Admit it: You think driving a race car is easy. With closed tracks and all that horsepower, who needs talent — let alone athletic prowess? But unless you've trained your heart like a distance runner, built your muscles like a football player, and conditioned your body to withstand 150-degree heat, you'd probably kill yourself and several bystanders by the third turn.
Dishing out inertial forces of up to 5 gs, racing is one of the most grueling tests your body can endure while seated. Success demands a rare ability to stay calm and focused for hours while piloting a screaming land rocket mere inches from other victory-obsessed psychos. The best way to prepare is in an actual race car on an actual racetrack. But track time costs tens of thousands of dollars a day. To keep fit without bankrupting their backers, drivers spend hours in front of simulators, log hundreds of human-powered miles, and go turbo at the gym. Here's a look at the anatomy of an auto racer.