As we cheer from the stands with bated breath during Grand Prix weekend, the world-class drivers vying for victory in front of us will face unfathomable obstacles.
While zipping around the Detroit Street Circuit at breakneck speeds, they’ll try to apply their driving acumen and precision to come out on top, while temperatures inside their racecars teeter on 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
Drivers like Austin Green of the 3-Dimensional Services Group with Peterson Racing team will stay laser focused on the finish line during the Grand Prix, and the last thing they want to worry about is their immediate health. They will rely on their preparation regiment, as well as the technology of their vehicles and equipment to keep them safe.
How Austin Green stays safe, cool, and hydrated on race day
Green’s racing career started before he stepped foot in kindergarten. The year 2023 marks his first full year as a Trans Am driver, as part of the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli. When he suits up for the Detroit Grand Prix, he will do so for the fourth time this year.
While chatting with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) weeks before the big race, Green talked about the physically demanding day that lies ahead.
“The heat is probably the biggest enemy that we deal with,” Green said. “The summer races get really, really hot, so that’s usually a challenge. I think if you can just stay mentally focused, despite the heat, you should be alright.”
The 170-mile Grand Prix will require drivers to spend about an hour-and-a-half straight in their vehicles. So how do they stay hydrated?
“Hydration is very key, so try to drink as much water as you can and eat the right stuff prior to the race,” Green said, before sharing his typical pre-race meal choice. “I’ll usually stick to chicken and some greens, some protein. Nothing too greasy or heavy.”
If you’ve ever seen a racecar driver in full gear, perhaps posing on the podium after a win, you’ve seen what they wear to protect them during the rigors of a race. But exactly how do those bodysuits protect them and keep them cool?
“We wear what’s called a COOLSHIRT system. It’s a temperature-controlled shirt that’s fireproof and has these lines on the front and back that run cold water through it,” Green explained. “So when you hook it up to the system, that keeps your core cold. And then we have a helmet blower, which is kind of like (air conditioning) in your helmet. And then we have a water bottle with a hose attached to it if we get thirsty.”
Over the COOLSHIRT, Green says he wears a Sabalt Racing suit, shoes and gloves, all of which are fireproof. The Trans Am Green competes in is also scientifically engineered to keep them comfortable and protect them from injury, should an accident occur.
“We have the Sabalt seats, we have the HANS Device that keeps our neck from moving too much,” he said. “And then we have the helmets obviously that are very safe. We have different layers of padding (inside the vehicle), too.”
Once the race ends, Green reaches for the water again to replenish his body.
“Just try to hydrate as much as I can, ‘cause we lose so many fluids in the race,” Green said. “I think that’s probably the biggest thing for me, just make sure I get those fluids back. Some water, some Gatorade.”
Green highest-ranked finish among his three races so far in 2023 was second place. He spent a good portion of late May in Detroit and has gotten to eyeball the Detroit Street Circuit he will be racing on between June 2-4. He said he expects it to be a challenge, but he also expects to be ready.
“I think it’s going to be tricky for sure, the track looks technical, and it’s a street course,” he said. “It’s tight, and you got walls on both sides of you, so you have to just try not to make mistakes and do your best to perfect everything.”
Getting ready for the racing action? Before heading downtown, check out this comprehensive preview, which includes race times, ticket availability, parking information and helpful tips on what to pack how to prepare.
Photo credit: LAT USA/Detroit Grand Prix
Get ready for the Grand Prix with this 2023 preview: 2023 Downtown Detroit Grand Prix Guide: Everything You Need to Know