Training to race cars: Formula One, NASCAR drivers go full-throttle on fitness


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They don’t call it motor sports for nothing. Whether they’re racing stock cars or Formula One cars, professional race car drivers need to be in tip-top shape to compete.

Just so we’re clear: Stock cars — seen at NASCAR — are basically cars you see on the road with similar technology but modified to meet race specifications. Formula One cars — seen at the Grand Prix — have open wheels and cockpits, and use the highest technology available.

Both types of races require an athlete with superior physical endurance who can handle the G-force coming in and out of turns at top speeds. Steering at speeds up to 200 miles per hour for an extended period of time strains the neck, arm and chest muscles, so it is important for drivers to build strength and condition the body, especially in those key areas.

Did you know that F1 drivers can sweat off up to 6 pounds of their body weight during the course of a race? That’s why it is very important for them to train for extreme heat conditions.


Ways they train

Technogym designed the F1 Training Machine exclusively for the sport of F1 racing. With a device that combines G-force with vibrations, the machine allows users to train in realistic racing conditions by reproducing the high-impact stress imposed on the arms and neck inside the cockpit, says the Technogym blog. The steering wheel part of the machine is weighted to develop stronger forearms. It also can imitate the intense and constant vibrations that occur on the race track.

Drivers who want to take their fitness and training a step further can visit one of Porsche’s five Human Performance facilities worldwide — two are located in the United States, in Los Angeles and Atlanta. Each facility includes a sports science laboratory, equipped with state-of-the-art technology, and offers a full range of physiological testing so drivers have a better understanding of their health and fitness levels. There’s even a heat chamber for drivers and endurance athletes to train in prior to racing in hot climates. The Technogym F1 Training Machine is available at this facility.

Porsche hosts its annual Get Race Fit weekend where participants get to spend a weekend training and interacting with Formula One driver Mark Webber and the Porsche Human Performance team in small groups. Watch this video and see the cool details.



Even the pit crews need to be in shape for race day. After all, car racing is a team sport. Check out this interesting article by Sports Illustrated that gives some insight into pit crew fitness.