More Info


       T       he pit board was once the only method of
               communication between the crew and driver, and it’s
               still a method used today. Unfortunately, this form of
        communication is a one-way street, leaving the driver no
        method of responding – that is, aside from a few frantic
                                                                        someone yell “go” in the driver’s ear
                                                                        when the green flag drops, in-car
                                                                        radio systems have almost limitless
                                                                        applications. But, as with everything,
                                                                        there’s a lot you should know before
        and impossible to interpret hand gestures as he or she          placing that order.
        speeds by. As technology marched on, radios became
        smaller and more powerful, and it was only a matter of          THE BASICS
        time before these made it into the hands of racecar drivers     Tin cups connected by a string won’t
        and crew – fi rst, on the professional side and then in          do, not even for the shortest of tracks.
        amateur racing.                                                 Rather, you need the right equipment
           As an avid and successful Soloist, Club Racer and team       to communicate effectively.
        owner, T.C. Kline has spent time on both ends of the radio.        The handheld radio is the basis
        From his experience, he has found it to be a useful tool but    for most racing systems, and it
        he said the use of it is very driver dependant.                 can come in a variety of sizes
           In the professional ranks, Kline uses the radio from atop    and power levels. “Five watts is
        the pit box to simply check in with the driver. “I want to      the most power you can get out
        make sure he has no issues with the car, beyond that it is      of a handheld unit,” said Shawn
        up to the driver,” said Kline. “Some drivers want a lot of      Sampson, owner of Sampson Racing
        information, lap times, lap count and the track position of     Communications. “There are two-watt
        competitors, while other drivers don’t want to talk at all.”    and four-watt radios available, but
           When it comes to Club Racing, where Kline is behind          you’ll want the most power you can
        the wheel, his attitude toward the radio changes a bit.         get. The two-watt radios are great
       “If the car I’m racing has one, [then] I will use it, but we     for circle tracks and go-karts, but
        keep things pretty laid back,” said Kline. “In a sprint race    after that, you don’t have enough
        format, I don’t need much information from the crew.”           power to push the communication
           Kline is a prime example of a driver who wants to focus      out of the car. Anytime you go
        on driving, while others are looking for all the intel they     to a road course you’re going to

        can get on what the competition may be doing.                   want four to five watts of power.”
           Whether it’s diagnosing handling issues or having               Beyond the power level, there is

                                                                                                                    LAT PHOTOGRAPHIC

       What was once a                                                   also the consideration of UHF and
                                                                         VHF units. Both have advantages and
                                                                                                                                          If you frequent some of the longer
                                                                                                                                       tracks, or ones with a lot of elevation
       board at the side of the                                          disadvantages. Typically the VHF                              
To top