Pit control

Author

admin

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Current page

133

Current page

134

Current page

135

Current page

136

Current page

137

Current page

138

Current page

139

Current page

140

Current page

141

Current page

142

Current page

143

Current page

144

Current page

145

Current page

146

Current page

147

Current page

148

Current page

149

Current page

150

Current page

151

Current page

152

Current page

153

Current page

154

Current page

155

Current page

156

Current page

157

Current page

158

Current page

159

Current page

160

Current page

161

Current page

162

Current page

163

Current page

164

Current page

165

Current page

166

Current page

167

Current page

168

Current page

169

Current page

170

Current page

171

Current page

172

Current page

173

Current page

174

Current page

175

Current page

176

Current page

177

Current page

178

Current page

179

Current page

180

Current page

181

Current page

182

Current page

183

Current page

184

By Prince Chula of Thailand

We are very pleased to be able the present this article on a most important aspect of racing by one who is recognised authority on the subject – Ed.

It was with diffidence that I accepted the invitation of MOTOR SPORT to write something on pit control. In spite of the fact that I have perhaps achieved some success as a pit manager, I still regard myself as an amateur, owing to my ignorance of the technicalities of an engine. However, I suppose I cannot go too far wrong if! confine myself to my own experiences as manager to my cousin “B Bira”.

With us ‘pit control’ started with the preparation of the car. In 1937 our Maserati blew up after Bira had a duel with Raymond Mays in the International Trophy. Later I read in a motoring paper, “Prince Chula was angry. He can find no excuse for mechanical breakdown.” This remark was in some ways true. I do not think a well-prepared car for the independent driver should break down. I think it was the refusal or the failure to realise the difference in the approach to racing between a firm and an independent, which accounted for the fact that, few of the fine British independent drivers during the past five seasons achieved consistent success.

A firm races to improve their cars, so they must forever be experimenting, hence unreliability must be faced. An independent should be racing for fun only, and the most fun can surely be obtained, if not in winning, then in keeping the car in full fettle through the race. This can best be achieved by keeping the car which one has bought as standard as possible, just giving it careful preparation. Many independents were so busy trying to alter their engines that thoroughness in ordinary preparation must have been lost. Their can might have been faster for a few laps, but were soon to be a dead-car park.

I believe a racing car must be designed as a whole, and once that has been achieved, an independent should leave it alone. We had countless failures in the first years of racing, and it was not until the 1938 season we discovered the true method of an independent and with this policy carried out in the year by my mechanic, Stanley Holgate we only had four retirements in 16 races. Each was traced to faulty material, so by adding a crack tester, we went through 1939 without a single retirement, “Bira” never placed lower than third. So much for preparation.

The next step is at practice and there again the control is as important as in the race itself. I am not suggesting the driver is not capable of judging how he should carry out practice – far from it.! merely think he ought not to do so. He should be able to concentrate on his driving, and the practice should be supervised by pit control. First class driving is an art so fine that to give it full justice a driver has no time to worry about other things. Many people, I believe, used practice for further tuning. We did not. Our car was tuned at Brooklands a day before, and once practice began we left the engine alone unless absolutely necessary. Apart from the minor adjustments, the car was left as it came from the garage.

The practice period was used for “Bira” to lap at the fastest speed within safe limits. The idea was he should get used to knowing his limit on every corner, but it was always hoped this limit would not be necessary in the race. It was also used to match our car against the speed of the others. This would give an idea as to the race, but would not dictate our race policy. I believe in Bira making the fastest lap provided no risk is taken. It has a psychological effect on the others; on many occasions it caused our strongest opponent to take his engine down before the race in the hope of getting more speed. The car would have more speed but last only a few laps.

In the race, pit control would be impossible if the driver and the manager did not share the same policy and did not trust each other. After trying others, “Bira” and I discovered that for a lone independent driver there was only one policy. This was to drive the car at the fastest and safest speed throughout the race, as if one was racing alone. My pit control, therefore, consisted entirely of giving Bira full information so as to keep rigidly to this policy.

This mutual trust between us in pit control can be seen often in the sixty-eight long distance races in which Bira ran, winning twenty of them. If Bira had eased and found he was given the faster signal he’d always try to obey, however unreasonable it would seem to him at the time. The best case of this was perhaps the International Trophy Race in 1936. Towards the end of that long race Bira was a safe second, but I thought he was a whole lap behind Mays. The mistake was caused by the fact that we had a muddle at the refill stop and I had omitted to put that lap on my chart. Thus it seemed absurd to keep Bira going so fast, and he was allowed to ease off. With eight laps to go, Mays came to his pit for a refill and I discovered then that Bira had been really on the same lap, thus he was now in the lead. The faster signal was promptly given. Utterly bewildered, he obeyed and kept ahead of Mays till the last lap. That Mays then passed him to be reposed by Bira within sight of the finish is now well known. The close finish, which delighted the spectators, would not have taken place had Bira hesitated to obey a seemingly absurd signal.

It was agreed that he was left with no discretion with regard to the “slow down” signal which had to be obeyed, and yet he was not to slow of his own accord. This is because unless one is in pos.ses.sion of full knowledge according to the time chart, one cannot know when it is safe to slow.

The best example was the Isle of Man Race, an in a downpour of rain in 1937. Bira was driving magnificently in those appalling conditions, and by half distance had a lead of 56 secs, over Fairfield, who was second. When he came by the pit, one could catch a glimpse of Bira’s surprised face as he searched for the “slow down” signal. Somehow had had an intuition before the race that Fairfield would not have to stop for a refill. I was proved right, and although Bira was overtaken while refilling, his lead had been so great that he was able to get it back and obtain victory.

Although our policy is to drive consistently fast: regardless of the others, I always gave “Bira” his position in the race, those of the others, and the gap of time separating him from them. These signals were designed to keep him amused and informed. as to the general situation. Thus I have often found that I gave more signals than anybody else.

As I can see it, races are won by fine drivers driving well-prepared cars. The task of the pit manager is to help in co-ordinating their efforts into the same harmonious channel.

You may also like

Related products