There are quite a few things a race driver will need on a race weekend, this ranges from a positive mindset and attitude, to having the right protective equipment such as his/her certified racing suit, gloves, boots, helmet, etc…
Various motorsports disciplines will of course, require different equipment specific to the sport, terrain, climate, etc… There are sprint races, endurance races, drift battles, off-road challenges and rallies for cars, motorbikes and karts; on race circuits, closed-off public roads, deserts, jungle trails and even car parks!
For car racing, authentic Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) approved equipment is a mandatory safety requirement:
(Above image) HANS device (Head and Neck Support device), designed as a safety item compulsory in most car racing sports. It helps reduce the probability of head and/or neck injuries, such as a basilar skull fracture in the event of a crash.*
An example of the HANS device attached to an FIA approved race helmet is visible in the photo at the very start of this article.
(Above image) Race suit. (Below image) Race balaclava and top inner-wear.
Almost all FIA homologated attire is made from and/or lined with fire-retardant fabrics (textiles that are naturally more resistant to fire than others through chemical treatment or manufactured fireproof fibers.
(Above image) Racing gloves.
(Above image) Racing boots.
Having been on a four-year hiatus (late 2012 till August 2016), my return to FIA sanctioned competitive racing was one of excitement and jubilation! Having only competed in sprint races in the past, participating in this year’s Sepang 1000km Endurance Race saw me confront never-before confronted challenges – to race on Sepang International Circuit and to compete in an endurance race. It wasn’t until the end of the race did I better appreciate the importance of team work, training and practice, while also understanding how participation in time-attacks and regular track-days did little to strengthen my experience.
Stepping onto the top podium as class champion was surreal, and days after saw me still stunned, amazed, grateful and thankful. (Full stories here)
9tro’s partnership with Kegani Racing for this race has to be one of the most successful racing partnership for 9tro in recent history.
However, aside from putting in tremendous amounts of effort on both mental and physical states, my journey was effectively made easier with the support of two brands!
Having been a Bausch and Lomb user for well over a decade, I was recently introduced to the latest Acuvue Oasys by the good people from First Eyewear Centre (FEC) Singapore. Offering customers a detailed and comprehensive check by their professional optometrist prior to recommending the right options, FEC also offers a wide range of products such as regular glasses, sun glasses, contact lenses and even eye-care related supplements.
Priced at a slightly higher bracket, daily contact lenses offers the user a more consistent and hygienic way of enjoying glasses-free days, as compared to bi-weekly or monthly contacts. Furthermore, they tend to be more comfortable and are thus essentially safer in every aspect. The newly released Acuvue Oasys daily contact lenses are designed with HydraLuxe™ Technology, which allows for unparalleled comfort in even the harshest of conditions. The lenses are designed to incorporate tear-like properties that work with our natural tear film, effectively providing all-day comfort and clarity.
Conditions during an endurance race changes with the weather and the elements it unleashes. During our practice and qualifying sessions throughout the week, we experienced the extremes of both blistering heat and tropical thunderstorms, while the eight and a half hour race over the weekend saw track-temperatures soar to over 50°C in the day and dip to under 28°C in the night.
Racing in a proper touring-production race car means a total absences of air-conditioning and regular creature comforts. Furthermore, depending on the air venting and circulation system fitted, in-cabin conditions can quickly become unbearable for many, especially those who are not physically adapted.
I remember having to bring extra contact lenses back when competing in sprint races, swapping in new ones after every session to ensure freshness, clarity and comfort, factors that directly affect safety. This however, was not the case during my stints and the spares were kept in a Ziploc bag throughout the race weekend!
Something as trivial as ‘uncomfortable contact lenses’ during a race can be the difference between losing or gaining precious time, losing unnecessarily to opponents, or even resulting in an incident.
Winning this year’s prestigious Sepang 1000km Endurance Race was achieved above all, due to superior team effort, consistent driving and perfectly calculated strategies. For me, it was without doubt made easier with the precision and clarity of vision from Acuvue HydraLuxe!
As much as a race car needs fuel as propellant to power the engine, so does its drivers, and aside from being mentally and physically prepared, having a good night’s rest and the right diet is equally important.
Unlike GT3-levels (or higher) of competitive racing, the Sepang 1000km Endurance Race was designed and organized specifically for the grassroot level, and the production cars and tyre options do not yield extremely high amounts of G-force. Having said that, as each driver was required to complete at least two to three 75-minute stints each, eating or drinking too much prior to a stint can be highly uncomfortable.
After completing my first stint, I found myself breathless, completely dehydrated and exhausted to the very core. It felt as if I had completed a marathon run, something I have yet to challenge myself in. It wasn’t till approximately 15 minutes later when I managed to catch my breath and cracked open my first can of the day. Having consumed Monster Energy drinks many times before as a beverage, I was completely impressed and taken aback at how effective it was as not just an energy booster, but also an energy recovery option. Replenishing lost fluids after a stint (or any other strenuous workout) is vital towards recovery, more important in an endurance race, as the following stints required the same (if not higher) levels of focus and concentration.
While there is a recommended number of cans a regular person can consume daily, the right amount can prove to be highly effective. With just the right amount of energy replenished, I was able to continue my following stint and ultimately, successfully onto the victorious top-spot on the podium!
In addition to all that, if there is one thing I personally need at all times with me, it will be fragrances! From having the right deodorant sprays to cologne/Eau de Toilette, smelling good before, during and after a race is important! While most people will not experience it when watching on TV or when scrolling through photos online, motorsports can be a pretty pungent affair. The last thing a racer needs is for journalists or interview-crews to be turned off by the wrong smells! We do after all, seek the limelight!
To smell good, I fall back on the latest and newest artisanal fragrance label SIX. Made in collaboration with world renowned perfumers and a proudly Singaporean brand, the fragrances from SIX evokes and excites the senses. Perfectly formulated, my favourite scent among the three currently available on the market will have to be the exquisitely formulated ‘Tribeca’.
Imagine fresh orange peels, infused with touches of rosemary, lily-of-the-valley and a hint of Brazilian rosewood!
Having said that, remember not to over do it by dousing yourself in too much!