Ever wondered what physical, psychological and intellectual skills a racing driver needs to perform at the highest level of motorsport? Like Mark Webber or David Brabham?
Arriving at Porsche Car’s immaculate showroom / training / test track facility sited on Silverstone’s Hanger Straight is always an impressive moment.
We’d been invited by Porsche Human Performance (who have a lab and small gym in the drum-like building) to provide a CardioWall Pro-X for the drivers to test themselves against. In fact it’s the third time we’ve been to Silverstone for the annual ‘Get Race Fit’ event and we’re always really pleased to do so. Andy Blow, who set up the PHP facility with Eliot Challifour initiated the event with his friend and current Porsche works driver Mark Webber and that collaboration continues today.
Get Race Fit is a weekend long hands-on session that introduces drivers and other athletes to elite physical and mental preparation for the season ahead. Often those attending are on the way up the ladder to F1 or from a sport that would benefit from the training but who don’t have the facilities or budget in-house. For instance we’ve seen elite horse riders, Moto GP racers and gentlemen racers all working out with top level trainers and listening to fascinating and informative lectures on nutrition and mind training.
This time we were also looking forward to hearing from ex-F1 and LeMans winning driver David Brabham alongside current Porsche Carrera Cup driver Josh Webster.
The event has been run in similar ways each time we’ve attended - the drivers (and other attending athletes) are split up into small groups which are then taught various techniques, skills and information on what it takes to keep performing all season long. Sessions can include strength, speed and reaction, relaxation, nutrition, flexibility and hydration. Mark always takes part in the groups, which is impressive.
All attendees take part led by an trainer expert - the CardioWall was part of Speed and Reaction. The trainer placed various jumps, ladders and markers around the foyer and the athletes took off around the race and road cars, doing drills and tests. Then everyone had to do a 2 part session on the CardioWall (‘qualifying’ then ‘race’). Josh Webster was winning throughout until the final session, final user when Des Foley stuck in a fantastic 449 and took the crown.
As always, it’s great fun to see the excitement and intensity of people using the Pro-X for the first time, and drivers being what they are, their competitive side is never very far from the surface which means plenty of sweat and effort.
The highlight for many is the Q&A with Mark, David and Josh and the opportunity to ask literally anything. The access to these global stars is unprecedented and the drivers all take their chance to ask searching and relevant questions.
The photographer who captured the event for Porsche (see here) was snapping away constantly and got some great shots, the venue being photogenic and the light being decent both helped of course.
Sadly and all too soon it’s time to pack up and drive back to Cornwall. It’s a privilege and a pleasure to bring the CardioWall along and meet the leaders of tomorrow - but here’s to next year and more insight and learnings.
by Simon Heap