During a race, the drivers are not just sitting in a car and racing. It seems easy but in reality, it is not. The racecar drivers have to fight the G-forces at 200 mph under 130 to 160 degrees heat. This condition is in summer times or south. But the racecar driver has to be physically fit to survive from February to November.
The fitness training does not allow the driver to drive the car fast but it allows driving it fast for a longer period. To improve the performance on the track, the driver undergoes physical and emotional strength-based exercises. Driving an F1 car at 187 to 200 mph for fifty laps is not an easy thing.
Why Do Racecar Drivers Have to Undergo Fitness Training?
Driving a sports car on the track for fifty laps is not an easy thing. An F1 driver loses about 3 to 4 kgs of weight per race. Hence, it requires enormous core strength and top-notch muscular endurance to perform well on the track. Also, it helps the driver to stay on top.
Massive Physical Loads
The winning key point in any race is that the driver should remain calm in all situations. The driver has to make rapid decisions to tackle the opponents on the track. Also, the driver should maintain an absolute focus under extreme levels of endurance and load. The temperature of the cockpit is usually 77 degrees Fahrenheit but in the mid of the racing period, it goes to 149 degrees Fahrenheit.
Each brake application is equal to 80 to 100 kgs. This puts a lot of weight on the back of the driver after repetitive motions. On every gear shift, a driver experiences a heavy steering load of 20 to 30 kgs.
Most racecar drivers go to the gym for strength and core exercises. Also, they go for running for mental and physical fitness. Over the hours, the heart rate of a driver can be 150 bpm. When things are going in rhythm on the track, it might sit at 145 bpm. But when there is an intense moment in the race, the heart rate can go to 180 bpm.
To maintain the focus on the track, the driver has to sustain mental fitness. It only happens when the racing conditions don’t overwhelm the driver. Hence, the driver will be able to fight the fatigue and concentrate on the track.
Composure and Concentration
The racecar driver must be able to adapt to the intense conditions of the race. It only happens if the driver is mentally strong to concentrate and stay calm on the track. Talking about the physical strength, the driver should be having or able to maintain a strong neck under the great G-forces. G-forces are felt by the driver while cornering on the track.
Hence, the neck is one of the many areas on the body that needs to be trained rigorously. The racecar driver who has to deal with a wide range of equipment such as Grand Touring cars to Le Mans Prototype cars should be having the physical fitness or ability to successfully drive these cars.
In different types of auto racing, the drivers have to drive the car for 24 hours like Le Mans. It requires one of the incredible and complex fitness training. For this purpose, each driver is considered individually. It allows the trainers to focus not only on their general needs but also on the training required for specific equipment to be used in the race.
How Do Racecar Driver Undergoes Fitness Training?
Considerations for which training activities match which drivers include a detailed analysis of each individual’s aspirations and goals. The evaluation process includes the injury history of the driver and physiological assessment. It includes the strength assessment. A series of tests can be performed to evaluate the driver.
At the evaluation point, the exercise program is developed in a format of different periods. The training or exercise is structured in breaking down training into manageable elements for a specific goal. The monthly reviews by experts account for the commitment of a racecar driver.
Heat Acclimation Training
Heat acclimation training involves a wide range of exercises such as running and cycling. These exercises are done in a similar environment to the race track. As a result, they will find themselves racing on the track. The intensity of the workout can be set at equal or above the racecar driving situations such as driving a car for fifty laps or more.
The training disciplines of the high-intensity hike can be of combination such as low intensity of running and climbing. This training allows the driver to maintain the heart rate at different levels of the race. Also, in the case where the heart rate increases to a condition where the cardiovascular system adapts the higher stress.
Racing simulators can be utilized to train the racecar driver. It indulges the driver in the racing environment while wearing the racing suit and helmet. Also, the simulator can be used in a controlled environment such as heat stress. The simulator can be a part of racecar driver’s workout and analyzing the strength or endurance,
The simulator adds an element of focus to the training, making it specific for the racecar driver. The concentration of the driver can be enhanced by involving the tennis ball exercise. As a result, the participant will be able to enhance the reactive moments.
Another conditioning exercise to stimulate the involvement of the muscle in motor racing includes cross-country skiing while carrying a load. It helps the driver to enhance endurance and strengthen the muscles for racing. Cross-country skiing helps the driver to work out the back, chest, shoulders, lower back, legs, and overall endurance.
Training For Different Motor Racing
In IndyCar racing, the driver operates with highly technical and physical fitness. The high downforce and g-loading on the body, head, and especially neck needs a driver to have great endurance and physical fitness. The force that the driver feels while on the track can be 4G.
It means that they feel the G-force 4 times more than their body weight. On the race track with 200 laps and 4 corners means a driver experiences G-force 800 times during the race.
While driving a GT Porsche, the heart rate of the driver goes from 150 to 170 bpm. The heart rate of the driver depends on the mental health fitness that resists the stress on the track. The heart rate can go higher but the driver should be able to overcome such situations. This is the reason the racecar driver is trained to sustain the heart rate in different conditions and not to pass out.
The temperature of the cockpit is 30 to 40 degrees higher than the outside temperature. The driver wearing 4 layers of fireproofing clothing can raise the temperature to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. By just sweating, the driver can lose 7 pounds in three hours or more. If a driver is sweating and he cannot stop for a while, then how does he keep himself hydrated. For this purpose, there is a special diet for a racecar driver.
Racecar Driver Training – Physical and Mental Health Fitness
Driving your car at a high speed for a few minutes or seconds does not require any fitness training. But driving a high-speed car for 24 hours or 200 laps requires fitness training. The racecar drivers are not just made to sit in a vehicle for a certain period and drive it at high speed. Each individual is evaluated for the next racing event. If they qualify, they are then trained for physical and mental fitness.
A G-force on each curve at a higher speed is approximately 3 to 4 times heavier than the weight of the driver. So, the driver is trained for muscle endurance and weight or pressure resistance. Sitting in a car with 4 layers of the fireproof suit is not an easy thing. The temperature of the cockpit rises 30 to 40 degrees than the outside temperature.
It seems like the world’s most uncomfortable sports, but racecar drivers are trained professionally to overcome and manage the overwhelming situations.