The art of the pit stop with Rebellion Racing

06.05.2019

When a form of motorsport includes pit stops, it immediately becomes one of the most important aspects of that discipline. You can take risks on the track and maybe shave off a couple of tenths of a second per lap, but with a perfectly executed pit stop you can easily gain or lose a few seconds. That’s why we sat down with one of Rebellion’s chief mechanics, Phil Jose, who’s been doing them for over fifteen years. 

What’s the main essence of getting a pit stop right? 

The most important thing is to get the right person in the right place. Having mechanics who are in shape comes as a close second. You need to figure out who is strong enough to fit wheels or who is fast enough to run around with a wheel gun. The biggest, heaviest guy is usually on the fuel hose. He needs to open that valve and press down his entire weight on that valve for 30-45 seconds. 

The art of the pit stop with Rebellion Racing

How do you train for pit stops? 

Once you’ve figured out which mechanic takes on what role, it’s vital to develop a routine. It’s something we train for at the factory. If you do five pit stops in the morning and five in the afternoon and you do that five days a week, you can shave off two seconds. Everyone should be able to do their job with their eyes closed. That way the team arrives at the track with confidence. 

What’s your role during a pit stop? 

I’m the car controller/main mechanic on the car and I oversee the pit stop, so I’m also “the lollypop guy”. It’s my job to wave the car into the stand, oversee the pit stop and safely release the car back out on the track. If one of our guys is injured, which can always happen, I’ll step in for them. 

Is there a competition within the team, the crew of the #1 car versus the crew of the #3 car? 

Oh, all the time, that’s what we love about it! First, it’s the competition with our teammates. We compare times all the time, even at the factory. Also up and down the pit lane you want to compare yourself to the guys of competing teams.

The art of the pit stop with Rebellion Racing

Do you adapt the cars themselves to make pit stops easier? 

No, we don’t really do anything to the cars themselves. They are fitted with pneumatic jacks that lift the car as soon as we put the system under pressure, so there is no need to jack it up like in Formula One, but that is a pretty common system in motorsport. There are small things we do. So, for instance, the belts will have bungee cords attached to them that will lift them up as soon as the driver releases them. This prevents them from falling into the seat when the driver gets out and makes them easier to reach for the new driver. We add stops to the booms that hold up the air hose for the wheel gun, so it doesn't move too far out when they run around. These seem like little things, but if we can shave off a tenth of a second or two, it’s time gained on the track. 

The art of the pit stop with Rebellion Racing
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