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.
We have added a Resources page for things like downloadable checklists, exercise plans, etc. More content will be added as requested by our followers.
CASC-OR/CTMP Celebration of Motorsport at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park – September 30 to October 2 Race Report
The Enhanced Performance, STANMECH Technologies, Good Cars Only, Gabo Solutions, Melanoma Canada #77 Formula Mazda Team had a challenging race weekend at the 2022 CASC-OR/CTMP Celebration Of Motorsport Races held at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. We were entered in the Formula Libre race group. There were a total of 18 cars in our race group including, Radicals, a Formula Renault, several Formula 4’s, historical Formula Fords and F1200’s. The weather was sunny and beautiful all three days – temperatures ranged from 15 to 25° C during the event.
Over the course of Friday, Saturday and Sunday, we were on track a total of 8 times; 4 on-track practices during the Friday test day, followed by combined practice, qualifying and Race 1 on Saturday, Race 2 on Sunday – we missed Race 3 due to a shunt during Race 2, more on that later.
Our best lap for the test day was a 1:23.300 flat on tires that were left over from the BEMC Late Summer Trophy Race weekend at CTMP two weeks before.
Saturday morning, the weather was perfect – about 20°C and a clear sky. We scuffed in our race tires during our last session of the Friday test day. We set a reasonable P3 practice time of 1:26.421 on a very cool track. During qualifying, we set a blistering pace of 1:23.106 to grab pole for Race 1. During Race 1, we had a tremendous start and led the entire 15 laps, and set a best lap time of 1:22.891. That evening, we sat down with the race team to an amazing trackside meal.
The weather on Sunday cool and the track was cold – the track was slick for at the beginning of the day – and before our race at 9:35 am. For Race 2, we started on pole because of our finish in Race 1. We had a great start, but spun going into corner 5a – it was in the shade and the track had zero grip. This spin resulting in dropping us back to 17th spot. We steadily made our way back through the pack over the next 9 laps to 5th position. During that lap, we thought we had a tire going down has the race car was feeling strange in some of the corners. As we approached corner 8 at about 160 kph, we realized that we had no front grip as the race car headed towards the outside wall of corner 8. We managed to slow the car down to about enough that the impact was moderate, but unfortunately our race weekend was over as the front-end damage was too great. We realized after talking to a number of drivers that the track had been oiled down by a race car leaking oil in corner 8. What a shame, as we were on our way to making a great comeback after our spin.
And a big thank you to Bill and Shirley Vallis of Vallis Motor Sport for their trackside support during the CASC-OR/CTMP Celebration of Motorsport and to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park for hosting such a fantastic, safe event!!
BEMC Late Summer Trophy Races at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park – September 16 to 18 Race Report
The Enhanced Performance, STANMECH Technologies, Good Cars Only, Gabo Solutions, Melanoma Canada #77 Formula Mazda Team had an awesome race weekend at the BEMC Late Summer Trophy Races held at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. We were entered in the Formula Libre race group. There were a total of 17 cars in our race group including, seven F1200’s, three Formula 4’s, two Radicals, one FC90 F2000, one Formula Renault and Marcel Lafontaine’s beautiful Formula Atlantic
The weather was quite nice Friday and Saturday with temperatures ranging from 20 to 25° C, Sunday was damp with an intermediate track.
Over the course of Friday, Saturday and Sunday, we were on track a total of 9 times; 4 on-track practices during the Friday test day, followed by practice, qualifying and Race 1 on Saturday, Race 2 & 3 on Sunday.
Our best lap for the test day was a 1:23 flat on old Goodyear's from the CASC-OR Summer Classic Race weekend at Calabogie Motorsports Park.
Saturday morning, the weather was perfect – about 20°C and a clear sky. We scuffed in our race tires during practice. We set a reasonable qualifying time of 1:24.741 – P1 in our class. During Race 1, we had a good battle with Jim Morton in his F4 Gamma – we finished P1 in our class and P4 in our race group with a best lap time of 1:23.747
The weather on Sunday was overcast at about 20°C. We had a great start at the beginning of Race 2 unfortunately, we picked up a puncture as a result of being too aggressive over the rumble strips on the apex of corner 5B. So we retired to the pits with 2 laps to go – we still managed to finish in P6 and P1 in our class with a best lap time of 1.24.729. Here is the link to our You Tube video https://www.youtube.com/shorts/8jJJU9nm2vg regarding our puncture.
We started Race 3 in P2 on a damp, intermediate track and stayed on Jeremy Hills gear box for the majority of the race finishing in P1 in our class and P2 in our race group with a best lap time of 1:30.345.
And a big thank you to Bill and Shirley Vallis of Vallis Motor Sport for their trackside support during the BEMC Late Summer Trophy Races and to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park for hosting such a fantastic, safe event!! And last, but certainly not least, we want to thank our long suffering family which allows us to continue to race……….
SVRA U.S. Vintage Grand Prix at Watkins Glen International – September 7th through 11th Race Report
The Enhanced Performance, STANMECH Technologies, Good Cars Only, Gabo Solutions, Melanoma Canada #77 Formula Mazda Team had an awesome race weekend at the 2022 SVRA U.S. Vintage Grand Prix at Watkins Glen International.
We ran in Group 9 – Monoposto Wings and Slicks. The weather was mixed with rain on a number of days with temperatures ranging from the mid-teens to the low 20’s Celsius. Over the course of Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, we were on track a total of 8 times; 2 on track practices during the spilt Wednesday/Thursday test day, followed by 2 practices, 2 qualifying sessions, Race 1, and Race 2. There was a large speed differential within the qualifying group!! We definitely had our work cut out for us, as most everyone in our group had much more horsepower than we did. Here is a list of the cars in our race group:
In the first practice session qualifying session, we placed 11th of 25 race cars, 1st in our 9F4 class. In the second practice session, we placed 13th of 24 race cars, 1st in our class with a best lap time of 2:01.160. In the 1st qualification session on the 9th of September, we qualified 13th out of 21 cars, 1st in our class with best lap time of 1:58.858. In the 2nd qualification session on the 10th of September, we qualified 11th out of 20 cars, 1st in our class with best lap time of 2:00.327.
For Race 1, on the afternoon of the 10th of September, our race Group 9 included 24 amazing high powered open wheel race cars, including Lola’s, Elan’s, Ralt’s, Swift’s and a number of F5000’s. The weather was perfect for racing, clear and mild, about 20 Celsius. We started in 11th and finished in 14th position, 1st in our class, with a best lap time of 1:58.773, our best lap time of the weekend!! Here is the YouTube video link to our first race https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MabBBohvzfM.
In Race 2, on the 11th of September, weather was abysmal with a ongoing down pour during out entire race. Sadly, only 5 race cars participated in the event – we finished 1st in our class and 2nd in our race group, with an acceptable full wet best lap time of 2:25.268 – here is a YouTube video link of our very wet 2nd race https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeQxRHMtY4k!!! An eventful race weekend and our #77 Formula Mazda performed flawlessly.
A special thank you Bill and Shirley Vallis of Vallis Motor Sport for their trackside support.
A very big thank you to the SVRA for hosting such a great event!! And last, but certainly not least, once again we want to thank our long suffering and tormented family which follows us from racetrack to racetrack and allows us to continue to do the racing thing…….