|April 4, 2006
Pit Stop Practice Before an Audience of Fans
For the professional footballers of Audi’s partner FC Bayern München, performing a final practice before an important match in front of fans and media is nothing unusual. A DTM team, though, carrying out its last functional test prior to the season opener in public is a novelty indeed.
Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline – known in the racing community for surprising the competition with unconventional ideas now and then – deliberately chose to perform the dry run in public. An important component of the so-called roll-out, which takes place before each race, is the pit stop practice. The more realistic the conditions the better. "If you practice behind closed doors the pressure isn’t nearly as high as it is when fans watch our boys practice,” says Team Director Hans-Jürgen Abt. "On Sunday, millions of spectators are watching whether or not the stops work well. This makes the adrenalin level rise automatically.”
That is why during the roll-out at the ADAC Driving Safety Centre in Kempten the Audi works drivers Mattias Ekstrom, Tom Kristensen and Martin Tomczyk were personally at the wheel of their competition vehicles too. After all, the perfect interaction between the driver and the pit crew, which may include up to 16 mechanics, can be the crucial factor that determines victory and defeat in the DTM. The drivers must stop their cars with pinpoint accuracy and accelerate again at the right moment – and sometimes that is easier said than done...