minute mandatory pitstop in those, in which we do a driver change, dump more fuel than the CTC cars, and can do 4 tires easily with about 30 seconds to spare all at a leisurely pace - and not being able to do fuel and mechanical work together.

Now however, fuel should be the limiting factor due to the mandated hose size and restrictor - everything else has to be sped up to match 40 seconds of fuel flow (assuming an empty tank). So a little faster, not a ton. How does it change?

From a crew perspective, we added a second gunner/tireman, so we have one front and one rear with a jackman. The jack is a $750 3-pump, not the Harbor Freight deal. The guns are $500+ each and tuned up for speed internally with nifty features like a 40/60 split in power so 40% of capacity in the on direction, 60% off, you never should get it tighter than you can remove quickly. And the guys are on it, good under normal conditions, and now actually training more than a few runs a few times a year so they are awesome. Obviously damage and mechanical issues can play a part here, but hopefully that is a low percentage deal.

On the driver side, it is just a matter of a lot of steps done methodically. The cars are built with a focus on entry/egress speed so that helps. There are more goodies to deal with so that hurts - belts, radio, drink tube, helmet blower, pitlane speed limiter, nets x2 on the left (side head and side window). We use Schroth Enduro belts which are critical to the speed - lots of little features to make them work quickly. That coupled with some craftiness on component placement and surgical tubing and we can get it done in about 30 seconds.

Unfortunately our weather isn't cooperating and while we race in the rain, I don't go for hanging out in 40 degree rain as an exercise. Practice has been moved inside.

So after some driver dry-runs (full gear), we added in the rest of the guys and it looks like we can easily beat the fuel. A few more goes at practice without the drivers and more practice at Daytona before the race and we should be fairly tuned up. Bungling a pit stop to the tun of 30 seconds or way more is realistic and happens. If cars are evenly matched and at best a 0.5 second difference in lap times if you push really hard as a driver, you would be lucky to be able to recover from a bad stop in a stint. Hopefully with all the guys here putting in 110% effort for the last 3 months down to "little" details like this will pay off next week. I know I am getting fired up and I am glad racing starts in January for us this year instead of the March of years past - I wanna go fast!

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