We have been able to map driver’s getting hot (overheating) with the number of mistakes made (slower lap times). There is a lot of research show that as our bodies start to overheat we our cognitive abilities start to decrees and reaction time / driver performance can be negatively impacted.
Driver performance is greatly impacted by heat stress long before we see health and safety issues.
As our bodies get warmer we sweat to cool but in a driving suit this does not work effectively. So our bodies sweat more leading to dehydration. So the effects are virtually exponential worse for race drivers.
There are a few basic things to help combat heat stress in Motorsport with the bigger issues of keeping well hydrated before and after the event, well rested and staying ‘cool’ before and after the event.
Utilizing our BioTelemetry we have monitored driver’s temperature and found that that most times heat stress starts well before they got on the track. Driver’s get warmer sitting in their race gear in the car before their session starts. When they are on the circuit they will get warmer so a very effective way to combat this is to start them at a lower temperature.
While the driver is waiting in the dummy grid keep them cooler – ice packs, cool water to drink. We have also seen if Race control has good communications to the officials running the dummy grid the drivers do not suit up ‘too early’ and start getting hot.
For sprint races we have found this technique of ‘pre-cooling’ the drivers is extremely effective and we have also seen the opposite with drivers too warm at the beginning of the even and come in at dangerous temperature levels.
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