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, 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.

The Science of Motorsport edited by David P. FergusonOrder 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

Potkanowicz ES, Ferguson DP, Greenshields JT. Responses of Driver-Athletes to Repeated Driving Stints. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise

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.

Media Spotlight

Blood Glucose Control and IndyCar Success

Female Race Car Driver Eqaulity