Wet or Dry, Pit or Stay?

June 22, 2013

Wet or Dry, Pit or Stay?

June 22, 2013

2013-06-22 at 06-05-58With rain starting to appear around the circuit as the race hit the 2.5 mark, the race may reach an early set of stress decisions.

A three–time Le Mans class winner with Aston Martin and Corvette Racing, driver Antonio Garcia of Corvette Racing says that the most difficult part of a race for a driver is the point where it is beginning to rain.

The track is slick and constantly changing, but that isn’t the only issue.

“The team is asking if you want to pit or stay out,” Garcia said in an interview with @michelinracingusa.com earlier this week.

“You are the driver. You know how the car feels and what the conditions are all the way around the track. The team will usually let you decide,” said Garcia.

The decision is rarely cut and dried.

“It is easy to decide what to do if the track is mostly dry or if it is very wet, but if you pit for wet tires and are wrong, you will need to pit again to change back to slicks,” said Garcia.

“That will cost you at least two minutes. That’s why you also need the data the Corvette and Michelin engineers have as well.”

And if you stay out on slicks as it rains?

“If the rain stops before the track gets too bad, you are glad you stayed out. But, if it rains too much, you can be stuck on slicks trying to get back to the pits. If you lose the car and hit something you can be out of the race.”

And what about the other direction, switching from wet tires to slicks?

“We were the first to switch to slicks on the test day and we immediately gained about eight seconds on the first full lap,” said Garcia.

“Everyone is watching to see who switches first. Then they watch the sector times. If the times are good, they will all dive into the pits on the next lap. You will have taken the risk and maybe gained eight seconds. Sometimes it is worth it and sometimes not,” said Garcia.

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