In victory, and in defeat, racing is all about fine margins. This is particularly true of endurance events, as even the smallest decisions a driver makes can greatly impact the final result. Just one final push on an in-lap can earn you vital track position for the following stint, but on the other hand, just one missed braking point can send you into an unforgiving wall, undoing all the good work your team had done in the hours gone by.
Hundreds of these key moments are what decides whether you’ll stand on the podium as the sun begins to rise again, or whether your race will turn into an utterly pointless endeavour, in every sense of the word.
The virtual world is no different. Like traditional motorsport, sim racing is a hugely mentally taxing sport, and it can certainly be physical too when putting in long stints behind the wheel. If your team wants to achieve the best results possible, it’ll take more than just a good car set-up.
You, the driver, also need to be in prime condition so that you can stay focused and be the one to gain from these key moments, rather than be the one losing out. So with that in mind, here is The Sim Grid’s ultimate guide to driver performance.
How to choose a performance product
Before purchasing performance products or supplements it is important to know what the product does or is intended to do, what ingredients are in the product, and the price.
Firstly, a product design to help with sleep will most likely be ineffective at improving mental focus and stamina. Hence, it is important to be aware of what a performance product is meant to be used for so that the desired effect is achieved.
The ingredients of the product are also important. Certain ingredients will have certain effects. Vitamin B for example is used to support cognitive health. Other ingredients that are useful for boosting performance include:
- Magnesium: Required for the body’s energy production.
- Acetyl-L-Carnitine: Improves cognitive performance.
- Omega-3: Important for maintaining cognitive health.
Finally, refrain from spending more money than necessary and make sure you purchase the right product for the right price. Some supplements can be very expensive, while others will produce the same outcomes and can be purchased for a much cheaper price.
We’ve recently partnered with Qallo, a performance nutrition brand that developed a focus boosting food supplement (QFocus) without caffeine for mental performance. They’ve announced a bespoke discount for Coach Dave Academy customers using code “coachdave15”, with a 100%, money-back guarantee if you don’t find the benefit. You can check them out by clicking here.
Conducting thorough research in these areas will ensure that you choose the right performance product.
What to look for in a Sim Racing Performance Product
There are no performance supplements specifically designed for sim racing. However, there are plenty of products out there that can enhance or improve certain characteristics that are favourable in endurance sim racing, such as mental stamina and the quality of one’s sleep during breaks. As previously mentioned, look for products that have the desired outcome you are looking for, contain ingredients that will help to achieve this, and that is priced correctly.
When it comes to boosting mental stamina, some may choose to use caffeine-based products such as Red Bull and Monster. This may boost performance temporarily, but will eventually result in a crash caused by their significant caffeine, taurine, and sugar contents on top of other side effects such as sweaty palms and an increased heart rate. In contrast to highly caffeinated energy drinks, QFocus, for example, does not give you jitters, nervousness or anxiety. With increased mental stamina, a driver could be able to lap faster for longer and will be able to make better decisions when needed, which is incredibly important in endurance sim racing in particular.
Brands like Qallo also provide sleeping products that can improve the quality of the user’s sleep, which is incredibly helpful in sim racing. These products may allow the user to fall asleep more easily and promote relaxation. Drivers that use these products will be able to use their rest time during an endurance race more effectively and as a result, will be better behind the wheel.
Back to school
The first way to improve your performance as a driver is to put real effort into learning your craft. Plenty of drivers have natural ability, but in a sport that’s all about shaving off fractions of a second of lap time, you’ll need to put the work in to stand out amongst the crowd. There are plenty of ways you can go about doing this. For example, you could make use of the resources available over at Coach Dave Academy, or if you’re more of a visual learner, you could hop onto YouTube where there are masses of driving tutorial videos to choose from.
For example, Coach Dave Academy has plenty of information on car setup, which is particularly helpful for endurance racing, which relies on the car being both fast enough to be competitive as well as being workable for driving long distances.
After that, you’ll need to find a place to gain experience and put that theory into practice. Luckily, we’ve got you covered. Simply hop onto The Sim Grid’s daily racing portal to get going straight away, or if you’re feeling particularly competitive, check out the championships page for a list of all of our current competitions. By participating in such events, you will be able to improve your race craft, meaning that it will be natural by the time you participate in long endurance races.
So, having honed your technique, it’s now time to think about strategy. Endurance racing is effectively a high-speed game of chess, where the winners aren’t necessarily the team who can lap the circuit the fastest. Instead, you need to consider factors like tyre degradation and fuel usage, even the order or weighting of driver stints. Every variable presents an opportunity to gain an advantage over your competitors, and it’s your job to capitalise on that.
Unsurprisingly, this isn’t very easy to do on the fly, so you should aim to enter every race with a pre-discussed strategy plan, which you can then tweak if need be, depending on how the race pans out. By thinking ahead in this way, you can help to reduce decision-making fatigue, and instead, focus on hitting those apexes. For more information on how to manage race strategy, check out Coach Dave Academy’s article on the subject.
However, things don’t always go to plan, and often it can be through no fault of your own. Crashes, for example, are simply one of the inevitabilities of motorsport. It can be enraging to have your race hampered, or even ruined, by another driver. But, anger will often simply confound your misfortune. Mistakes are made when tempers are frayed, after all. So, to counteract these negative emotions, many sports psychologists recommend taking up mindfulness activities, which are easily accessible online.
By learning these mental processes, you will be able to regain a sense of calm more quickly, which in turn will allow you to re-focus on the race at hand. This is critical in endurance racing, as it is important to remember that it is a long race, and the quicker you can refocus, the more time you will have to rectify the situation.
Get healthier to go faster
Both physical and mental health is extremely important in endurance sim racing. While sim racing may not seem as physically taxing as real-world motorsport, driving for hours on end is still a tiring experience. Mastering your mental stamina is also important, as endurance racing relies on you staying focused for long periods and being able to make decisions quickly. As such, to be as effective behind the sim racing wheel as possible, your physical and mental health are key.
If you’re serious about sim racing, then there are plenty of things you can change about your general lifestyle to aid your performance on the track. One option would be to reduce the amount of sugar in your diet. Sugary snacks can certainly be tempting, especially if you don’t have much time to prepare alternate meals. But although food and drink with high sugar content may offer an initial boost, they also guarantee an energy slump later on – which is not ideal for endurance racing! Plus, by cutting out these types of snacks and replacing them with something healthier, it won’t just be your lap times that will thank you; your body will too.
Cutting out some of the bad aspects of your diet is an important thing to do, but it’s also equally important to ensure that you don’t cut out too much of the good stuff either. In modern society, we all have busy lives, which makes it harder to take time out to prepare good quality food. As a result, it can be tempting to skip meals, especially if you’ve got a long racing commitment ahead of you.
Remember though, racing is all about fine margins. You would always make sure that your car is carrying an optimum fuel load, so why wouldn’t you hold yourself up to the same standards? If you don’t have the time to cook though, it may be worth trying nutritional meal replacements instead. There are plenty of these powder-based shakes on the market that are packed with protein, fibre and all the essential vitamins and minerals that you need to stay in good condition.
Now that the diet is sorted, it’s worth considering how else you can boost your energy levels. One way of doing this is to ensure that you get enough rest. A good night’s sleep will certainly help to recharge your batteries, but that’s a lot easier said than done for some of us. This is where products like QSleep come into play. Developed by performance nutrition company, Qallo, QSleep is a food supplement that uses all-natural ingredients to help you relax and deal with stress.
The tablets start to work after just sixty minutes and impose no negative long-term impact upon your natural sleep cycle. Other similar products include Swisse Relax & Sleep and JSHealth PM+ Sleep Formula, both of which are used to support rest, relaxation and relieve stress, which could be critical during an endurance race. Supplements such as these could be particularly handy during 24-hour races, where drivers need to be able to get to sleep quickly and rest well before their next stint in the car. Just make sure you set an alarm, otherwise you’ll have to deal with one very tired and unhappy teammate!
Need an extra boost?
Even when we’re at the top of our game, the constant need to deliver the perfect racing line every lap can begin to cause fatigue. Many of us would have probably reached for an energy drink in the past, but remember, the high sugar content will only work against you in the long run. Instead, the best esports teams are now getting their mid-race gains from nutritional supplements.
The good folks over at Qallo have got just the product for this scenario too. QFocus supplements produce noticeable effects after just twenty minutes and keep going strong for up to two hours. Developed and produced in Belgium, in collaboration with a renowned Belgian professor in Pharmacology, QFocus is a premium focus boosting food supplement without caffeine, for mental performance, with proven short term and long term benefits, therefore increasing reaction time and alertness. This makes them the perfect source of energy for longer stints behind the wheel, which are commonplace in endurance racing.
Unlike other performance supplements, Qallo’s fusion of eight natural vegan ingredients helps to enhance your focus and concentration levels, rendering silly race-ending errors a thing of the past. QFocus also supports mental endurance, giving you the ability to weave together the perfect racing line lap after lap and take advantage of those fine margins of performance. Furthermore, all of Qallo’s products are natural and approved by the World Anti Doping Agency, meaning they are 100% legal to use in competition and will not show up on a doping test. QFocus also does not contain caffeine or sugar, meaning that the user will not eventually experience a focus crash. As a result of using natural ingredients, QFocus will have both short and long-term benefits.
To find out more about their range of nutritional performance supplements, head over to Qallo’s website, where you can get 15% off the price of your order using code “coachdave15”– and keep up to date with all the latest advances in nutritional supplements – by signing up to a monthly newsletter.
There are plenty of things drivers can do both on and off their track to improve their endurance racing performance. Getting the race strategy, car setup and racecraft right on track is a major key to success, but drivers should also master their physical health and mental performance to achieve the highest possible results. Correctly selecting performance products as opposed to energy drinks with high doses of caffeine and sugar will also provide drivers with a physical and mental boost, which will prove to be advantageous throughout an endurance race.
Products from companies such as Qallo, Swisse and Berocca are very helpful in this regard. Getting these factors right will mean that you will be able to drive faster for longer and with fewer mistakes, which will contribute to improving your endurance racing results.
No matter what level you race at, we’re confident that if you adhere to this guide, you’ll soon gain the driving prowess and bodily health required to become an endurance racing ace – and we hope you’ll return to The Sim Grid to prove it. See you on the track!
Co-written by Jack MacKenzie and James Bowers