Author: Adam MacDougall   Date Posted:2 May 2017 

EVERY session behind the wheel for Aussie motorsport legend Craig Lowndes is a gruelling physical and mental workout in the equivalent of a sauna.

“A lot of people don’t realise just how fit we need to be,” the three-time V8 Supercar champion and six-time Bathurst 1000 winner said. “Inside a race car we sit in 65-70C heat for two hours at a time.

“The steering weight is two to three times as heavy as a normal car and you need to apply 12kg of force every time you pull a gear. You’re doing that up to 35 times a lap, for 70 laps, so you end up a bit like a tennis player — with a very strong left arm!

“Then there’s the brake pedal. You have to apply 80-100kg of force every time you punch the brake. Obviously, fatigue comes into it, so for us it’s all about stamina and endurance, both physically and ­mentally.” Lowndes stays on top of his game by thinking outside the square when it comes to exercise.

“Lifting heavy weights in the gym isn’t really an ­option because we have to make sure we’re not too big in the car, and get penalised if we weigh in over 86-88k.


Plus I’d rather do things I enjoy,” he said.

“I’ve really got into mountain biking the past couple of years. It’s great to get off the beaten track and you’re always focusing on what’s in front of you and making split-second decisions. In a race car it’s the same sort of process, so it keeps your mind sharp."

“The mind is the most ­important muscle for a race car driver, so being able to push ourselves in training through the pain barrier and discomfort while staying mentally in the moment is most important.”

Quality control - Food is a hugely important factor in success on the track -


“It’s like the quality control guys say down here at the race team: ‘We know what goes in the car’. Well, I know what goes in my stomach. At home we grow a lot of our own fruit and vegies and I like getting into the kitchen and making my own meals."

“For me, eating healthy is all about moderation: small portions, plenty of protein, some carbs and plenty of water.”

His top tip for maintaining a healthy weight is to stop portion distortion.

“Train yourself to stop eating before you’re full,” he said.

“If you eat until you’re full and then just sit around on the lounge, you’re going to end up feeling lazy and lethargic and you’re less likely to burn off that energy.”