Josef Newgarden’s Physiology Test


Josef Newgarden (IndyCar Photo)
Josef Newgarden (IndyCar Photo)
INDIANAPOLIS — Josef Newgarden will have his physiological data monitored during this year’s Indy 500.

The Rising Star Racing Connected Driver program will utilize state-of-the-art personal biometric monitoring technology to capture and convey real-time updates on RSR driver Josef Newgarden’s physiology during the Indy 500 this May.

The Rising Star Racing organization was formed to ensure that deserving drivers get the opportunities they have earned and provides funding, support and guidance for select young drivers, helping to bridge the gap between talent and opportunity. Rising Star Racing conceived the connected driver initiative in part to raise the visibility of the Rising Star Racing program on the world’s greatest motorsports stage — Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Rising Star Racing will coordinate and manage the project at Indianapolis in cooperation with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing.

Significant resources are allocated by teams to maximize the technological performance of the Dallara IndyCar, with gains measured in the hundredths of seconds. However, there is considerably less research and investment made in the area with perhaps the most opportunity for incremental improvement — the driver.

While drivers undergo strict and comprehensive personal training programs, there is still much to learn about how the most crucial component in the drive train, the human element, affects performance. Maximizing this key component to performance is another central ambition for the connected driver program.

Utilizing proprietary and race-proven technologies from technology partners, the Rising Star Racing Connected Driver initiative will provide new insight and data about the physical aspects of what Indy car drivers experience as well as demonstrate their athleticism in real time. Because the data will be made available to the television broadcast partner, it could also be an opportunity for the television viewer to correlate how the race start, restarts, close calls or final laps to victory impact Newgarden’s stress levels and performance.

Newgarden’s physiological data will be collected with a bio harness with multiple sensors capable of monitoring heart rate, breathing rate, body temperature, g-force loading, and therefore effort, dehydration, heat stress and risk. That information will be transmitted via Bluetooth and transmitted back to a central monitoring PC via a digital signal as part of the current in-car telemetry system.

Just as engineers constantly monitor the race car’s vital signs, via real-time telemetry, the Rising Star Racing Connected Driver program will embed a sports medicine doctor with the SFHR team who will monitor Newgarden’s biometric data in real time from the team’s pit stand.

The doctor will be able to review the information and create performance objectives to respond to that data, from something as simple as reminding Newgarden to take on water to integrating pulmonary relaxation techniques.

“A great deal of my job as an IndyCar driver is to prepare myself physically for the extreme physical demands that we experience during a race,” offered Newgarden. “I think this project will be a very cool way for fans to see the kind of exertion we go through for two and a half to three hours during the Indianapolis 500. It will be interesting to compare my data with athletes from other extreme-intensity sports to see how it stacks up.”