How to become a Pitstop Performance Coach - Qualifications, skills & more

Good pitstops are vital to a good performance, but how do you train for them? We spoke to Cassie McColl, a Pitstop Performance Coach, to find out.

How to become a Pitstop Performance Coach - Qualifications, skills & more

While drivers fight on track for every possible millisecond, races can be won or lost by how long pitcrews take to service a car, and as it’s so much easier to lose time in the pits than it is to make it up. That means that having a well-maintained, well-trained pitcrew can be the difference between winning and losing, and this is where Pitstop Performance Coaches come in. Working with pitcrews, they’re responsible for ensuring that drivers keep every tenth they gain on track, but how do they do that and how do you become one?

We spoke to Cassie McColl, a Pitstop Performance Coach with JOTA, to find out.

What is your role?

Human Performance at JOTA involves analysing movement during pitstops to decrease injury risk and increase performance. From the analysis, training programmes are developed to address the areas of performance that need improvement.

How do you become a Pitstop Performance Coach?

This a role I have worked in multiple professional sports before moving into motorsport. During university I volunteered for many work experience placements. Many university lecturers work or have links to professional sports teams this allowed me to complete placements with dancers, weightlifters, hockey players, rugby players and Australian Rules Football (AFL). This allowed me to create many contacts and was offered jobs to assess a particular area within the team which the coach and management staff wanted to address. In addition to university studies, work placements provide the necessary skills to approach teams and work with them to increase performance of their athletes.

#28 JOTA Oreca 07 - Gibson LMP2, Sean Gelael, Stoffel Vandoorne, Tom Blomqvist

#28 JOTA Oreca 07 - Gibson LMP2, Sean Gelael, Stoffel Vandoorne, Tom Blomqvist

Photo by: Team Jagonya Ayam

What qualifications do you need?

A bachelor’s degree in Sport Science is necessary. This course will provide many skills including exercise programming, exercise testing, biomechanics analysis and research skills. Many of the top human performance individuals also completes master’s degrees in biomechanics, strength and conditioning and injury rehabilitation.

What should you study in school?

I studied in Australia, so the high school structure and subjects are a bit different to here in the UK. However in high school, I studied biology, physical education, maths and physics. From there I completed a Bachelor in Exercise and Sport Science, Masters degrees in exercise rehabilitation and a Masters degree in Sports Biomechanics.

Biology and physical education teach the basic understanding of the body and bodily systems for functions. Maths and physics teach how to understand and calculate the forces that act of the body to improve or decrease performance of an athlete. From there university degrees provide the in-depth knowledge and skill set to work in the sport science field.

What other skills are useful?

My role at JOTA requires me to work with the mechanics, engineers and other health professionals that work with the drivers. So being able to work in a team is very important. As sport science is relatively new in the motorsport field good problem solving skills and ability to communicate and write detailed reports are also vital to help to team improve their performance.

#28 JOTA Oreca 07 - Gibson: Sean Gelael, Stoffel Vandoorne, Tom Blomqvist

#28 JOTA Oreca 07 - Gibson: Sean Gelael, Stoffel Vandoorne, Tom Blomqvist

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

How can I get work experience?

To get work experience in the sport science field contact companies with a CV and ask if they take work experience students. Contact clinics or sports teams and ask if there are placements available. If they don’t have placements available, ask for a meeting. That way a meeting in person will help develop a contact that can be useful in the future.

What does a race day look like for you?

During a race meeting there is a lot to do. At JOTA we have a pitstop practice schedule for the race meeting. Each practice session is planned with specific skills we want to improve ahead of the race. After a practice session each stop is analysed for time, body movements and errors. I consult with the engineers to understand their tyre strategy for the race and choreograph stops if the engineers want something different, we don’t normally practice. During free practice sessions I am videoing live stops and analysing them so the mechanics get feedback to address for the next live stop. This is similar to the race.

What does a normal day look like for you?

I work as a contractor, so I am sometimes workshop running training and exercise sessions and sometimes I work from home completing reports and performing admin duties. The days change from working 12-hour days to two-hour days.

This article was created in partnership with Motorsport Jobs. Find the latest jobs in motorsport on the Motorsport Jobs website.

shares
comments

Related video

Alpine to run two-car LMDh Hypercar entry in WEC from 2024
Previous article

Alpine to run two-car LMDh Hypercar entry in WEC from 2024

Next article

Rast to make DTM comeback in 2022, lead Audi LMDh programme in 2023

Rast to make DTM comeback in 2022, lead Audi LMDh programme in 2023
The long road to convergence for sportscar racing's new golden age Plus

The long road to convergence for sportscar racing's new golden age

The organisers of the World Endurance Championship and IMSA SportsCar Championship worked together to devise the popular new LMDh rule set. But to turn it from an idea into reality, some serious compromises were involved - both from the prospective LMDh entrants and those with existing Le Mans Hypercar projects...

IMSA
Nov 25, 2022
How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game Plus

How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game

The 956 set the bar at the dawn of Group C 40 years ago, and that mark only rose higher through the 1980s, both in the world championship and in the US. It and its successor, the longer-wheelbase 962, were voted as Autosport's greatest sportscar in 2020 - here's why

WEC
Aug 25, 2022
Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes Plus

Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes

OPINION: While the focus has been on the exciting prospect of Ferrari vs Porsche at the Le Mans 24 Hours next year, BMW’s factory return to endurance racing should not be ignored. It won't be at the French classic next year as it focuses efforts on the IMSA SportsCar Championship, but could be a dark horse in 2024 when it returns to La Sarthe with the crack WRT squad

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2022
The problem sausage kerbs continue to cause Plus

The problem sausage kerbs continue to cause

Track limits are the problem that motorsport doesn't seem to be able to rid itself of. But the use of so-called 'sausage kerbs' as a deterrent has in several instances only served to worsen the problem, and a growing number of voices want to see action taken

Formula 1
Jul 18, 2022
The history lessons Peugeot should have learned on its return Plus

The history lessons Peugeot should have learned on its return

The Peugeot 9X8 will make its World Endurance Championship debut at Monza this weekend. The French manufacturer has gone radical and will be hoping it doesn’t need to overhaul its contender, as it did with its first Le Mans challenger…

WEC
Jul 8, 2022
Why Peugeot's sportscar return will capture the imagination Plus

Why Peugeot's sportscar return will capture the imagination

OPINION: Peugeot will make its World Endurance Championship debut at Monza this weekend with the 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar that has ignored design conventions by eschewing a rear wing. Its distinctive look will help sportscar racing appeal to fresh audiences as a new golden era is ushered in

WEC
Jul 7, 2022
How Formula E's double-duty drivers influenced their Le Mans teams' fortunes Plus

How Formula E's double-duty drivers influenced their Le Mans teams' fortunes

Eight Formula E drivers made the 7,000-mile sprint from the streets of Jakarta to the fabled Circuit de la Sarthe and every one had a story to share at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours. Despite a range of triumphs and disappointments, each driver doubling up on the day job played a key role in their teams' fortunes

Le Mans
Jun 14, 2022
How an Italian junior formula giant is readying for its Le Mans future Plus

How an Italian junior formula giant is readying for its Le Mans future

Prema remains a colossus in single-seaters, but the serial Formula 2 and Formula 3 title-winning squad has joined forces with top GT squad Iron Lynx for an attack on sportscars in the World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series. Ahead of its debut at the Le Mans 24 Hours, its sights are firmly fixed on LMP2 glory – and a future in Hypercars next year...

Le Mans
Jun 8, 2022