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Fitness in the Fast Lane

In modern day motorsport, fitness is paramount and it is impossible for anyone to doubt professional racing drivers are elite athletes. The physical and mental demands of top level race driving are immense, as Renee Gracie, the first and to date only female to compete in Porsche Carrera Cup Australia will attest.


Inside Renee’s Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, temperatures can climb upwards of 50ºC, while through high-speed corners Renee withstands G-forces of around 1.8 times her body weight. Add to this the need for split-second decision making while battling with 20 other hungry competitors on the track at speeds of up to 275kph, and it is easy to appreciate just what an athlete Renee is.


Renee is devoted to her training and dietary regime, not only to maximise the advantage that fitness can give her on the race track, but because she is passionate about enjoying a healthy and active lifestyle when she is not racing.


Renee gave us some of her best tips for maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle:


–  It’s important to want to train, rather than to train because you feel you have to. I like to mix my training up a little so I’m keeping it fresh and always tackling different challenges. At the moment I’m cycling around 60km a week, running 30km a week and training in the gym six times a week.


–  In the gym I do a lot of endurance exercises and body weight work, and lately my trainer and I have been doing plenty of boxing sessions which are a great cardio workout. The great thing about training in the gym it that it’s never too cold, too wet or too dark to exercise!


–  My fitness training has not only enabled me to handle the physical demands of motorsport, but it has also given me the mental strength I need when I am racing. When you think your body has limits, and then you push past those limits it’s a huge confidence builder. Also, the fitter you are the lower your heart rate will be when you’re active, and in motorsport that is crucial for staying cool and focussed behind the wheel.


–  That said, you don’t have to push your body to its limits and beyond to feel better. Whether it’s a half-hour walk around the block or stretches at home, any exercise is better than no exercise.


–  For me, I exercise not just to be fit for motorsport, but so I can feel great every day. I just love getting outdoors and being active. I have two dogs, a Weimaraner and a German Shepherd who are the best fun and they come running with me sometimes as well, but I think they prefer walking!”


Renee’s second season in Porsche Carrera Cup Australia kicks off at the Clipsal 500 Adelaide on February 27-March 2.

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