The Essence of Physical Fitness for Race Car Drivers

A healthy adult resting heart rate ranges from 60-100 beats per minute, according to the America Heart Association. The numbers can rise to 200bpm for drivers during a race. Professional car race drivers spend most of their time sitting down behind the wheel. I bet this is why they do not cross our minds when we picture professional athletes. Considering that racing drivers are mechanically-assisted, how hard can their job be? Is physical fitness essential in this line of work? The answers to these questions are explained in this article.


The Intense and Hot Environment.

Racing car drivers work in an intense, hot, and physical environment. Any race car is hot, and drivers have to be physically fit to remain calm and collected in a cockpit that is generally 77°F (25°C,) above ambient. Racing cars are not equipped with air conditioning because it reduces power and increases weight. Drivers, therefore, reduce fatigue through intense cardio. It is consequently imperative that the drivers’ physical fitness has to be excellent.


Racecar drivers spend time in the sun before races to reduce the body’s core temperature. They also eat icy poles and wear ice vests. Air is also fanned through their helmets, and cold water is pumped through their suits to regulate temperature.

The Physicality of Racing Cars.

Many people fail to realize that race car drivers experience forces that cars on the road cannot experience. Race cars are very physical. They are subjected to intense forces running through the brakes, steering, and the immense acceleration. This makes them very difficult to drive. Driving a race car through a turn at a speed of 200mph is physically demanding, and it takes extraordinary stamina and concentration to control it at such speeds.


It takes a physically fit individual to guide and drive successfully. During every brake application, the driver’s lower back bears between 80-100kg. Drivers also deal with constant lateral and longitudinal forces. Mental and physical fitness is required to generate energy to maintain control and finesse.

Relationship Between Physical And Mental Fitness.

A fit driver has a mental, emotional, and physical edge over their rivals. Concentration is critical for a driver, and that is only sustained if the driver is physically fit. Drivers spend hours fighting G-forces from the high speeds and high temperatures of between 130-160 degrees. Mental fitness is mandatory to keep calm in such an environment. Physical fitness allows you to concentrate more on the mental aspect. Races last for several hours, and it takes a lot of strength to maintain a high standard of physical and mental concentration. A racecar driver needs a sharp mind and physical fitness to be able to enter or exit the car quickly.


It is apparent that race car driving is very physical, and it requires physical fitness to produce peak performances. Different disciplines of racing require varying levels of physical fitness, but we can all agree that a fit driver is better equipped to win races.

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