Double-sided pit lane, IndyCar, Detroit, 2023

Unusual double-sided Detroit pit lane poses familiar problems for IndyCar drivers


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IndyCar has broken with convention by using a double-sided pit lane for its new street circuit in Detroit.

The unusual configuration is being used due to the lack of room to fit a full-length conventional pit lane. Some drivers warned it could cause problems as the two lanes join, then funnel back onto the circuit and rejoin close to the racing line.

McLaren’s Felix Rosenqvist is unsure how easily drivers will merge from two lanes to one before they return to the track during the race.

“When the session started there was quite a lot of cars coming in four-wide into the funnelling section,” he explained. “It’s kind of unique in that way because the pit-speed-limit-off section is way further, like after the funnel.

Marcus Ericsson, Ganassi, IndyCar, Detroit, 2023
Marcus Ericsson heads out of the pits in Detroit
“So we’re going to have to figure out who’s going first in there. I think there’s going to be some situations where people probably don’t want to lift off. That’s kind of what IndyCar is, we battle it out on-track, and I think that’s pretty cool. So let’s hope we’re not going to crash on pit lane.”

But while the sight of two pit lanes side-by-side is unusual, other drivers identified familiar problems with it after the track’s first practice session on Friday. Rosenqvist’s team mate Pato O’Ward highlighted the tricky nature of the pit lane exit, which emerges onto the racing line at the left-handed turn one. “I think that’s going to be interesting in the race with the blend line where it is,” he said.

O’Ward is also concerned drivers on qualifying laps could be impeded by those leaving the pits. “I think the pit exit is going to be something to look out for in qualifying, like impeding and stuff like that,” he said.

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“I don’t know if they’re going to mark it as impeding, but it definitely gets you out of place if someone gets sent there while you’re on a flier. So it’s still a work in progress. There’s probably not a lot of space to work with. I know everybody’s doing their best.”

However Kyle Kirkwood said the peculiar pit lane worked well during practice. “In my mindset, it’s very safe,” he said. “That’s the most important part.

“It seems like pit exit was a concern for everyone yesterday, but it doesn’t seem like it’s going to be that big of an issue. I think everyone’s pretty calm now on exit.

“It’s pretty easy to see a car coming out, to be honest you can’t really see the car that’s on-track, so you’re very reliant on the car that’s on-track to give way and for you to just kind of stay out of the way.

“But that was more the concern than the double pit lane. I think the double pit lane has been absolutely fine.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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One comment on “Unusual double-sided Detroit pit lane poses familiar problems for IndyCar drivers”

  1. After watching the first practice it looks like it will work just fine.

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