Before battling on the track, the drivers are put through a rigorous daily routine. The stakes? To be the best behind the wheel. We take a close-up look on the long-term work that can make the difference in the ultra-competitive Formula Renault Eurocup.
Contrary to popular belief, motor racing requires more than just raw talent. It’s often the way each competitor channels, develops and exploits it to gain precious thousandths of a second… all of which is done far from the race track!
"I undergo fairly intensive training the week before each race weekend," says Yifei Ye. “To be on point, you must combine several activities, including cardio-respiratory exercises, muscle strengthening for the arms and core, and focusing on coordination. Once that is done, I can relax during the days prior to the first collective tests.”
“As a Renault Sport Academy driver, I have to follow a tailor-made fitness plan when we are not racing”, adds Victor Martins. “Workout regimens, like the training programs we did in Doha at the beginning of the year or the Col du Peuch this summer, allow us to show up in the best conditions. Our diet is also surveyed closely. We have forms to fill out for each meal and our coach sends us his comments on aspects that we can improve. The tracking is very precise in order for us to be the most performant possible and ready we move on to the bigger categories.”
“I am also on a strict diet”, confirms the Chinese driver. “This doesn’t make a huge difference at our level, but it is extremely important to create good habits to assist the recovery process, to have energy when needed and to prepare us now for the following stages of our careers.”
Mental and recovery
“A healthy mind in a healthy body” is centuries old, and it is no longer a surprise to see more and more drivers work on this aspect at the very beginning of their involvement in the sport.
“A mental coach comes with me to the races”, says Victor Martins. “Each weekend, we go over what happened at the previous races in order to prepare for the races to come. We also do sophrology and everything that can be useful to positively influence my performances. It is a real asset in the Renault Sport Academy. "
Yifei Ye also works on this aspect with the help of the 3.2.1. Perform structure, which is located in the heart of the Formula Renault Eurocup paddock. “Every morning, I warm up in the truck as soon as I arrive”, says the Chinese driver. “It is great to have all of their tools on site to do some stretching, reflex and concentration exercises and recovery after each session and at the end of the day. We can talk with a coach that helps us to visualize the progress we can make the following day…Before going to bed as early as possible, always being in the best psychological predispositions!
In the Zone
All of this has just one objective: to be the most performant when the lights go out. But how do the drivers manage this surge of adrenaline?
“I simply try to concentrate on my driving and the areas that I can improve in”, admits Yifei Ye. “I don’t listen to music before the start, but I formulate my own plan to stay as calm as I can and as ready as possible on the grid.”
“I think everyone has their own approach”, judges Victor Martins. “We all concentrate in different ways and it soon becomes a routine. Personally, I get dressed, I prepare my gear, I warm-up, I listen to music and speak with my engineers and coach. My warm-up puts me in a bubble and once I am in the car, I try to block out everything that is going on around me… But this is only as far as I’m concerned, because I don’t believe there is one method that works for everyone!”