Motorsport fan or not, it’s hard not to appreciate the physicality and skill level of the V8 supercar drivers. We caught up with 29-year-old South Australian and Supercheap Auto Racing squad driver Tim Slade ahead of this weekend’s Castrol EDGE Townsville 400 to find out how he trains and what other activities he does off the track.
“It might seem simple to ‘sit and drive around’, but you use every part of your body”
Driving in the V8 Supercars Championship is physically challenging — how do maintain your fitness throughout the season? I enjoy the fitness side of things. I really love cycling, I’m not the biggest fan of swimming, and don’t mind running, so if I’m not preparing for a half marathon then my Boardman bike is definitely my preferred method of training.
I also spend a lot of time in the gym. Those sessions are the most helpful for driving the #47 Supercheap Auto Commodore. It’s all about strength and your core.
It might seem simple to ‘sit and drive around’, but you use every part of your body. Your legs constantly move around with the pedals, you need a good core because there are lots of G forces with cornering, accelerating and braking, and your upper body wrestles the wheel and gears for hours at a time.
It’s very physically demanding in the cabin, the races are long and you need to be focussed for the whole time.
What’s a typical week of training for you? In the lead up to the Gold Coast Half Marathon (last weekend, July 4-5), I’ve been doing up to 60km running and I’ve cut back on the amount of cycling I do to around 250km per week (down from 400km), and spend two or three days in the gym. I’m training every day, and sometimes twice a day.
I usually ease back on my training regime on the Tuesday before an event so I can go into the weekend feeling fresh.
I prepare for every event in very much the same fashion, but in the lead up to the opening of the season, the Clipsal 500, I spend extra time in the gym to build up my base strength. It’s important to start the year hard on gym sessions because you haven’t been in the car for a few months.
What other fitness events have you done? Last year I did the Cairns Half Ironman and a few other sprint and Olympic distance triathlons as well.
What is the best thing about being a professional driver? Racing is everything for me. It’s what I love – I eat, sleep and breathe it. To be able to race for Supercheap Auto Racing full-time is my dream career. I’m driven by success, and getting results is the most enjoyable part. I finished on the podium at Darwin, and I’d love to back it up with another strong result this weekend.
What do you like most about racing in Townsville? I really enjoy the Castrol EDGE Townsville 400 as an event because there are only a few races where the whole region gets behind the event, and this is one of them.
The people are extremely passionate and friendly and laid back and love their Holdens, the weather is always perfect, and the Reid Park circuit is great to race on. What’s not to love!
What do you eat and drink on race day? How do you stay hydrated, energised and focused? My eating habits don’t change on race weekends, although I do eat more because I’m pushing myself harder on a race weekend.
I definitely hydrate more than through the week. I try to avoid the sports drinks as much I can. Through the day I have a bit of coconut water because it’s a natural form of electrolytes and leave the sports and protein drinks as a recovery drink.
On race weekends, I always have a bottle of water in easy reach to sip on, but I try and limit my fluid intake an hour before the race. If you don’t, you end up racing with a full bladder and you need to go… but if you need to go, you just go.
How do you stay focussed during the racing? I’ve been racing since I was nine years old, so it just happens naturally. You get into a rhythm and hit your brake marks and turn in points and try and stay cool, calm and relaxed while minimising mistakes.
You can watch Tim Slade and other V8 drivers’ physicality in action of the Castrol EDGE Townsville 400 on July 10-12 at Reid Park. For the full track schedule see here: http://www.v8supercars.com.au/events/queensland/castrol-edge-townsville-400/what-s-on/track-schedule.