Summer Essentials – How to keep cool when racing

When racing, especially in the summer months, it is key to maximise your on-track performance with the correct approach to physical fitness! Here are some key areas to target for the next time you look to hit the track!

Staying Cool when racing

With increased temperatures in the car during these Summer months, staying cool at the track and protected from the heat can be a challenge, but with these tips, you can not only be safe, but more comfortable behind the wheel when the pressure is on!

Walero Base Layers

Any experienced driver will know first-hand just how hot it gets in a race car – fully kitted out in a suit and helmet.  At one point specifically (and thickly designed) vests and t-shirts were worn to try and cool the driver and keep them comfortable. Luckily, here at Walero we firmly believe that good isn’t good enough.  And with that in mind, we developed state-of-the-art cooling technology within our race underwear that actively cools the body, so you can settle for nothing less than perfection.

Walero temperature regulating racewear uses NASA Developed technology, Outlast®, to actively regulate your body’s core temperature and skin microclimate, allowing the wearer to perform better, for longer and also reduces the effects of heat stress and fatigue.

Walero conducted several high profile tests with Cranfield University and Performance Coach, Dean Fouache, to determine the differences between Walero and standard Nomex base layers, and the results were remarkable. Walero base layers therefore have been scientifically proven to reduce heart rates by up to 8%.

The benefits of lower heart rate: fewer beats to deliver the required oxygen to the muscles, meaning you are using less energy and able to reduce fatigue and increase endurance levels behind the wheel. This in turn means that your cognitive performance remains at a higher level, resulting in performance gains and quicker lap times as a result, with our test data showing a 0.102 second gain in average lap times across a 32 lap stint, generating an advantage of 7.832 seconds as a result.

Alongside this, Walero base layers decreased perspiration rates by up to 40%, placing the body under less strain and reducing the impact of heat stress on the wearer whilst behind the wheel, particularly in hot summer conditions.

Walero base layers allow the wearer to reap the benefits of reduced perspiration. Exercising increases sweat, and if the sweat does not evaporate and sits on the skin, it will increase the body’s temperature. In our extensive simulator testing, we found that it rised up to 1.5 with standard Nomex and this rise in body temperature resulted in an increased heart rate which when combined with excessive levels of perspiration, led to increased fatigue and heat stress. With Walero however, we reduce perspiration levels by 40% and this in turn means a 0.6c temperature rise, therefore meaning that performance levels remain higher and lap times quicker as a result.

Alongside the key performance benefits offered by the Walero base layers, we have also taken a deer look into what you can do to keep cool at the track this summer.

Preparation is key

Preparation before the race weekend is vitally important, you should exercise regularly to improve how your body reacts to heat. If you regularly attend events where the temps are high, consider biking or running in the heat too, this will only help to further improve your body’s capabilities when dealing with increased temperature. Other preparations can be made in the week leading up to the event:

Walero in the fridge

A very handy tip we give to everyone who wears Walero base layers is to store your base layers in the fridge as you look to prepare yourself for the upcoming race weekend! Leaving your base layers in the fridge allows the phase change materials (PCM) present in the Outlast® technology to store the colder temperature in the dedicated microencapsulated ThermoculesTM.

Once taken out of the fridge, the Walero base layers will continue to store this colder temperature and once the wearer begins to produce excess heat, the colder temperature will be released to continually regulate the skin’s microclimate, keeping you cooler for an extended period of time as it is constantly regulated by the Outlast® technology.

Correct hydration

As ever with sport and competition, hydrating before, during and after the event is key, and racing is no exception. To ensure you are properly hydrated and prepared before you hit the track, ensure to drink plenty of water throughout the day – with the recommended amount being 3.7 litres for men and 2.7 litres for women, the Walero Triple Insulated Stainless Steel is perfect for this! Ensuring that you drink regularly and often throughout the day will further help to keep you hydrated, and retain the cognitive focus needed for the task of being behind the wheel of a racing car!

Around 2 hours before exercise begins, aim to drink 6 to 8 ml of fluid per kg of body weight. This will allow time for absorption and removal of any excess. It is also beneficial to have sodium (discussed below) before exercise, as this will stimulate thirst whilst also promoting the retention of fluids.

After completing exercise, it’s been recommended that you should aim to consume 1.5 L for each kg of body weight lost as this will take into account the fluid that will be naturally lost from the body. However, this does not need to be consumed all in one go, a proactive approach is to aim for 500ml immediately post-exercise and then at regular intervals after that for maximum benefit.

Another key tip for maintaining good levels of hydration throughout the day is to also bring sports drinks with the required electrolytes to keep you topped up at various points throughout the day. Electrolytes are what our bodies need to perform its variety of functions effectively. Vital electrolytes that need topping up regularly include sodium, calcium, potassium, bicarbonate, chloride, phosphate and magnesium. When we sweat during exercise, we predominantly lose sodium and potassium, so these are important to think about when trying to stay hydrated. Therefore, if our body is low on electrolytes, it can cause fatigue, headaches and dehydration. 

There are plenty of good food sources that provide electrolytes such as potatoes (phosphorus and magnesium), leafy greens such as kale or spinach (calcium and magnesium) or coconut milk (sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium) to name a few examples!

Correct nutrition

Alongside maintaining the correct hydration before completing any exercise, ensuring that you maximise the nutritional value of your meals in the build up and after the event is key.

To help you get the most from competing, it’s important to eat a healthy balance of foods rich in nutrients. This includes carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, fruit and vegetables, and fluids. Carbohydrates provide a great source of natural energy for the body and you should focus on eating the complex carbs found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans. Protein is also essential for building and repairing muscles, helping you enjoy the benefits of your workout. It can be a source of energy when carbohydrates are in short supply, but it’s not a major source of fuel during exercise. Adults need to consume about 0.8 grams of protein per day for every kilogram of their body weight, that’s equal to about 0.36 grams of protein for every pound of body weight.

While fat is a primary fuel for most aerobic exercise, we have plenty stored in the body to fuel even the longest workouts. However, getting healthy unsaturated fats helps to provide essential fatty acids and calories are key to ensuring correct energy levels, these healthier fats can be found in nuts, seeds, avocados and olives. Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of natural fibre, vitamins, minerals, and other compounds that your body needs to function properly. They’re also low in calories and fat so a good choice to maintain a balanced nutritional diet.

When it comes to fueling up before or after a workout, it’s important to achieve the right balance of carbs and protein. Pre-workout snacks that combine carbohydrates with protein can make you feel more energised than junk foods made from simple sugars and lots of fat.

Consider stocking your workout bag and refrigerator with some of these simple snacks such as bananas, berries, grapes, oranges and nuts!

Correct clothing

Pack breathable clothing to wear across the weekend to reduce the impacts of heat and discomfort on the body. A cap, sunglasses and sunscreen are must haves too as these will be essential in keeping you cool whilst not competing, ensuring you can maximise your performance when you do hit the track!

Whilst at the track

Ensure that you hydrate throughout the course of each day. For longer races, keep a water bottle with a long tube straw and bite valve mounted in your car. If the event is multiple days, make repairs and adjustments at night and avoid working on your car in the afternoon when the temperature is the hottest.

The Walero Triple Insulated Stainless Steel bottle is also a great way to ensure you can remain fully hydrated whilst trackside as it can keep your drinks cold for up to 25 hours. It doesn’t matter what the outside temperature is, the bottle’s triple insulation will keep your drink at the optimum temperature, ensuring you have cooler water to aid in hydration.

Here at Walero, we understand the importance of staying cool at the track and protecting everything at track days from your health to your car. This is especially true in hot months, when it is just as important to prepare for the heat as well as the racing action on track.

Here at Walero, we understand the importance of staying cool at the track and protecting everything at track days from your health to your car. This is especially true in hot months, when it is just as important to prepare for the heat as well as the racing action on track.