Bathurst Pitstop Drama

Bathurst Pitstop Drama

Safety in the pitlane could see a fundamental shift in the Bathurst 1000 this year.

Instead of teams racing the clock to service their cars, using tactical changes to respond to the shape of the race, there could be a fixed time limit for at least one pit visit.

It will be the essential safety stop to change cars’ front brake rotors.

A minimum stationary time for the critical stop, complete with a countdown clock in the windscreen for television viewers, could prevent a costly and potentially dangerous mistake.

The idea is being discussed by the Supercars Commission as a way of compensating for smaller crews in the COVID year.

A similar idea is already used in a wide range of global GT sports car contests as well as Australia.

But it won’t be like the straight-out handicapping system used to even the competition in the Australian GT Championship, which includes tweaking for differences in car speeds and driver skill levels.

Exact details of the pitstop plan have not emerged yet from the Commission but Race News believes it has some support from teams and Supercars administrators.

It is being considered as part of the program that has dramatically reduced the number of crew members travelling through this year’s Supercars championship.

Successful changes have included the switch to two-day race meetings, eliminating refuelling in favour of three short sprint races, and a cut to the number of wheel guns for tyre changes.

There is also a curfew time on weekends, although Brad Jones Racing was forced to work beyond the cut-off on Saturday night in Darwin to repair three badly-damaged cars.

The various changes allowed teams to trim their weekend workforce to just 11 ‘essential’ members – with two extra spots for the drivers – through the new style of two-day sprint-race weekends.

But crews always swell for Bathurst to allow for tyre changes, refuelling and the safety-enforced brake change.

Discussion on the pitlane limits for Bathurst could become heated, but there is believed to be general agreement on one other change for 2020.

It is the introduction of a ‘Lucky Dog’ free pass similar to the system used in NASCAR.

In the event of cars being lapped during the race, the first of the lapped runners during any Safety Car period will be waved past to return to the lead lap.