As a completely new team to the Verizon IndyCar Series, Carlin Racing’s pit crew has never made a competitive pit stop in a race. That’s because the previous series Carlin has competed in were junior formula races that did not include pit stops.
So, when drivers Max Chilton and Charlie Kimball come down pit road in Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, it will be the first time their over-the-wall pit crew members will swing into action in any type of race.
“To be honest, we’re going to have to learn by fire,” team owner Trevor Carlin told Autoweek. “We haven’t had a car available to practice pit stops at all. By the time we got the first car finished we had to go to Homestead-Miami Speedway for a test. We got back, stripped it and then built a second car. We finished the second car at the test at Phoenix.
“We have not done a practice pit stop at all.”
Rather than hire a collection of IndyCar crewmembers from other teams, Carlin decided to move his Indy Lights team up to IndyCar. Of course, there are no pit stops in Indy Lights but a few of his crewmembers have made pit stops in other categories.
“None of them have IndyCar experience but a few were in Formula 1,” Carlin said. “They are different disciplines, so we are going to have to go step-by-step.
“We’re not going to be the fastest pit crew in the first race. But I guarantee you by the last race, we will match anybody.”
Carlin is one of the most successful teams in junior formulas of Europe. It competes in FIA Formula 2, FIA Formula 3 European Championship, F4 British Championship, EuroFormula Open Champion, formerly the Indy Lights Series and now IndyCar.
The 54-year-old Carlin, who hails from Wokking, England, has helped start the career of some of the top drivers in racing as over 200 drivers have been involved with his teams throughout the years. Those include Formula One drivers Nico Rosberg, Robert Kubica, Sebastian Vettel, Takuma Sato, Anthony Davidson, Jaime Alguersuari, Daniel Ricciardo, Chilton, Narain Karthikean, Jean-Eric Vergne, Kevin Magnussen, Felipe Nasr and Rio Haryanto.
Other drivers that have worked with Carlin include defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden, Jamie Green, Oliver Jarvis, Oliver Turvey, Alvaro Parente, Kimball, Robert Wickens and Ed Jones.
Newgarden, Chilton, Kimball, Wickens and Newgarden are all in the Verizon IndyCar Series.
The 2018 season begins Sunday with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The ABC telecast begins at 12:30 p.m. ET.