Sunday pit walk to showcase pit stops

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 30/07/2014
  • By V8 Supercars

A pit stop can make or break a V8 Supercars race.

With longer runs on Sunday this year, there is even more focus on the teams, with strategy and pit stops a bigger focus than ever before.

Precise, timely stops are critical - and this weekend at the Coates Hire Ipswich 400, fans can get up close to the action.

Fans who have grandstand or corporate tickets are invited to take part in a pit walk on Sunday morning at 9am to watch the teams' compulsory pit stop practice.

All teams will be divided into two groups, so fans will get a good perspective of what it is like for the crew on the cars.

According to Brad Jones Racing car #8 co-engineer Wally Storey - who coordinatespit stop practice for the team - the boys train incredibly hard for what is a difficult, pressure-filled task.

"It looks really simple when you see the boys do it, because they're very good at it - but I can assure you it's a very difficult thing to do and get right," Storey told v8supercars.com.au.

The BJR crew trains on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at the workshop, two to three times through, to ensure they are working together as well as possible and are ready for anything come race day.

"It doesn't take much to go pear-shaped!" Storey said.

"After each race day, like after the second race on Saturday, and then Sunday, we have a pit stop meeting and say what happened, how did you go, what worked, what didn't work.

"Quite often it's a problem you've never seen before ... but things like the driver going past the mark is a common one, overshooting or coming in on an angle, and fairly often the problem with that is the preceding pit bay.

"If there's a car with it's wheels stacked out when you arrive it's quite difficult to get around it - which means you're quite often in the pit bay on the angle, too far for some and too close for others, so you can't just wiggle around and pick up your tyre, you have to go get it - obviously that adds a lot to the job."

Pit stop practice at the track is essential for BJR in particular, because the third car - the ADVAM/GB Gal Commodore of Dale Wood - shares a pit bay with TEKNO Autosports and Shane van Gisbergen.

So those who carry out the stop are a combination of crew from both teams, with BJR boys changing tyres on the right hand side, and filling the the fuel filler and fire extinguisher roles. The car controller and two right side wheel changers are from TEKNO, and both teams use their 'dead man' who controls fuel flow at the rig. The split of personnel is determined between the two teams, not V8 Supercars.

Even though both Holden teams don't work together in terms of strategy, the "rule" is basically the same as with any other team - if you have track position, you have priority.

"Whoever is leading gets priority and then you make your arrangements around that, when you're the second car.

"If you're the second car in qualifying there's always a bit of stomach acid ... a lot of fretting goes on until you're not vulnerable under safety car - and there's various stages through the race where you are."

Interestingly, the team sometimes practices for a double stack situation.

"With pit stops, on occasion we practice double stacking. Like, running out with two lots if there's a safety car panic - take both lots of wheels out, stack them up."

Storey said it would be great for fans to get to see the demonstration and really acknowledge the contribution of the crew.

"It will be good for the boys - normally they don't get a mention and they contribute quite a bit of effort. The outcome is, quite often we're out the front and they work pretty hard."

The pit walk is open to fans with grandstand or corporate tickets on Sunday at the Coates Hire Ipswich 400.

For those who have purchased general admission passes, but would like to participate in the walk, tickets can be upgraded by calling Ticketek, or at the gate. However allocation is limited, so get in fast.

Sunday offers even more for fans, with the True Colour Track Walk later that morning. All 25 V8 Supercars and drivers will be out on the grid, with fans able to wander up close for photo opportunities. Click here for more information.

And click here to secure your Coates Hire Ipswich 400 tickets, if you haven't done so already. Kids under 14 and under are free with a ticket-holding adult trackside.

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