Metabolic and Heart Rate Responses to Open-Wheel Automobile Road Racing: A Single-Subject Study

Patrick L. Jacobs, Stephen E. Olvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Assessment of the physiological stresses placed on automobile race drivers has generally been restricted to measurement of heart rate (HR) activity and limited indicators of activity intensity. The purpose of this single-subject study was to utilize portable metabolic assessment and electrocardiographic equipment to assess the physiological responses to high-speed Indy-car road racing. A professional open- wheel race driver participated in a series of incremental driving tests (from moderate to competition speeds) as well as peak arm exercise (AE) and treadmill (LE) testing. During the driving tests, HR and oxygen uptake (V̇o2) were closely related to driving pace. Average HR values ranged from 100 to 120 b·min-1 at moderate speeds and 130 to 150 b·min-1 at competitive velocities. Oxygen uptake increased from approximately 1 L·min-1 at initial test speeds to over 3 L·min-1 at race velocity. This metabolic demand was more than 75% of the peak V̇o2 exhibited during LE and greater than 100% of the AE V̇o2peak. The results of this study indicate that the physical demands required in high-speed road racing are similar to those encountered within traditional sporting settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-161
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of strength and conditioning research
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2000


  • Automobile
  • Energy
  • Metabolic
  • Physiological
  • Portable

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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