The 2020 IndyCar season is just around the corner. Next week I’ll be on my way to St. Petersburg, Florida, for the first race of the year. I can't wait to get back behind the wheel after a six-month winter break.
Despite what you might think, the off-season is never that relaxing for me. In reality, I only have three weeks in late October to early November when I relax completely and don't do any physical training. In December I head to France during the holidays to see my family and friends, but also to reconnect with the French media and organizations I can’t see regularly during the race season. In January it is immediately back to work to prep for the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona race, and then in February we jump into IndyCar pre-season testing. On top of that, team sponsor and PR events all over the US are sprinkled throughout the off-season.
Intense physical training
But with all these commitments there's one thing that never changes: It's my physical preparation. For almost 10 years, I have had the same routine at the beginning of the season. My coach, Bruno Daudin, flies from France to my home in Charlotte, North Carolina to join me for a pre-season fitness boot camp.
When I met him in 2012, we decided to put a plan together to prepare me specifically for race car driving. We pulled data from the race car with forces applied to the body like heat, heart rate, steering load and lateral g-forces since we don't have power steering.
I train on a regular basis but each year at the end of February we ramp up with a 10-day boot camp that includes an average of 5 hours a day of working out followed by stretching. Bruno tries to push me as much as possible to simulate race conditions. This, in turn, helps me to enter the first race weekend, and each one after that, feeling confident.
After Bruno returns home to France, he sends me training plans throughout the season that I diligently complete. Our boot camp for 2020 has just ended. So now I'm 100% ready to start the new season!