The Enhanced Performance, Good Cars Only, Gabo Solutions, Melanoma Canada #77 Formula Mazda Team had an eventful weekend at the SVRA Road America SpeedTour. We ran with 9 – a fine collection F2’s, Formula Atlantics, Indy Lights, F3000’s and Formula Continentals. The weather was perfect for our four days, with a mix of both sunny & cloudy days, ranging from the 14's to the mid-20’s Celsius. Over the course of Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, we were on track a total of 7 times; 3 on track practices during the Thursday test day, followed by one practice, one qualifying session on Friday, a second qualifying session and Race 1 on Saturday and Race 2 on Sunday. We haven’t been back to Road America since 2018, in that time the track has had some amazing changes including being repaved this past fall. The track is as smooth as glass and once it rubbers in, it will be extremely fast. Over the course of the track day and the practice sessions, we improved our lap times substantially to a respectable 1:27.345 on medium compound Goodyear 470s.
We definitely had our work cut out for us, as most everyone in our race group had much more horsepower than we did. In the first qualifying session, we qualified 10th of 18 race cars, 1st in our 9F4 class with a 2:27.035. In the second qualification session, we qualified 14th of 20 race cars, 1st in our class, with a 2.23.639. In Race 1, our race group included some high powered open wheel race cars, including a Benetton, a Panoz, an AF 01, a Ligier F3, and more – the competition was stiff for our diminutive Formula Mazda. We started in 14th position and began to make up positions quickly, by lap 4 we were in 10th place lapping at 2:23.288 where we finished, first in our class. Prior to Race 2, we made a suspension adjustment with the rear bar to try to get a bit more grip. We started Race to in P 10 and realized that our suspension change caused the rear of the car to be quite loose. We fell back to 13th fortunately, we still finished 1st in our class with a best lap time of 2:22.201 (within 0.5 seconds of our best previous lap time n soft compound (255’s) Goodyear tires).
Overall, the race weekend a tremendous success – the track was fantastic, the #77 Formula Mazda was a dream to pilot, the event was packed with competitors and spectators. And the entire weekend was very well run. Other than a small oil leak, our race car performed flawlessly. Of course, we need to give a big shout out to our sponsors; Enhanced Performance, Good Cars Only, Gabo Solutions and our charity sponsor Melanoma Canada. A very special thank you to Bill and Shirley Vallis of Vallis Motor Sport for their excellent track side support, and their commitment to the long drive to Road America.
Click here for more photos from this race weekend.
A very big thank you to the SVRA for hosting such a great event!! And last, but certainly not least, we want to thank our long suffering and tormented family which follows us from race track to race track allows us to continue to do the racing thing……….
We have created a checklist to be used in the race shop and at the track - you can download it here for free and from our from our Resources Page.
The Evening Before Race Day
Pasta with Meat Sauce or lean beef, veal, lasagna, fish, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower & assorted mixed salads.
Race Day Menu
Start with an early breakfast
No protein (eggs) in the morning!!
No caffeine (tea or coffee)
Pancakes or Waffles (no syrup)
Hydrate – lots of water and Gatorade during the day
Two to three hours before each race
Fifteen minutes before the start
After the race
Food at the track – many small meals during the course of the day
Here is the link to the PDF version (printable) of our race day menu.
What is the role of Sports Nutrition in Car Racing?
Nutrition is an important tool used by the top echelon of motorsports participants. Here is a list of prioritized key objectives that should be part of the training and nutrition plan for all motorsports participants.
Objectives: stamina, even and enduring concentration, fitness, muscle strength, muscle stamina, fast recovery, agility, fast reflex, technical skills, tactical skills.
1. Technical skills (Practice, coaching)
2. Tactical skills (Practice, coaching)
3. Enduring concentration (Practice, nutrition, relaxation)
4. Fast reflexes (Practice, nutrition)
5. Muscle fitness (Training, nutrition)
6. Cardiovascular fitness (Training, nutrition)
7. Weight control (Nutrition, exercise)
8. Fast recovery (Nutrition, rest)
9. General health (Nutrition, training, rest)
10. Flexibility (Training)
11. Protection against injury (Technique, rest, nutrition)
Sport Nutrition – Isn't it all the same? There is a world of difference in quality between brands. Always try to use the best available product in the market. If available try to natural supplements and always while using a healthy and varied diet.
Operation Enduring Concentration: The Holy Grail – The race went well until I started to make some small mistakes 5 laps before the finish. Familiar? Each driver wants to maintain an even concentration level throughout a race or training session. Concentration is influenced by mental and physical fitness.
Mental fitness: Mental or psychological fitness can be obtained by mental training and reduction of stress before, during and after racing or training (rest, relaxation). Nutritional levels in the blood and brain will also have an effect on the function of the brain and the neurological system (see further).
Physical fitness: “A healthy body a healthy mind.” It is beyond doubt that a healthy and physically fit body supports the mental fitness. Concentration is influenced by two physical parameters; blood glucose and electrolytes. Energy is delivered to the brain by blood as a combination of oxygen and glucose. Brain function depends on brain perfusion, blood oxygenation and blood glucose levels. Shortage of oxygen to the brain will cause slowing of the brain function resulting in loss of concentration, diminished consciousness and eventually unconsciousness, brain damage and death. Shortness of glucose in the brain can have the same results as seen in diabetes when suffering from hypoglycemia.
De-hydration – A killer of concentration: A more frequent and more common cause of loss of concentration in car racing is dehydration. Loss of sweat in excess of 2 % of the body weight will inevitably result in loss of concentration (and physical performance). For a driver weighing 65 kg this means loosing 1.3 litres of sweat. Races usually last more than 30 minutes and cockpit temperatures are often well above 25 degrees Celsius. In this condition sweat loss of more than 1 litre is easily exceeded. A driver weighing 65 kilogram in a race of 45 minutes in 30 Celsius can loose in excess of 2 litres of sweat. This is almost 3% of his bodyweight and will almost surely result in a devastating drop of concentration. Not to mention the difficulty he will have to recover rapidly for the next race. So there you have it! Re-hydration with a good energy drink is the number one nutritional must for each serious race car driver.
Caffeine (Chocolate, Tea) and the effect on your concentration: Caffeine will change your mind-set. It will cause you to be more aggressive (sometimes desired) or misjudge risky situations (never desired). In my opinion, a good racer should stay away from it before racing or training at all times.
Sessions shorter than 25 minutes: For sessions less than 25 minutes drinking just before and immediately after the session will safeguard sufficient hydration levels. Take 250-500 ml of sports drink in the 15 minutes before the start. Drink 500-1000 ml sports drink or recovery drink in the 30 minutes immediately after driving.
Sessions longer than 25 minutes: For sessions in excess of 25 minutes drinking during the drive is a must. Again take 250ml sports drink just before the start and than start drinking small sips (50-100 ml) after 15-20 minutes every 5-10 minutes. The best measure is to drink enough to replace all lost fluid while you drive. So if the estimated loss of fluid is 2 litres, than drink 2 litres while you drive. This will prevent you from getting dehydrated and will supply you with additional minerals and enough energy to maintain an even blood sugars level.
Recovery: Recovery is the holy grail of professional athletics. For athletes who train on consecutives days (e.g. all professional sports people) it is an absolute must to be fully recovered before training or racing. Timely recovery can only be obtained by drinking a protein-carbohydrate drink within the first 30 minutes after medium to heavy exercise.
Muscle strength and fitness: Two completely different things which require completely different training techniques. First of all, a strong muscle is not necessarily a fit muscle. In car racing an athlete needs to have stamina and be strong at the same time. Cardiovascular fitness to increase stamina is a key objective in all training efforts. A fit driver will be able to concentrate better and longer and recover faster. On top of this several muscle groups will need to be trained for extra strength. Especially the neck muscles need to be stronger than most other muscles and they also must be very, very (aerobically) fit to withstand the repetitive forces. Use of protein supplement will help in speeding up increase of muscle strength and muscle mass. Good nutrition after training will increase the recovery speed in a spectacular way. A well defined nutritional strategy can reduce the recovery time from 36 to 16 hours. Rest and diet are the two other important factors that will determine the recovery time. (See recovery)
Optimal energy stores in the blood and muscles: Even blood glucose levels – Intake of carbohydrates will give an increase in blood insulin levels resulting in glucose being transformed into glycogen and fat. A peak intake of low-chain carbohydrates (sugars) will result in a peak of blood insulin. This will eventually result in an undesirable dip in blood glucose levels. So the aim is to avoid intake of high levels of sugars in the two hours leading up to a race of training. This is why endurance athletes have a high-carb meal (spaghetti) 2-3 hours before their race and nothing after that until they start racing. The same applies to car racing. Muscle glycogen – these are the energy stores which will be used first when the blood glucose gets used. A carbo-loading strategy can maximize these stores. These stores will be depleted in the first 45-60 minutes of medium to heavy exercise. The effect of carbo-loading on the performance of car racers has not been researched.
Maximal energy uptake during the race: Now here is something that will be of benefit to a racer in races longer than 30 minutes. As glycogen stores get depleted the blood glucose is at risk of dropping and in this case absorbed carbohydrates will help to maintain even energy levels. Professional sports drinks are made with a combination of short, medium and long chain carbohydrates to avoid the unwanted glucose peak. Energy drinks with 0.5 – 2.0% protein will up to 15% better absorbed resulting in a better performance.
Optimum fluid replenishment: Re-hydration has already been discussed above. Each driver should measure the amount of sweat loss under different circumstances by weighing just before and immediately after a race or training. This will give an accurate measure of the fluid he will need to replace during a race to prevent dehydration. Most sports drinks also contain electrolytes lost during races. Drinking only water to re-hydrate can be risky. Excessive loss of electrolytes like magnesium can cause cramps.
A recovery strategy after the race: First of all try drinking 500-1000 ml of recovery drink immediately after the race or training. Use a health protein rich diet with fresh fruit and vegetables. Have plenty of rest and relaxation. Try meditation. Aim for sleeping regular and more than 8 hours per day.
The above strategies are is practiced by every top athlete. Ideal strategies if you want to be at the front of the pack!
To be in shape to drive formula car cardio, core and upper body fitness are extremely important. Here is my daily fitness regimen (I take one day off a week):
Cardio: 30-to-40 minutes per day on an upright stationary bike – For the resistance setting, aim for the higher end of the scale for your target heart rate based on your age:
For my age, 67, I aim for a heart rate of 130-140 during the ride.
Download the PDF version (printable) by clicking on this link.
Welcome to Our Resources Page!!
We have added a Resources page for things like downloadable checklists, exercise plans, etc. More content will be added as requested by our followers.
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