We are trying something new for 2014..


Since our season up here ends earlier than much of the country, I have spent it reading many good books and subscribed to some very well written Blogs…

Some of the info I have been perusing is from fine gentlemen such as Ross Bentley, Carroll Smith…etc.

They all have spoken about the driver training required in this fine sport. So with this in mind, I am planning on building a fitness and mental training program for myself.

Some of this is going to be based on practicing race craft (as soon as my Logitech wheel comes back from RMA) to improve my ability as a competitor in sprint races. The other is going to be targeted at the physical side of the equation with an eye towards more/longer enduro driving.

One thing that stuck out in my head recently was in Carroll Smith’s “Drive to Win”, in which he said, if you are getting out of your car after a sprint race and are physical and/or mentally spent, then you are doing it wrong. With that in mind, I am going to begin training a bit like any endurance related sport (cycling, running…etc) and will post my techniques here.

Who’s with me??!

Some of the reference material I am using to build this include:

Eat To Win for the 21st Cnetury - Robert Hass, MS
The New Toughness Training for Sports - James E Loehr
Supplimentary Training for Endurance Sports - Dietmar Luechtenberg


I used to get out of the car and be absolutely spent after a sprint race. I knew it was 90% mental. I got IRacing and have been using it primarily for training myself to stay calm and think clearly. Plus, IRacing helps with spacial awareness and forcing yourself to stay focused and be patient which inevitably keeps you more relaxed. The biggest benefit and most obvious is that my car control skills have been improved 10x. I’ve also used it to hone skills like left foot braking and am now fluent at it. I used to be very impatient which lead to making mistakes. In the last 4 months I’ve joined a gym and have been running and doing light strength training. I wasn’t out of shape before but I’m definitely in better condition now. Bottom line, I’ve noticed a difference in my driving.



I’ve been doing crossfit for about 18 months now and I think that really helps from a physical aspect. The only issue I’ve had is after I removed my power steering my hands were very sore!

What books have you read that you would recommend? I’ve only read the very basic book by Ross Bentley.


I don’t believe in the “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” bs anymore. I’m guessing those old books tell you to load up on carbs before an event which I think is wrong. I have plenty of energy all day now that I’m only eating one meal a day before bedtime and it isn’t beer anymore.
Read “the Warrior Diet” or other books by Ori Hoffmekler. Dr Joseph Mercola and other experts also subscribe to this idea.

I think I read in Senna’s book to only pull the inside of the steering wheel toward you and relax the outside arm instead pushing it away. I work on doing this when I remember. This is supposed to cause less fatigue.


I haven’t read the warrior diet, but I do a rough version of intermittent fasting. Typically I don’t eat anything until around 12 everyday. I know the real way you’re supposed to do it is only eat in an 8 hour period…


First, if you’re not convinced that athleticism really matters in driving, you can take a look at this chart of my DAQ and heart rate from Laguna Seca:


One of the books I have is this one:


I had the fortune to spend a weekend with the two authors and Mark Webber at Silverstone last January at the Porsche Human Performance center. There’s really good stuff in there. Unless you can afford a private trainer, your best bet is something like Crossfit which combines strength training (weights) and anaerobic/high-intensity exercise with some coaching and camaraderie. What most people overlook is that lifting weights builds muscle which burns calories 24x7 and that helps maintain your weight. It also makes you stronger! And with high-intensity training, there is a growing body of evidence that you can train much less but reap just as much, if not more, benefits from the effort. Obviously you don’t need to deadlift 500# to drive a racecar but if you’re doing your own wrenching, having good technique lifting heavy things keeps your back in good shape and makes your overall weekend at the track easier.

While there may be benefits to eating less frequently as a lifestyle, on a race weekend the last thing you would want to do is eat one big meal a day. When you eat, your body redirects energy and resources to digesting food. While you can mitigate the blood sugar impact (and thus, the way you feel and perform) by adjusting what you eat (look for foods that are low on the glycemic index), you want to eat and drink before you’re hungry or thirsty and in lots of small increments (like 6 meals a day if you can manage it). Most of us are on track 2-4 times per day on a race weekend so you want to minimize the impact of food and drink. Eat and drink healthy, but do it in lots of little bits. It’s true the carb-loading is sort of old sports science at this point. In fact, even hydration is being rethought. One of the things I saw at Silverstone last year was a chart of hydration level vs. marathon times and the fastest marathonners in the world are actually performing a bit dehydrated. There is speculation that this comes from our ancient history as persistence hunters where we didn’t have ready access to water all day while chasing down gazelle.

Anyways, here’s some great resources for more info in addition to the book above:

Jim Leo from PitFit Indy has e-training programs you might look into. You can also read some Q&A with him from SafeIsFast here: http://safeisfast.com/qa_sessions/5

I have a youtube channel of racing + fitness related videos. Some of them are semi-puff pieces on F1 drivers, but others are quite good: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL011C8776043E6839

And finally, for most weekend warriors, one of the best things you can do is put a cool suit in your car. You might think you don’t need it, but it reduces dehydration and it keeps your core body temperature stable. There are stats that I don’t recall off-hand but something like even a 1 degree increase in body temperature leads to a certain % of concentration loss. Do you need to concentrate in the car? :slight_smile: You can build one on the cheap with these directions: http://www.ghidinelli.com/2011/02/28/diy-cool-shirt-system

And at the end of the day, whether it improves your racing or not, being fit and strong will help you in every aspect of your life. So it’s win-win-win. :slight_smile: