WHILE spectators’ eyes are fixed on the track, controlled chaos is under way in the garages along Pit Lane.
There is a lot to do to get ready for the Great Race, and it all starts with the practice sessions held in the first three days of the race event.
At Nissan Motorsport, the team has four cars to get in shape and eight drivers they need to manage.
None of the team’s cars made it into the top 10 shootout on Saturday afternoon, so for them, practice session six was their last chance to get the setup right before Sunday’s big race.
Prior to the session getting underway, the crew was busy getting into their gear and setting up so they can make changes to the cars and practice their pit stops.
Race control lets them know the pit exit is open, and then it’s time to push the cars out from the garage.
“Alright boys, let’s get ‘em out the front,” comes over the radio.
A sense of calm then falls over the garage, the radios silent as the drivers get a feel for the car and the team monitors the screens.
The screens in front of the engineers display a range of important information, including live footage from the circuit, the weather and the data coming from the car.
Television screens with the coverage and live timing are located throughout the garage to keep everyone in the team can keep up to date.
Race fans standing behind the garages don’t mind being able to see the screens either.
It doesn’t take long for the drivers to get in contact, updating their engineers on the state of their cars.
“Struggling, mate, struggling,” Rick Kelly said from #11.
“Okay, we’ll make some changes,” is the response.
Once it was confirmed that #11 was coming in, the pit crew scrambled to get the garage ready for his arrival.
It’s a team effort to make all the changes, with the engineer liaising with Kelly while the rest of the crew try to improve the car.
When the car is back out, the engineer keeps in contact with Kelly, the pair discussing whether the situation was any better and at which parts of the track the car was struggling the most.
As practice six was open to both lead and co-drivers, everyone was suited up and ready to jump in if required.
While they waited for instruction, the co-drivers kept their eyes trained on the monitors.
And when safety cars were called? That’s when the communication channels became vital.
The engineers had to make sure that the drivers knew where the accident had occurred and advise them to be cautious when navigating that part of the circuit.
While they may not have been in the shootout, the level of communication and the calm demeanor of the Nissan Motorsport team put them in a great position to tackle the 1000 kilometre race.
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