To begin this article we would like to thank the entire team at Porsche Human Performance for letting us visit the centre and put two drivers through their paces. It was a fantastic day and both drivers (and us) learnt a lot about the benefits of Motorsport specific training.
Motorsport fitness, especially at the lower echelons of the sport, can be so easily overlooked. Racing in cars that do not place extraordinary demands on the driver due to power steering and other driver aids coupled with relatively low cornering speeds, can lead drivers into a false sense of security. But if you are serious about climbing the Motorsport ladder you need to be ultra prepared for any opportunity that may arise.
If a test in a car with slicks, wings and proper downforce arises, being knackered after one session is not going to impress.
We were greeted at the centre by Jack Wilson and Gerard Gray – both Sports Scientists at the centre. A quick interview is undertaken with Jack to find out a bit more about his role and the centre itself.
“My role here is as a Sports Scientist. Our team comprises of myself, other Sports Scientists, sports therapists and doctors and strength and conditioning coaches. It’s a pretty small but diverse team that provide a support network for drivers.
As a Sports Scientist my role is in the lab testing athletes like we’ve done today with Lochlan and Lydia, essentially looking at ways we can quantify the various different attributes that a driver needs given the physical demands of racing. We cover everything from Body Composition through to Cardiovasclar fitness, Strength, Reactions, Hand Eye Coordination, Mental Abilities, Postural Integrity. We look at ways that we can take that data, have it as a benchmark and use it to help that individual improve. Based on the individual, we look at ways that we can help them improve as athletes.”
After this is completed we are shown around the impressive Porsche facility at Silverstone and the drivers we have brought with us to be put through their paces (Lydia Walmsley – Junior Saloon Car racer / Lochlan Bearman – Junior Fiesta racer) are told what to expect for the day.
The drivers are then both assessed comprehensively by the team and asked about previous injuries. This includes looking at posture, stance and feet positioning. Unsurprisingly both drivers have old karting injuries that have niggled them at one point or another and have produced surprising changes in the way their bodies have compensated for the injuries. These are all taken into account before training begins.
They are both then subjected to a battery of tests including a VO2 max, strength test, grip strength, reaction times and a jump test. The team at Porsche keep an eye on both drivers as they are put through their paces and record all the intricate results ready to be integrated into a comprehensive report to be given to both drivers on completion.
The results are perhaps not a surprise. Both drivers perform well in the reaction time and cardio departments but show a need for improvement with strength for instance. As both are young and still developing at a fast rate, this is to be expected. However the series of tests do confirm areas that both drivers need to work on and give them an idea of what needs to be improved on – specifically for Motorsport. The tests also give both drivers the opportunity to see which exercises are appropriate and, more importantly, how to complete them safely.
This last point is something Jack says is hugely important for drivers – “Most people have access to a gym and they can go and train but what they don’t have access to is the ability to test, assess, quantify, get all the stats, get all the numbers and work to improve them.”
After the series of tests have been completed, we are given the chance to check out the fantastic facility at Porsche more and quickly interview the two drivers before results are in –
What was the hardest part for you today?
Lochlan: The strength testing was the toughest
Lydia: Realising how much I need to work on my fitness
What did you like best today?
Lochlan: I enjoyed the respiratory testing on the cycle, I cycle regularly and enjoy cardio work.
Lydia: I found it really interesting especially the statistics on fat mass in relation to muscle mass.
What do you take away from today?
Lochlan: I need to work on my strength and core, which I can improve upon with exercises at home. There are definitely some improvements to be made which will help with my racing.
Lydia: It’s been a real eye opener for me especially the impact of my karting injury and what I can do to help minimize any potential complications in the future by working on strengthening certain areas.
Would you return to the Porsche Human Performance Centre?
Lochlan: Yes following my report and it’s recommendations I’d like to return after I’ve worked on them and see what progress I’ve made and what I can improve upon further to become a better race driver.
Lydia: Definitely I’m looking forward to working on my report recommendations as increased fitness levels can really have an impact on my racing and anything that helps me perform better on track is useful.
The drivers are then provided with comprehensive training reports. You can see an example of just one page of the report below (The full reports are 7 pages long). These detail every single result from the training and are then described in minute detail by Jack to the drivers.
We would once again like to thank the Porsche Human Performance team for allowing us access to the facility and seeing what a difference they can make to young drivers development.
If you would like to book a session with the team, a tailored programme can be made for each individual and can be more affordable than you might think. Contact the team details are as follows –
Contact Details –
Porsche Human Performance
+44 (0) 1327855074
Author: Clerk of the Course
The Clerk of Junior Torque. Administrator, Editor and Dictator!