Performance enhancement in rally car drivers via heat acclimation and race simulation

S M Walker, B Dawson, T R Ackland
Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Part A, Molecular & Integrative Physiology 2001, 128 (4): 701-7
To investigate the combined use of an interactive racecar simulator and heat acclimation on psychomotor (driving) performance, eight rally drivers underwent 4 days of repeated heat (50 degrees C) exposure (1 h x day(-1)) during which they performed a simulated rally drive (3x12-min stages each separated by a 2-min break), after first cycling for 15 min at 125 W to induce some degree of fatigue and heat storage prior to beginning the rally. During the rally stages, a generic set of pace notes were read to the subject by a co-driver. In each simulation, sweat loss, heart rate, core (rectal) and skin temperatures were recorded and driving and psychomotor performance were assessed by recording stage times and time to complete a psychomotor test. Levels of physiological and perceived thermal strain were also recorded. Significant decreases in rally stage times (88 s; P<0.005), psychomotor test time (18 s; P<0.01), final core (0.25 degrees C; P<0.001) and skin (0.44 degrees C; P<0.005) temperatures, heart rate (16 beats x min(-1); P<0.05) and physiological (15 W x m(-2); P<0.005) and perceived thermal (3.7 units; P<0.01) strain were evident by the end of the final simulation, and a significant (P<0.05) increase in sweat sensitivity (+0.33 g x h(-1) x degrees C(-1)) was also recorded. These results suggest that both heat acclimation and race simulation can improve the psychomotor performance of rally drivers, although the relative contribution of each factor was not determined here. However, in a practical setting, these factors would not be used in isolation. After performing the acclimation and simulation protocol prior to an actual rally, drivers subjectively reported improvements in tolerating a high thermal load and in their ability to control the rally vehicle.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"