Hydration in Motorsport
Racing drivers, particularly those racing in tin top cars and GT's are subjected to high temperatures and humidity within the cockpit because of heat generated by the engine, gearbox and exhaust systems. Temperatures in the cockpit can exceed 50°C and you’re often exposed to these conditions for several hours. Protective clothing can make the heat problem even worse by creating a microclimate, reducing air flow to your skin, blocking ventilation and reducing heat loss. Driving at 50°C reduces your driving and mental performance and significantly increases sweat loss, core temperature and heart rate. If you don’t keep your fluid levels topped up, you will become dehydrated so it’s important that you drink the right amount of fluid before, during and after driving.
If you don’t drink enough before the session, your core temperature will increase quicker and your heart will have to work harder than normal. To ensure you work at your best performance and prevent conditions such as heat stroke, keep yourself topped up with fluid throughout the day. You should drink around 5 to 7ml of fluid per kg of body mass at least four hours before you are exposed to exercise or a session in car to ensure you’re well hydrated. If you don’t urinate, or your urine is dark, then slowly drink more fluid around 2 hours before your session.
The amount of fluid you need to drink during exercise can vary depending on the temperature outside, the amount you sweat and length of your session. Drinking some sports drinks can be helpful as they contain a source of energy. The best way to know how much you need to drink during exercise is to weigh yourself before and after a session – aim to maintain your weight. If you’re driving or exercising for a long period of time, a sports drink can be helpful, such as NamedSport> HydraFit>. Experiment with timings and the amount of fluid before you race so that you know what works well for you.
Replacing the amount of fluid that you lose during your time in car is very important, especially if you’re doing multiple stints and will need to refocus again soon. It’s also important that you replace the salt that you lose when sweating. You can have sports drinks, or water with a pinch of salt to help restore your fluid levels. Slowly drink 1.5 litres of fluid per kg of body mass lost. Avoid drinking coffee or other caffeinated drinks as they remove water from your body by increasing the amount of urine your kidneys produce.
Types of hydration:
Hypotonic drinks have low carbohydrates (less than 4g per 100ml) and replace the fluids you lose during exercise. Isotonic drinks contain 4 to 8g of carbohydrate per 100ml and as well as helping to replace fluid, they also help top up your body’s carbohydrate stores. Hypertonic fluids have a high amount of carbohydrate (over 8g per 100ml). Your body absorbs them more slowly but it will really help to refuel your energy stores.Shop our extensive range of intra-workout drinks here.