First-Ever Sweat Analysis of Professional Motorsports Drivers Delivers Personalized Hydration Data

October 10, 2022

At a recent IndyCar event, more than a dozen professional drivers wore newly developed biosensors to better understand their hydration needs

BOSTON, MASS. — OCTOBER 10, 2022 /ENDURANCE SPORTSWIRE/ – In the lead-up to a recent IndyCar race in St. Louis, Missouri, 14 professional IndyCar drivers underwent the first-ever research pilot analyzing fluid and electrolyte loss while behind the wheel. Outfitted with small sweat-analyzing devices from Nix, a consumer biosensor company, drivers and their teams were able to access highly accurate, personalized, and actionable hydration data, helping to optimize driver performance and safety inside extremely hot vehicle cockpits.

Heat exhaustion and dehydration are widespread and well-known problems in motorsports. With cockpit temperatures that can reach 122°F, heat-trapping protective gear layers and unreliable methods of measuring hydration levels, it’s no surprise that F1 drivers’ body temperatures can rise to 104°F – dangerously higher than the normal core body temperature of 98.6°F.

The biosensors collected thousands of data points on each driver’s sweat, including cumulative electrolyte loss, cumulative fluid losses, rate of electrolyte and fluid loss, skin temperature, and more. The initial research took place at the 6th Annual Bommarito Automotive Group 500 IndyCar Series in St. Louis, Missouri and was administered in partnership with PitFit, the leader in human performance in motorsports. PitFit and Nix worked together to distribute the new biosensor technology to PitFit’s athletes, then process the data afterward.

The goal of the research was to quantify, for the first time, each professional driver’s unique fluid and electrolyte needs, as well as begin designing the optimal integration of Nix hydration data into motorsports training and racing. Nix is launching its first commercial product in Q4 2022 in endurance sports — running, cycling, and triathlon. The IndyCar research in St. Louis is one of dozens of pilots Nix is already conducting in new segments with critical unmet needs in hydration management, including team sports, military, laborer segments, and more.

Key Findings

  • Sweat rate varied greatly from driver to driver: 2.9x across participants.
  • Electrolyte loss rate varied even more greatly among participants: 4.6x across participants.
  • Sweat composition ranged from 16-60 mg/oz; a 3.8x range.
  • Ambient temperature on the race track reached 122.9°F.

These findings — and the fact that drivers’ body temperatures can rise to 104°F — emphasize the importance of more individualized hydration protocols for drivers, rather than a traditional one-size-fits-all-approach.

“We’ve been focused on driver performance for decades now and, while we knew dehydration was important to try to manage, we’ve never been able to quantify the issue in real-time,” says Jim Leo, founder of PitFit. “Knowing how much fluid loss takes place, how that impacts performance, and how to manage it in real time is going to become a key part of race strategy in the future.”

“We built Nix to answer precisely these questions around hydration, knowing real-time data is the only way to maintain hydration in high-heat, high-exertion environments,” says Nix founder Meridith Cass. “Too often athletes have to rely on a perception of thirst or something like urine color, which are inaccurate and impractical in the field.”

About Nix

Nix is redefining how we manage health by developing biosensors that empower consumers to access, understand, and act on their personal biology at home. Nix’s first consumer product is a sweat patch that provides athletes, soldiers, and laborers with hydration data in real-time, helping them optimize safety and performance. Headquartered in Boston, Mass., Nix is led by Founder and CEO Meridith Cass, a graduate of Harvard Business School, former VC, and 9-time marathoner. Advisors include Tom Fowler, Former President of Polar; Dr. Bob Murray, Founder and former Director of the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, and Tatyana McFadden, the 5x Olympian and 17x Medalist. Learn more at nixbiosensors.com.

About PitFit Training

PitFit Training is an industry leader in the development and implementation of motorsports-specific human performance training and lists clients from Formula One, IndyCar, NASCAR, NHRA, ALMS, USAC, the World Endurance Championship and numerous junior level auto racing series. The roster of champions that have become part of the PitFit family is a who’s who of auto racing. Drivers such as Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan are just a few of the many drivers who have trained with PitFit Training. Learn more at pitfit.com.

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Michael Finn


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