Optimal lap times are impossible if you don’t optimise your team’s physiological and psychological performance.
Every motorsport vehicle has a performance limit that is maximised during design and ongoing development.
The available budget, resources and technology are used to develop the best and most consistent vehicle possible within the regulations.
The most variable piece of motorsport equipment is the human that is driving the vehicle.
However, consistent gains can be made by measuring and optimising the performance of the athlete in control of that vehicle and optimising the physiology and psychology for the vehicle and the race conditions.
The drive to get an edge over other competitors is fundamental to motorsport. In motorsport the focus for gaining performance is often on the equipment, or vehicle. However, the performance of the motor-athletes (drivers, riders, pilots and pit crew) are is also...
Collecting data in motorsport is one thing, interpreting that data, and applying strategic or tactical changes to improve lap times and race outcomes is something completely different.
The quest for more data and more accurate data in relation to the physical performance of a racing vehicle be it a car, bike, truck, boat or plane is never ending and ever developing. This feedback is invaluable to the performance of a driver or rider as adjustments are made to things like braking and acceleration points etc.
However, the ability to collect, present and analyse data, in real time, on the driver, rider or pilot is in its relative infancy.
It’s a new frontier in the quest for not just more speed, but constant, safer speed.
The effects on a athletes ability to consistently perform at an optimal level when operating under stress, in hostile environments is well known.
What is far less well known is how different individuals are affected by the same conditions and how to prepare them based on their own individual needs.
For instance, during an endurance race where there is a need for multiple riders or drivers to take control of the same vehicle, each individual’s physiological state will deteriorate and recover at a different rate which will be determined by multiple factors. These include race conditions and events like weather, pit stops, race traffic and safety cars, but also includes, the physical condition of the motorsport athlete at the start of a stint, their rate of deterioration, and their recovery since the last stint.
Despite the huge amount of data collection during a race to inform strategy, it’s rare for teams to collect detailed data on an athlete physiology and its impact on race performance.
However, if an individual motorsport athletes optimal performance could be improved by engineering their physiological and psychological performance, based on objective data recorded during the race the potential for winning is improved significantly.