A Close-Up Look At All Of The Crazy Action In A Routine Sportscar Pit Stop

All photos credit: Stef Schrader
All photos credit: Stef Schrader

If you thought choreography was just for dancing, you’ve clearly never seen a quick pit stop. Here are a few up-close shots of IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge team CJ Wilson Racing fueling and swapping out drivers and wheels on their Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport.

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First, everyone participating in the swap had to be ready. Everyone has to be in the appropriate gear, including the driver. There are a few moments when everybody’s standing around and sweating in full race gear, complete with an often less-breathable-than-desired helmet on top. That’s all worth it when you aren’t fumbling to still get dressed when the car is pulling in, though.

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Illustration for article titled A Close-Up Look At All Of The Crazy Action In A Routine Sportscar Pit Stop

Everything has to be in just the right place to grab quickly, too, like the cool shirt tubes that are taped to driver Marc Miller’s leg. Why risk tangling those up or flopping them around when a simple bit of painter’s tape can make finding them in the car way easier?

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Once the car pulls up, it’s on.

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Miller didn’t even wait until the car was completely stopped to hop over the wall.

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The sign held out in front of the car’s pit space gets lifted up so no one trips on it, and the team springs into action.

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Air jacks pop out of the bottom of the car to raise the car off its wheels, so an air line has to be inserted into the top of the car to make them work. Air goes in, car goes up.

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Fuel goes in under the hood, so the person manning the fuel hose also has to lift up the hood.

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Everything comes down to the delicate art of not stumbling over each other. The driver getting in helps the previous driver get out of the car, then the previous driver sticks around to help his replacement get situated.

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Lugnuts are gently glued in place ahead of time to help the team make a quick stop.

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Meanwhile, television cameras hover around the pit stall to ensure that people at home get to watch, too. That (usually!) doesn’t stop anyone from getting the car done.

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Sometimes it’s a tight squeeze to have everyone working on different things in one pit stall, though, as driver Danny Burkett found out when he almost lost his balance for a second.

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Burkett walks off to shed the sweaty gloves and helmet until he needs to drive again.

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The walk back in to the pits is significantly calmer than everyone’s jump out to service the car.

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Once all the wheels are done, the air line comes out and the car drops on to its wheels.

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Of course, the car can’t go anywhere until it’s done fueling, too.

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When the car is ready to leave, everything left out gets picked up from the pit box.

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With the car out of the way, crew members hunt for the lugnuts that were taken off the car. Since they’re only being taken off, it’s fine and normal to just throw them around wherever (as long as no one trips on them).

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As long as the team doesn’t have to use this tool—a giant baseball bat often used to bend bodywork back into place—it’s a pretty successful stop.

Moderator, OppositeLock. Former Staff Writer, Jalopnik. 1984 "Porschelump" 944 race car, 1971 Volkswagen 411 race car, 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS.

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DISCUSSION

marchuntotorment
MarchUntoTorment

I... did not know that the baseball bat existed.

If it were up to me, I’d name it ‘Maldonado’.