No Pain, No Gain
Racecar drivers are super trained athletes. It’s not a secret that they need to be trained very well in order to be able to race, and the more pro they are the more fit they need to be. Drivers not only need to withstand incredible g-forces, but their body muscles from the neck down are continually solicited during a race. A casual race fan might think that they are just driving a car, but it’s not that way. Drivers train a lot building muscles and cardio. A driver routine is typically in the gym, running and riding a bicycle all year round and almost everyday.
Today we will talk about PitFit, a specialized motorsport training facility in Indianapolis, Indiana here in the United States of America. PitFit is a pioneer and leader of the motorsports performance industry, working with drivers competing at the highest levels of numerous racing series across the globe. PitFit Training began in 1993 when a young trainer working at the Detroit Diesel Corporation wellness center sent a request to racing legend and DDC owner Roger Penske asking to improve the fitness of his IndyCar team. Jim Leo was that trainer, and to his surprise Mr. Penske sent back a simple hand-written note from his desk; ‘Go for it”. With little racing knowledge but a wealth of human performance experience and a passion for success, Leo was put in contact with Penske Racing located in Reading, PA. He soon started the formidable task of creating a program that could make the most successful team in racing even better. When the 1994 IndyCar season began, Penske Racing had a full fitness center and a conditioning program in place that focused on improving team pit stops and overall wellness. That year, Penske Racing dominated the competition by winning 12 of 16 races of the championship along with the Indy 500.
In January 2010, PitFit Training opened its new facility in Indianapolis that housed experts in chiropractic medicine, physical therapy, rehabilitation and massage along with a training center filled with the many tools used to train drivers of all levels. The roster of champions that have become part of the PitFit family is a who’s who of auto racing. Drivers such as Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti, Will Power, Kasey Kahne, Sam Hornish Jr, Larry Dixon, Morgan Lucas, Levi Jones, and James Hinchcliffe are just a few of the many drivers who have trained with PitFit.
PitFit Training has become its own ladder system for racing success, with numerous drivers starting in the program in lower-level series and staying with the training as they graduate to the top levels through programs like the Mazda Road to Indy. Drivers such as JR Hildebrand, Charlie Kimball, Spencer Pigot, Pippa Mann, Sebastian Saavedra, Sage Karam, and Gabby Chavez have continued with PitFit Training through various stages of their advancing careers.
Ultimately, PitFit Training has grown into the industry leader in the development and implementation of motorsports-specific human performance training and lists clients from Formula One, IndyCar, NASCAR, NHRA, IMSA, SRO America World Challenge, USAC and numerous junior level auto racing series. Next time you watch a race pay attention to this underestimated racing aspect, unless you’re in the driver seat.
Before leaving this page you might be interested to read another blog post on the 7 tips for a productive day at the track