Brazil GP - The girls from Ipanema
or; Fastest Pit Lane Changes in the World
Article is written by and copyright (c) 1999 Jeff Rose,
by Inky Black
With two old cars and a bad reputation, the BayWatch All-Girl Pit Crew
arrived at the Brazil GP with plenty to prove. The team were well-known for
their wet t-shirt contests, and people were still talking about the Full
Monty in Melbourne. But here, here in a country where everyone wears a
bikini, the girls would try to wear the pants.
Oba! That means whoopie here in Sampa! And Sampa means Sao Paulo here in
Sao Paulo. "Oba Sampa! We're here!" screamed the BayWatch All-Girl Pit Crew
as they busted out of the airport and into the rhythms of everyday Paulistano
The girls had one day free and headed straight to Ipanema Beach. Here they
found that everyone in Brazil wears bikinis. Men and women. Old and young.
Big and small. Rotund and rotunder. Everybody!
And there are two kinds of bikinis here. One is extremely more skimpy than
is beyond belief. The other is smaller and is called the "Fio Dental." Yes,
that's it, it's called the dental floss! After the beach it was back to
Sampa and back to business.
At the air freight terminal everyone watched the unloading. A Minardi had
been dropped after Melbourne, and the crew didn't need damage to their cars.
Under the bright Brazilian sun, Cha Cha Chitwood and the BayWatch All-Girl
Pit Crew brought the 1958 Maserati and the 1967 BRM safely down to the
tarmac. The team's cars were a bright pink; with green stars painted as
accent stripes down the sides, and along the lines of the cockpit and nose.
The pink glistened against the blue Brazilian sky as the girls turned for the
terminal. "A job well done," they thought. On cue, the overhead crane
dropped a Minardi. Again. It went point first into the BRM that Jackie
Stewart had driven so well in 1967. Both cars were wrecked as the Minardi
wedged itself deep into the BRM cockpit... now don't say a thing about dual
In a flash the BRM was gone, and if the girls were going to race this week,
it would be in a Maserati that was older than all of them. "Betcha don't
pass anybody in that crate!" yelled a nearby Crew Chief, "Not a chance!"
"Betcha so!" countered Cha Cha, never one to back down.
"You won't pass anybody; I'll bet you a week in a Bikini..." he came back,
"And I'm talking the whole crew!"
"You're on!" said Cha Cha as the BayWatch All-Girl Pit Crew dropped into
instant depression. First it was a wet t-shirt contest here and there, then
the Full Monty in Melbourne. Now Cha Cha had bet Bikinis in Brazil. "Oh No"
sighed the team. They figured breaking in to Formula One would be tough, but
this was getting ridiculous!
They sat on the kerb with a jar of moonshine and the Minardi crew. There was
some good news. The team had bought some of the latest in high-tech brakes
and wheels. These would work as well on the Maserati as on the BRM. And a
spark was flickering deep in the sub-conscious of the whole team. 1200 bhp
of turbocharged Ford 427 sat undamaged in the back of the BRM. Was there
room for a second Ford engine on the Maserati chassis? Would 2400 bhp get
the BayWatch All-Girl Pit Crew the respect and the speed that they needed?
There is enough room under the big rear cowling of a front-engined Maserati
to keep a keg of beer. In fact, that's was where the BayWatch Crew kept the
keg of beer. But with the BRM out of commission they planned on stuffing an
extra 427 cubic inch Ford engine in there. That would make it a 14 litre
Maserati with two turbochargers, 2400 horses and about a dozen pit stops for
gasoline. Not bad, they thought. "This might work!" It would be fast on
the straight sections but it's going to corner like a greased pig on
linoleum. This is to say "fat, sideways, and with a lot of kicking and
With the keg out, the 427 engine dropped neatly into the rear of the
Maserati. The gas tank and some other gizmo's had to be moved but that was
nothing compared to getting the brakes on. The high-tech large diameter
carbon-fiber units and modern wide tyres would give the '58 some awesome
stopping power. And with two 427 engines onboard, they just might need some
awesome stopping power. First practice was the next morning; they might
surprise some folks!
854 cubic inches of twin-engined Maserati rolled out of the garage and into
the morning light. And everyone in Interlagos looked up as 2400 horsepower
barked to life. The FIA inspectors looked at the car and shook their heads.
"They think they are going to get away with that?" they thought, "There isn't
enough moonshine in South America to get us to pass that car!"
Watched by everyone, even the top talent of the racing world stepped to the
end of pit row for a peek. The girls gave them nicknames as they passed by
to rubberneck. First were "Hot Dog" Williams and Dennis "the Menace." Jean
Todt became "Elvis," and Eddie Jordan, with his granny glasses and long
sideburns, was "Ringo."
It was late, but time enough for one flying lap. Everything looked good, and
rumors of an awesome pink machine with green stars had filtered through to
the crowd. One flying lap would be a great statement. The team couldn't win
the race. They couldn't even pass inspection. But they could show off!
Cha Cha eased the car down pit lane. When she blipped the twin throttles,
people listened... glass cracked... women and children ran. Cha Cha left a
patch of rubber a hundred feet long in front of the timing tower. "Courtesy
of first gear" thought Cha Cha. Second gear left another hundred feet. And
then Cha Cha moved the car into turn one, into third gear, and into a ton of
"Nail 'em on the straight! Nail 'em on the straight!" crackled a voice on
the cellphone Cha Cha carried in the car. A glance in the mirrors showed
nothing. Cha Cha eased and coasted towards Costa del Sol, the last corner
before the straight. "Nail 'em on the straight! Nail 'em on the straight!"
crackled the phone again. Three tiny blips came into the mirrors and "Wham
On The Gas!" screamed Cha Cha to herself as she floored the Maserati. Three
World Champions passed her on the outside of the turn, their exhaust notes
drowned out by the scream and squeal of the Pink Pig.
Luck shone on Cha Cha like the bright sun on the pink car. Her timing was
perfect, and with smoke pouring from the tyres, she caught up to and passed
the three cars on the straight-away. The World Champion of 1996 went down as
the Maserati hit 220. She overtook the WC of 1997 at about 240. FIA
telemetry read 255 miles per hour as she tore by WC 1998 with just enough
room on left to stand on the brakes.
Cha Cha smiled to herself at about 260 mph. "Racing fans sure don't see this
every day" she thought as she gave the brakes a dab; then stomped on them
good! The carbon grabbed the large-diameter disks and hammered 'em to an
immediate crawl. The big tyres oozed rubber into the track as they gripped
the asphalt like a pit bull. What brakes! The deceleration was awesome.
The suspension mounts, however, were not awesome. The space-age brakes and
special-compound tyres locked themselves to the pavement, they basically
stopped on a peso. For the overweight 1958 Maserati tub, stopping was not an
option. The body parted with the suspension and left the tyres and brakes
stopped perfectly in place on the asphalt. Telemetry from the tub indicated
230 mph as it headed off the track and into downtown Interlagos. "Racing
fans sure don't see this everyday" thought Cha Cha.
Anticipation is a racing skill, and Cha Cha Chitwood was already considering
the stretch of Avenido Interlagos she was about to join.
Avenido Interlagos is the main drag through the resort community which lives
up to it's name. It's between two lakes. And between two lakes you will
find a shopping district where tourists and week-enders buy little things
like souvenirs and bikinis. It was fast and bumpy as the car hurtled into
it's date with downtown.
The 1958 Maserati of the BayWatch All-Girl Pit Crew, and their chances of
winning, may have skidded to a stop in the parking lot of the local Bikini
World. "But there is a god," thought Cha Cha, as she unbelted and stepped
inside to order bikinis for a certain all-male Formula One crew.
Inside, the clerk asked "Would you like those in regular or Fio Dental?"
His other Travel and Humour Articles
can be found at Aloha from the Nervous Nineties.