Race Car Driver Diets

Dear Topspeed,
What do you enjoy eating before the big race? Is it important to watch your diet whilst racing?

Angola P. from Johnsonburg, New Jersey

Hello Angola,

Thank you for your excellent question. A proper diet is vitally important to all competitive athletes. Racers have to be even more disciplined with their diets in order to achieve peak performance inside the race car. Driving a race car requires a tremendous amount of energy, and a driver must be properly nourished and hydrated beforehand. Hydration is even more important to us racers because we often lose several pounds of body weight through perspiration during any given race. Becoming dehydrated during a race leads to many problems such as fatigue, diminished mental alertness, slower reactions, and driving errors. In extreme cases, racers even get sick or faint, especially on very hot days. Normally though, most racers make sure to drink lots of water or sports beverages before, during, and after a race.

As for my favorite eats before a race, well, every racer has a different approach to fueling up for a race event. I usually start days in advance and drink more water than I normally do, which increases my body's hydration capacity. The night before a race I usually eat a lot of pasta, which gives me plenty of stored energy for the following day. Before the race itself, I often eat energy bars, bananas, french fries, scrambled eggs, pasta, chicken or any other foods that are high in carbohydrates and protein. The purpose of eating these foods is to ensure that I'll have more than enough energy to drive at the limit until the very end of the race. Once in a while, as a snack before a short race, I'll have an ice cream sundae but the truth is that I enjoy eating almost any kind of food. When are you going to invite me over for dinner?

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