Skip To Main Content
Skip To Main Content

Potkanowicz studies driver athlete, makes hydration recommendations

Dr. Edward S. Potkanowicz, assistant professor of exercise physiology, has had his most recent manuscript, entitled "A Real-Time Case Study in Driver Science: Physiological Strain and Related Variables,” accepted for publication by the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance.

This study, part of Potkanowicz’s work in the area of driver science, was conducted as an attempt to quantify driver core body temperature and heart rate responses in real-time on a minute-by-minute basis so as to capture the dynamic nature of human thermoregulation during motorsport competition, and as an attempt to expand the volume of work being conducted in the area of driver science. For all that the scientific community has learned about the athlete, and the response of the athlete to the stress of performance, little attention has been paid to the racecar driver, the driver athlete. In an attempt to expand the volume of work in this area, data was collected from drivers competing in the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix last summer in Pittsburgh, Pa. 

In addition, Potkanowicz was approached by the Indy Racing League (IRL) and asked to provide hydration recommendations to the IndyCar Driver’s Association. The Indy Racing League is the premier open-wheel racing series in North America and is most well known for the Indy 500 held each year on the Sunday before Memorial Day.

 During the 2014 racing season, the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston was significantly more physically challenging than normal due to excessive temperatures during the race. Following this race, the IndyCar Driver’s Association approached the IRL and asked for recommendations for how to best prepare for competition, how to hydrate during competition, and how to recover from competition. The recommendations provided by Potkanowicz were given to the drivers during the pre-season medical exams and the annual pre-season drivers' meeting held in January 2015.