the pit lane/pit road
Posted: 08 June 2007 09:40 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I’ve noticed that British F1 commentators refer to “the pit lane” while American NASCAR etc. ones call it “pit road” (without the article).
There must have been a lot of competition between America and Europe in the early days of car manufacture and racing but “pit” is clearly common to both. Any ideas?

Possibly relevant is that the Japanese say “boneto” (bonnet) and “tarunko” (trunk). I’ve asked several Japanese I teach about this and none of them are even aware they are mixing up British and American English. My theory is they were taking loanwords indiscriminately from everywhere that supplied them with cars 100 years-or-so ago and these two somehow caught on.

“Lane” has always struck me as very British and sounds a bit gentrified/snotty. Maybe it never made it across the Pond or is now archaic, hence pit road?

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Posted: 08 June 2007 10:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Although “lane” is used in US in the names of roads, it mostly suggests short, minor roads in rural settings when used to designate the entire road.  However, its most common use is to describe a strip (usually demarcated) of a street or highway capable of accomodating a single line of vehicles, as in “four-lane highway”, “turning lane”, etc.  It may be that “pit road” is preferred to “pit lane” in the US (assuming you’re correct) because it diverges from the main track instead of remaining a part of it.

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Posted: 08 June 2007 10:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Yes, lanes in the UK suggest small rural roads, as in country lanes, unless in the context of fast lane, slow lane, etc on a motorway.

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Posted: 08 June 2007 11:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I agree with the good doctor’s supposition. “The pit lane” to my American ears, sounds like a special lane on the track that one would use in preparation of diverging onto pit road.

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Posted: 09 June 2007 08:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Both are used in racing commentaries I’ve heard to describe where tyres get changed and fuel replenished before reentering the race.

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Posted: 09 June 2007 09:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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The world held so many possibilities then--I was brimming with ideal and vigor. Every young man is a revolutionary, I suppose. Where she came from I will never know, and the way she left me I will never forget--but the time we spent together ...

It’s a dangerous trip down memory lane.

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Posted: 10 June 2007 08:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I’m under the impression that the pit road leads to the pit row. The pit row is line of stations where the cars are actually worked on while stopped. ?

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Posted: 11 June 2007 07:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Sounds like I was wrong again about American usage. I heard Nascar and Indie 500 guys saying “pit road” and assumed it was the same as Formula One’s “the pit lane” which is all I have heard in F1 so maybe they make no distinction. The tracks are oval in the States but winding in Europe from what I have seen but both must have approach roads to where they do the wherewithal so this could be where I messed up. Still.

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