The Pits was a designated area in the Robot Wars studio where competing teams and roboteers could maintain and prepare their robots for combat, Gauntlet or Trial events. It was adjacent to the Robot Wars Arena itself, and contained the entry gates for both the competitor robots and the House Robots to enter the arena when required. Most of the show's behind-the-scenes action (even untelevised moments) took place here, including interviews, repairs, testing, etc.
An area for The Pits was always included as part of every incarnation of the Robot Wars Arena. There were also specific areas within The Pits itself, each used for different purposes.
The Pits were largely made up of a large area designated for workbenches where competitors were stationed outside of the arena. Each team had their own workbench assigned to them, even those who failed to qualify, were selected as reserves, withdrew from the main competition, or competed exclusively in side events. The workbenches were used to place the robots on during storage and maintenance, as well as any additional items such as tools and spare components, enabling them to be worked on by their teams in between rounds. Some teams chose to decorate their work areas during the course of their appearances, such as lining them with posters of their robot or other paraphernalia.
From Series 1-4, each workbench was merely a worktop, from Series 5 onwards, each workbench/work area was sectioned off from others. In Series 8-10, there was a return to the previous layout, with each team being given separate workbenches lit by fluorescent tubes.
These workbenches proved ideal for the teams to have their pre-first round interviews, to introduce and describe their robots, or have a presenter or Pit Reporter interview the team and survey the robot themselves.
In addition to competitors' workbenches, there were also small work areas for the House Robots, which were maintained by the Robot Wars technical crew. The House Robots' pit areas were located at the end of the Pits closest to the arena itself.
Alongside the main workbenches, along the perimeter of the Pits, were walkways for members of the audience to walk by to reach their seats. The railings that separated these walkways from the workbenches were low, so the audience could see some of the robots being prepared for battle close up.
The Pits also contained openings which lead to the arena, known as entry gates. These again were separated from the walkways for the audience to walk through to reach their seats. The entry gates lead either straight into the arena or to the roboteering team's workbenches. For the first three series, there was just one large entry gate, for all competitor and House Robots to enter. From Series 4 onwards, there were three different entry gates, with the left-most gate (named Gate A) and the right-most gate (named Gate C) used for the competitors to go through to enter and exit the arena, and the middle gate (named Gate B) used exclusively for the House Robots. This was until Series 7, when Gates A, B and C were each made available for all robots to enter.Citation?
For Series 8-10, the entry gates were positioned in the middle of three sides of the arena - as in Series 4-6, two gates were reserved for competitors, the other for House Robots. Before each Group Battle in Series 8-9, teams posed with their robots at the entry gate while being announced and having CO2 jets fired behind them. As the entry gates do not sit flush with the rest of the arena wall, it was sometimes possible for competing robots to be trapped between them, or for their components to fly through the gaps, such as Thor's anti-spinner plate after it was ripped off by Carbide during the Series 8 Grand Final.
The back of the Pits contained a small testing area, for roboteers to test their robots and check that they were working properly. This area was available for use by all competitors, but was mostly used by teams who were struggling to get their robots to run, such as Raizer Blade prior to its Series 4 Heat Final and The Parthian Shot prior to its aborted Gauntlet run in Series 2. The testing area was essentially a large square area sectioned off by safety railings; as such, it was located at the far back of the Pits to avoid potential accidents.
The testing area returned for Series 8-10 in the form of a mini arena, complete with a metal floor, inner walls with railings and an outer protective enclosure. The test arena was primarily used by competing robots to perform safety tests before the main competition began, and would also be used by roboteers to test their robots' weapons and drive systems in between battles. A notable example of the latter occurred in Series 9, where a previously-damaged Sabretooth was put into it to test its drum weapon before its Head-to-Head battle against Jellyfish. As with the original series, it was located at the back of the Pits. Throughout the reboot, the main arena was also used for testing on a case-by-case basis. For example, prior to filming of Series 10, several spinner-wielding robots - such as Apex, Triforce and Tauron - performed tech-checks and weapon tests in the main arena, as their weapons were considered too powerful for the test arena to contain safely. Some, such as Magnetar, would use both arenas for various stages of pre-filming testing.