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. 

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

Optimal Hydration For Motorsports

We are investing the efficiency of the FluidLogic hydration system to limit thermal strain on race car drivers during simulated racing.

Developing Technology to Monitor Racecar Drivers

We are investigating new technology to monitor driver physiology during racing. The ultimate goal is to improve safety and performance of race car drivers.


Ferguson, DP.,  Alex, PR, Castrucci, JM, Akouri, AM, Januszewski, GR, Danes, JD, Houck, FL. Promoted Hands-Free Drinking Improves Simulated Race Car Driving in a Hot Environment. Journal of Sports Sciences. 41 (11), 1093-1106. 2023.

David Horvath, Janos Negyesi, Tamas Győri, Botond Szűcs, Peter Janos Toth, Zsolt Matics, Csaba Okros, Sandor Safar, Nikolett Szabo, Beata Takacs, Robert Kathy, Klara Toth, David P. Ferguson, Ryoichi Nagatomi and Levente Racz. Application of a Reactive Agility Training Program Using Light‑Based Stimuli to Enhance the Physical and Cognitive Performance of Car Racing Drivers: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Sports Medicine Open. 8 (1), 1-17. 2022.

Bretzin AC, Daly JC, and Ferguson DP. Concussion Knowledge, Attitudes and Reporting Behaviors of Sports Car Racing Drivers. Translational Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine. 7 (2), e000195. 2022.

Garcia, E. Juarez, Ferguson, DP, and Napoli, NJ. Estimating Core Body Temperature Under Extreme Environments using Kalman Filtering. AIAA SCITECH 2022 Forum, 1271.

Potkanowicz ES, Ferguson DP, Greenshields JT. Responses of Driver-Athletes to Repeated Driving Stints. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 2021. 53 (3), 551-558.

Barthel SC and Ferguson DP. Cockpit Temperature as an Indicator of Thermal Strain in Sportscar Competition. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 2021, 53 (2), 360-366.

Kochanek J, Davis ME, Erickson KA, Ferguson DP.  More than “Just a Driver”: A Study of Professional Women Racecar Drivers’ Agency in Motorsport. Psychology of Sport & Exercise. 2021, 52, 101838

Barthel, SC; Buckingham, TM; Haft, CE; Bechtolsheimer, JE; Bechtolsheimer, TA; and Ferguson, DP. A Comparison of the Physiological Responses in Professional and Amateur Sports Car Racing Drivers. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport. 2020 Jan 24:1-12.

Chandler MC, McGowan AL, Ferguson DP, and Pontifex MP. Carbohydrate Mouth Rinse has No Effects on Behavioral or Neuroelectric Indices of Cognition International Journal of Psychophysiology. May 2020. 151. 49-58

Pritchard AE, Barthel SC, and Ferguson DP. “Cardiorespiratory responses reach vigorous-intensity levels during simulated game play of arena polo.” Translational Sports Medicine. May 2020. 3 (3) 250-255.

Ferguson, DP; Barthel, SC; Pruett, ML; Buckingham, TM; Waaso, PR. “Physiological responses of male and female race car drivers during competition.” Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 2019 Dec;51(12):2570-2577.

McKnight, PJ; Bennett, LA; Malvern, JM; and Ferguson, DP.  “VO2peak, body composition, and neck strength of elite racing drivers.”  Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 2019 Dec;51(12):2563-2569.

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

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

Carlson, L, Ferguson, DP, Kenefick, RW, Cheuvront, SN. “Thermoregulatory and Physiological Responses of Stock Car Drivers During Competitive Racing.” Journal of Thermal Biology. 2014 Aug;44:20-6.

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