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Track Day Prep

Driver Preparation


Driver Preparation

The driver should have a good rest to be fully capable of racing. Note that being sleepy due to an extended nap is not recommended since you can’t count solely on adrenalin to wake you up.

Drivers should be in a generally good shape, health status, state of mind, and well-fed. This normally means a consumption of “light” carbohydrates, which can be found in salads and white meat. Before a race, however, a driver will have to consume enough water to keep him hydrated throughout the whole ordeal, which might be more than what might feel necessary, without flooding your belly. For this sake, mineral water is recommended, but some drivers will use water specially enriched in minerals and electrolytes. Caffeine is not recommended because you might hear nature calling in the middle of the race! However, it is worthy to consume sugar just before the race. This can be in the form of a bit of soft drink (without or with very little caffeine), a fruit (preferably grapes), or light snack (preferably a special energy bar). Note that after this, you will need to drink a bit more water, to get rid of the sweet taste. A bottle of cold water, or a canister with a tube running through the helmet, is a must.

Driver clothing begins with shoes. In the case when you don’t have them, shoes should be closed and with light, but slightly dense soles. Special racing shoes are the best, but a light-soled training shoe will do. Clothing should be comfortable, but long and made of cotton or denim only since man-made fibers tend to melt on your skin rather than burn. In a serious event, a racing suit should be used for safety reasons (fire-resistant). Racing gloves are important, because the external layer of carbon fiber comes in contact with a similar layer on the steering wheel. However, thin leather gloves will also do. Moderate-dark helmet shades should be used on sunny days.

Driving Mentality

First off, you need to walk around the track, find lines and reference points. Trying to imagine the car going through them and how it would look from inside will help. Talking yourself through, and pointing with your fingers on reference points (even though you see it) will help with muscle memory. You can actually remember them according to associations you can make with the name of the corner. The more bizarre is the connection, the easier it is to remember, so long as it is short.

You don’t need to run or to walk with your whole racing suit, as this will tire and dry you out. However, a good walk will only do good with your muscles.

Now, position yourself in the car. Look on the track (not at other competitors). You might want to put your hands and feet on the pedals and wheel, strap yourself in the suit and harnesses, maybe even start the car up, and now close you eyes and imagine going around the track as you planned it. Try to bring up sounds, sensations and everything that can help imitate the real experience, maybe even talk yourself (out loud) through it.

Now, you may begin to drive. Stress is common, regardless of experience, and is to some degree an incentive of good and competitive driving. The idea is not to let it go too much into your head by, again, focusing on your lines and driving, building up speed as you go. It is common to wipe off at the beginning, but if your drive neat and in your own limits you might get a better result than you may think, even if it seems you are slower than others.

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