Endurance is the name of the game
Part 2 of Nathan Woolford's features on Aston Martin Racing and endurance motorsport, which looks at the ways in which an endurance racecar driver requires the same physical and mental attributes to that of an endurance athlete.
Training the endurance specialists
Aston Martin Racing team trainer Pete Webster has lifted the lid on his detailed driver training programme.
Aston Martin Racing’s drivers are among the fittest in the business and are making huge strides in the Le Mans Series, where endurance is the name of the game and fitness and diet are as vital to success as car control and steering.
Quick Energy has played a major role in terms of performance.
Webster, an experienced personal trainer, physiotherapist and performance director, looks after all aspects of driver training at Aston Martin Racing, watching over the driver roster of Christian Klien, Stefan Mücke, Darren Turner, Adrian Fernandez, Andrew Meyrick and Harold Primat.
Webster manages how his men eat, drink, exercise and rest during the season, monitoring all aspects of their day-to-day fitness, and insists that sports supplement Quick Energy has been key to the drivers’ condition, as well as their ability to stay sharp during races.
He said: “Away from the track, the drivers focus on a wide variety of exercise, with a high emphasis on optimising core strength and reducing the risk of injury. The season involves a huge amount of bias muscle usage in the harsh environment of motorsport.
“Our driver programmes vary depending on the individual genetics, level of fitness, relevance to what point they are at during the season plus many other attributes.
“However, they all follow an annual season plan that has been designed to increase the intensity and duration of each training session leading up to the race day, tapering during the race week and maximising rest post-race to ensure recovery. This is repeated for each race throughout the season.
“Quick Energy has played a major role in terms of performance. Our studies are showing that Quick Energy comes into its own five minutes prior to getting into the car, and the response has been great with drivers shouting, ‘that is exactly the feeling I have been searching for’, after their third two-hour stint.
“It's not just the drivers that benefit from the positive effects of Quick Energy. It was the pit crew that originally began the hype - after weeks spent working long hours prepping the car, and with very little time to recover before a race, they tend to use it as a pre-race boost.”
Webster and his team have adopted a detailed training regime for their drivers during 24-hour races, such as Le Mans. The physical and mental demands required of the body during these races, when driving stints throughout the night are required, have proven a massive test for many racing teams down the years.
AMR’s team has a tried and tested formula. Webster explains: “The drivers go through a well rehearsed routine during the night stints.
“As soon as they are out of the car, we get them out of the wet race suits and quickly onto a massage couch whilst the muscles are still warm. During this time the chefs will be making up the drivers’ meal - this is vital to replenish muscles - and hydration products are used within seconds of getting out of the car to provide much needed electrolytes.
“As soon as all of this hustle is complete they are then packed off to bed to get 40 minutes peace and quiet.
“By the time this has all finished, it all starts again with the next driver. Breakfast helps to trick the mind into thinking it is morning, triggering the body and all of its biological routines into action.
“Stretching wakes up muscles and Quick Energy provides an immediate wake-up call. Aching limbs can then be gently warmed on exercise bikes, allowing the muscles to become oxygen rich and ready to get in the car.”
Webster also places huge emphasis on diet, and his own take on what kinds of food drivers should indulge in prior to racing.
He adds: “Plates of plain pasta, some tomato sauce and a plain breast of chicken are an all too common site at race tracks. I believe this is done to ensure the basic nutrients are supplied in an almost clinical way.
“We believe that our bodies respond positively or negatively to the plate in front of us. Sight and smell are major players when it comes to our taste, so we try to provide a great looking five star dish full of nutritious, tasty, good smelling food. We must enjoy what we eat, it goes without saying. We will be in a more positive frame of mind and ultimately perform better.
“A driver can burn up to 7,000 calories during a race such as Le Mans, so we try to get a large proportion of their intake in via good food.”
Diet, fitness, planning and a Quick Energy wake-up call are all key components of the Aston Martin Racing driver training programme, as the team continues to perform in the daunting world of endurance racing. The secret of their success? A well rehearsed, regimented schedule overseen by a man fanatical about fitness.
Learn more online at Quick Energy