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Ratel Considering Minimum Pit Stop Times for Sprint Cup

Ratel to speak with teams about introducing timed pit stops for Sprint Cup in 2019…

Photo: Dirk Bogaerts/SRO

Stephane Ratel will consult with the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup paddock this weekend about the possible introduction of minimum pit stop times next year.

The mandatory pit stop is currently untimed in the Sprint Cup while a minimum time from pit entry to exit is imposed in Blancpain GT Endurance Cup races.

Timed pit stops would bring the Sprint Cup in line with most other SRO-run championships and serve as a cost-cutting measure.

“This format has existed since 2010 and it is war during the stops,” SRO Motorsports Group Founder and CEO Ratel told Endurance-Info. 

“The competition is present. However, we suffer a little because teams believe that it requires too much money. You need the equipment, the training, the staff.

“This reflection is part of my agenda at the Nürburgring. I will consult teams and drivers this weekend.

“We listen to our customers. This is our business. Without listening to our customers, the system cannot work.”

The introduction of untimed ‘joker’ stops in the Total 24 Hours of Spa and six-hour race at Circuit Paul Ricard has added an extra level of strategy in the championship’s longest endurance races this year.

It was met by a mixed reaction from the paddock ahead of Spa, where each car was allowed one untimed stop in each six-hour period of the race.

Ratel has attributed the additional cost involved with untimed stops as one of the reasons for Sprint Cup’s smaller grid this season.

“The pit stop competition in Blancpain Sprint is very, very demanding for the team and very expensive in personnel, in equipment and in training,” he told Sportscar365 in May.

“That now plays a bit against the series. We have to look at an evolution for next year and we’re thinking about it.”

Laurent Mercier contributed to this report.

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist who is Sportscar365's European Editor and also Managing Editor for e-racing365. He is a student of Politics and International Relations. Contact Jake



  1. FlyingLobster27

    September 13, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    As much as I’ve poked fun behind my screen about WRT not needing on-track overtakes because they pit so much faster (though that is less true in recent years), I think timed pit stops in Sprint would be a mistake if the target time was too high. I’m not so much concerned about costs on this one (I guess equipment could be made standard if that is a worry), but we have seen some mechanics slip up on car release, which could be dangerous. Maybe make the target time attainable, so that pit crews can still make a difference.

  2. Nate B

    September 13, 2018 at 4:54 pm

    How about you just freakin’ race instead of this prescriptive rule-following activity parade that modern SRO racing has become? What happened to just being better than someone else? If you want to slow pit stops down and save costs, limit teams to one wheel gun and one tire carrier to do tire changes.

    • Just a guy

      September 13, 2018 at 7:06 pm

      Exactly Nate, they take so many aspects of Racing out of the Racing!!!

      All of the teams already in Blancpain own this equipment already, a good Paoli gun and a boom. Yes, buy a Greaves boom and you are spending $$$, or get creative and fab one up, totally doable by any team.

      As a person who makes his living in the paddock and on pit road, I hate the way Racing is going!!!!!

      • BirdBrick

        September 13, 2018 at 10:54 pm

        It really looks like they are trying to take the team aspect out of racing. Next thing you know there will mandatory setups.

  3. peter

    September 14, 2018 at 4:57 am

    i rhink you have to look more at the smaller teams that one also needs to have a full grid!
    most of those work with freelance mechanics so it will be difficult to do daily pit stop practice that you need to do if you want to be competitive!
    furthermore gt3 racing is based on BOP that equels performance to n the track and if you have lets say a Bentley or BMW you will have a struggle to beat a Audi during a pitstop as the size of the car is considerable bigger and the mechanics need to cover more distance to change all 4 wheels
    furthermore any pro am car with a gentleman driver will have a struggle to change drivers in 18sec and therefore that drives gentlemen drivers away as they dont want to be seen as being the „ looser“ for the possible slow stop

    and grid need all type of drivers otherwise they are not big enough

    one more cost saving issue could be to ban of tire heating as it requires 1 more person to operate the oven etc. and if no one has heated tires everybody is on the same level
    the tires can do it as in other championships wirh the same tires, there is tire heating banned

    the recent decline in grid size must have a reason and i think those pitstops are one of them
    if one looks at grids for similar championships with a pitstop fixed time they currently have larger grids

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