The ability to communicate clearly and on-demand is one of the most important elements of racing. The driver needs to talk to the chief to get in race updates on the car, the position, and when to pit. The crew chief needs to talk to the pit crew to tell them what the car will need on the next stop, and when to expect it. Race communications can be the difference between winning and losing, so you want to make sure you’re working with the best tools available. The elements of a great racing communications system are all equally important to your success as a whole.
The Driver’s Kit
Over the years, racecar driver helmets have evolved into a marvel of technology and safety. They aren’t a leather half shell anymore. Inside a driver’s helmet, you will find a two-way noise-canceling microphone. Noise-canceling technology is important so the chief can hear the driver over the roar of the engine and surrounding cars. The driver will wear custom-molded earpieces, so they receive clear communications from the chief. External antennas are also available to increase the range. Plus, many manufacturers will add a push to talk button to the steering wheel, so the driver never has to take his hands off the wheel.
The Crew Chief and Pit Crew’s Kit
The radios that the crew chief and the pit crew wear are what everyone sees when they tune in to watch a race on TV. The chief is the only one that can talk to the driver and the crew. His radio has multiple channels so he can speak to them independently. They all wear racing headphones with the same noise-canceling two-way radio that is either digital or analog. For the crew members that must wear helmets, the fueler, and tire guys, there are communication systems inside their helmets similar to a driver’s kit as well.
The Car’s Kit
The kit within the car is a series of wire harnesses, antennas, and boosters. The car is moving fast, and communications need to be clear so the driver can make quick decisions. Race teams will add antenna boosters so that there is never a chance the car will be out of range. Cars are set up, so the driver only has to slide in and hook into the comms system in the car and go. All necessary wires, boosters, and antennas come built-in to the car, so it’s ready to go.