Fit for Speed
Strength, endurance, pushing beyond limits—every year the
“Get going, Richie, my grandma’s faster than that,” urges trainer Othmar Moser with a wink at factory driver Richard Lietz. Bathed in neon light on the floor of the fitness studio, Lietz is doing sit-ups in tandem with Frédéric Makowiecki. Neither hears the loud hum of the air-conditioning system; they are completely focused on their training. On the second day of the
“Great job, guys!” exclaims Moser. The drivers give each other high fives after every session. “It’s great that everyone can come here once a year to work out together. Back when I was a
The trainers start by testing maximum strength. The data they gather, which are carefully entered into each driver’s training program, serve as guidelines for the subsequent strength-building exercises. “Afterwards we do repetitions at around 80 percent of the maximum value determined,” explains Professor Frank Mayer. The head of sports medicine at the University of Potsdam in Germany, Mayer was commissioned by
For this reason both factory and Junior GT race-car drivers are monitored the entire year by Professor Mayer and his team—and not just on racing weekends. “We do a fitness and health check in Potsdam in November,” Mayer says. “In the weeks leading up to the training camp, the drivers then have to build up a broad range of basic endurance on their own. That means five to eight units a week. Before the 24 Hours of Le Mans, we do another checkup and adjust the training programs accordingly.”
The morning session is now over, and it’s time for lunch. “With around six hours of training, the drivers consume about 5,000 calories a day,” says Mayer. “And they have to get these calories from healthy, high-grade foods.” Following a midday break, the schedule now calls for running intervals outside. Thanks to constant irrigation, the fields are lush and green.
For 18-year-old Italian driver Matteo Cairoli, both the surroundings and this type of exercise are completely new. He is a first-time scholarship winner this season for the
Minor hitches with the Aspire security personnel are also quickly overcome. “The playing field you reserved is not available right now because it’s currently being used by the goalies of the Qatar national soccer team,” says the guard. Because goalie practice generally requires only one goal, however, a mutually agreeable solution is promptly found, enabling the ball and the racing specialists to share the field. Afterwards the
The only driver who had another commitment is American Patrick Long, who will be sharing the cockpit of a 911 RSR in the World Endurance Championship this season with
For the last three of the fitness camp’s eight days,
By Oliver Hilger
Photos by Michael Kunkel
Fitter to the Finish
Tips for sports-oriented driving from the
Porsche team physician
The first thing that’s important when driving is how you sit. You should have a stable and upright position, and be well placed to absorb the forces that arise. Sports seats with side supports are helpful here.
To stabilize your torso, you should regularly train the oblique and rectus abdominal muscles, the gluteals, and the muscles in your back. For very sports-oriented drivers whose cervical vertebrae have to handle high loads, it’s also a good idea to work on the pectoral girdle and the neck muscles—by using a resistance band, for example. If you’re susceptible to back pain, you should occasionally change your position a little when driving. An adaptive or a Plus sports seat, which are available for nearly all
Especially for long drives, it’s helpful to have a good basic level of endurance. I’d consider three sessions of thirty minutes a week to be excellent training. Good endurance also helps you concentrate. And you recover much more quickly from the strain of a long stretch of driving. It’s also important to drink enough when doing sports-oriented driving. That lets you perform better and resist fatigue.
If you do get tired at the wheel, though, the only thing that helps is to take a ten- or fifteen-minute break. You should exercise, and have something to eat and drink. A little fructose, in the form of fruit, is ideal. Our race-car drivers swear by it.