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Department of Kinesiology

Spartan Motorsport Performance Lab


Current Projects

F1 Driver Development

We are investigating how exercise training during key windows of childhood development can influence future performance in elite motorsport.  Since the majority of race car drivers begin their racing career at age 6, there is limited data on how to best to prepare children for a career in racing. This means it is necessary to document the current level of fitness and assess proper methods to engage children in this unique sport.


Female Race Car Drivers

Women have always participated with men in motorsports, yet in the last decade there has been an exponential increased in female drivers. Conversations in popular and social media have suggested women are more fatigable in the race car, but there is no data on this topic. Thus, we are investigating the physiological differences between male and female drivers during competition. Read Story


Eye-Tracking in Dyslexic Race Car Drivers

We are investigating why drivers with dyslexia appear to have increased performance on the track.  In an interesting observation, it was noted that some of the most successful elite race car drivers of all time have been diagnosed with dyslexia. Through my collaboration with Dr. Karl Erickson we are interested in better understanding how this condition affects performance and could also be a tool to increase learning in all individuals with dyslexia.

Nutrition for Race Car Drivers

We are currently working with Unit Nutrition and CJ Wilson Racing, to investigate the physiological responses to racing. Together we are developing a novel nutrient and fluid replacement plan needed to further optimize driver performance.


Human Performance of Race Car Drivers

We are constantly documenting many human performance variables for drivers competing in NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula 1 and IMSA racing leagues to maximize driver performance



Ferguson, D. P., Barthel, S. C., Pruett, M. L., Buckingham, T. M., and Waaso, P. R. (2019) Physiological Responses of Male and Female Race Car Drivers during Competition, Med Sci Sports Exerc. View Article


The Science of Motorsport edited by David P. Ferguson. Order Book


McKnight, PJ; Bennett, LA; Malvern, JM; and Ferguson, DP. (2018) VO2peak, body composition, and neck strength of elite racing drivers. Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise. View Article

Ferguson, DP; Myers, ND. (2018). Physical fitness and blood glucose influence performance in IndyCar racing. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Nov;32(11):3193-3206. View Article

Ferguson, DP, Davis, A, Lightfoot, J.T. Optimizing the Physical Conditioning of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Pit Crew Athlete.Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2015 Mar;29(3):567-77 View Article


Carlson, L, Ferguson, DP, Kenefick, RW, Cheuvront, SN. Thermoregulatory and Physiological Responses of Stock Car Drivers During Competitive Racing. J Therm Biol. 2014 Aug;44:20-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jtherbio.2014.06.001. Epub 2014 Jun 9. View Article


Ferguson, DP, Bowen, RS, and Lightfoot, JT.  Heart Rate and Core Temperature Responses of Elite Pit Crews During Automobile Races Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.  2011; 25(8): p.2075 View Article


Media Spotlight


Blood Glucose Control and IndyCar Success


Female Race Car Driver Eqaulity