Our drivers might get all the fame and glory that can come with claiming podiums and spraying champagne, but without the pit crew the drivers wouldn’t be up there.
When just tenths of a second split the cars up and down pit lane you can only imagine what’s going through our drivers’ heads when they’re reduced to 40km/hr down pit lane…
A pregnant lady stuck in peak hour traffic?
Yes, they’re wired to drive fast and although a pit stop is purely an inconvenience to them, it plays a huge role in how the race plays out and can provide plenty of entertainment.
The stars of the pit stop show are our pit crew, a small army of people who resemble storm troopers. For them, one mistake and it could cost the team a track position or the race. Talk about pressure.
And as if the pressure wasn’t enough, the crew are now battling it out for more than just tenths of a second in the Supercars PIRTEK Pit Stop Challenge.
Yep, they’re competing for prize money and the ultimate bragging rights – that’s enough to get our crew up early in the morning for training a few times per week.
Post-Winton, our pit crew is leading the challenge by nine points largely thanks to our mistake-free stops so far.
We spoke to Workshop Manager and Crew Chief Kris “Gooey” Goos to see what makes a good storm trooper and, as you can imagine, most of the time it’s what’s between the ears that can separate the good from the bad.
Have a bad stop? Shake it off because before you know it, the next car will be coming through.
“In our pit stop team, everyone handles the pressure in different ways,” said Gooey.
“Some of them are cool-headed while the more experienced ones are quite level-headed. Naturally they have been around it longer and have been exposed to everything that can go wrong.
“In saying that, some people just rock up and are pretty comfortable to start with so that helps – they can process the information that’s coming in and not worry about the external factors.”
Our crew might train year-round in the gym or at a practice rig, but nothing can beat real-world training and that’s during a race – not exactly the best time to allow for mistakes here and there.
“Everyone is pretty competitively natured, they wouldn’t work in a place like this if they weren’t,” said Gooey.
“It’s hard for them to get real world experience in pit lane but the Saturday races can enable that because we can put the less experienced ones with those who have more experience and not affect our pace at all.”
In 2015, Triple Eight joined forces with Air & Allied Sales Pacific and Paoli Pit Stop to develop the humble wheel gun and over the past three years, we’ve been able to maximise our pit stops.
Paoli pit tools on their own come with some pretty nifty credentials – they’re used by many of the teams in Formula One as well as within Indycar and NASCAR.
Our newly-developed Paoli rattle guns were made to be 1.2kg lighter (every kilogram counts when changing 21kg tyres), have better manoeuvrability and have an increase in reliability and cost effectiveness with just one component need be replaced after 650 pit stop trials.
“The Paoli guns have definitely helped us, they’re lightweight and we don’t have as much long-term maintenance on them,” continued Gooey.
“It’s a rattle gun, so inevitably there’s a few things that cop a hammering but when you consider the life expectancy of the gun, the Paoli one has saved us the time.”
Considering the fact that we previously manufactured our own parts for guns, this gives us more time for activities, like car builds and pit stop practice.
“Dino Paoli has been around forever, they specialise in guns, that’s what they do so they supply a good product,” Gooey said.
And when your gun is as venomous as a rattle snake under pressure, you’re guaranteed a fast stop.