In 2016 Gulf Racing UK took the step up they had been preparing for over the last two season and entered the FIA World Endurance Championship, nine races around the globe of fierce competition against the best endurance racing teams in the world.
The cornerstone event of this mighty challenge is the 24 hours of Le Mans – arguably the greatest motor race on the international calendar and one steeped in history for the iconic Gulf brand. Along with driver performance Partners Position One Motorsport Gulf Racing have been preparing for their assault on this epic race, bringing into the equation partners Walero Motorsport and Position One Physical Conditioning partner Boomerang Pro Fitness to help in the lead up…
Matt Beers (Technical Director Position One) – ‘Position One has the facility to not only coach the driver in terms of his skill set behind the wheel, but also test, evaluate and ultimately improve the drivers performance from a biomechanical perspective.
With the ability to control the environmental variables inside the virtual cockpit we can also perform some very well controlled analytical assessments on the drivers equipment.’
It was with this in mind that Position One joined forces with Gulf Racing and their fireproof base-layer supplier Walero to evaluate relative performance and gather some useful data for both parties to better understand the endurance racing scenario and their part in it…
John Camilleri (Director/Owner Boomerang Pro Fitness) – ‘The driver [FIA WEC driver Ben Barker] completed 2 X 30 minute stints of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit on the Position One Motorsport motion simulator in full racing kit. The first stint was completed wearing the Walero base layers and the second stint was completed wearing alternative base layers.
Resting heart rate and blood pressure were both recorded and the second stint could not begin until the driver had returned to these levels.
The simulator was set at a controlled ambient temperature of 30 degrees Celsius. This temperature was chosen because it represents the upper limit of what cockpit temperature is permitted in the World Endurance Championship.
Bodyweight (kg) was measured before and after stints on the simulator and water intake was controlled in order to carry out accurate sweat-testing procedures.
Heart rate and core body temperature were then recorded every 60 seconds in real-time using the BioCOM physiological monitoring system during the 30-minute stints on the simulator’.
Whilst only a small sample data set, the initial testing showed some interesting results, demonstrating a reduced sweat rate and correspondingly a reduced heart-rate during the stint conducted in the Walero kit, suggesting more efficiency at maintaining a homeostatic balance and also giving the team an indication of Barkers physiological (as well as on-track) performance under those specific conditions in real-time.
Matt Beers:- ‘What this shows is that with the correct facility, equipment and expertise, there is huge amount we can do in preparing for this kind of racing activity, be that a controlled assessment of kit, or an environmental assessment and resultant preparation & training programme for a driver. Of course all these elements are interlinked and we can use the simulator and other facilities for the mutual evaluations and then target specific development in each area.’
Gulf Racing will travel to Le Mans next month in the knowledge they have made the right choice of partner in Walero Motorsport and Position One have helped them head to France for the race as well prepared as they can be.