Lotus F1 Team Let Conference Attendees Become Pit Crew Members

Lotus F1 Front
Lotus F1 Team members Andy Poole, left, and Tim Baston, right, coach pit crew challenge participants at the 2015 EMC World conference.

A tech conference may seem like an unlikely place for a pit crew challenge, but the Lotus F1 Team was on hand to give attendees a real life glimpse into the world of Formula 1 racing.

The Lotus F1 Team had a display at the 2015 EMC World conference in Las Vegas, giving attendees the chance to become a pit crew member, if only for a short time.

In the challenge, two teams of three were pitted against each other to see which one could change a front wheel the fastest, with best of three winning some Lotus F1 Team paraphernalia.

Lotus F1 Team member Tim Baston shows participants of the pit crew challenge how to change a tire.

The team didn’t make any concessions for the unskilled amateurs, either. Everything was the real deal – the car, the tires, even the pneumatic impact wrench, which filled the expo center with noise every time it was used.

Simon Forester, head of licensing and merchandising for the Lotus F1 Team, said that the car at the event was a 2013 E21, specifically chassis number four, that actually saw race action. He said this car would have been available to the team mid-season.

Forester said that this car was a pre-hybrid model and ran a 2.4-liter Renault V-8 engine when it was in use. However, for the show, the car was painted in 2015 livery, complete with the Mercedes-Benz logo, as the team switched to Mercedes power for 2015.

The car at the Lotus F1 Team display was a 2013 E21 painted in 2015 livery.

For the pit crew challenge, two former race team members – Tim Baston and Andy Poole – coached one team each and showed them how to change a tire as part of a pit crew.

After a few practice runs, the competition began, with Forester running the stopwatch. One team member would man the wrench, one would be ready to remove the old tire and the other would be ready with the new one.

On his mark, the teams started. The wrench wailed as the center nut was spun loose. The next team member grabbed the old tire, while the new tire was hefted into place. The wrench man then spun the nut tight and slammed his hand, thumb up and fingers out, onto the top of the tire to indicate the change was complete.

The 2015 EMC World conference ran from May 4-7, with the expo opened from May 4-6. Forester said that the pit crew challenge was only held when nearby booths weren’t giving demonstrations, as the noise would be too loud.

The Lotus F1 Team is based out of Enstone, Oxfordshire, England. EMC is a sponsor of the team and a technical partner.

Watch as Andre and Nathan take an Audi S3 around America’s Formula 1 circuit in this TFLcar video: