LIFESTYLE Adrenaline crush

5 min

The fascinating relationship between adrenaline and motor racing.

The sound of the engine purring. The rubber screeching against the gravel. The thirst for speed. It takes a special kind of human being to love all of these things, and then turn that passion into a racing career. That’s why when the lights go out, when the speedometer reads “insane miles per hour”, racing drivers are a species like no other. They have to be 100% focused on every turn, every straight, every lap time. They have to master their minds and their instincts. Only then will they master their cars. It can seem scary yet exhilarating, reckless yet refined.

But the complexities of racing are often boiled down to one familiar hormone: adrenaline. Racing drivers are called “adrenaline junkies”. Their experience and racecraft are often analyzed as an “adrenaline rush”. So, how big a role does adrenaline play in motor racing? Let’s find out.

Adrenaline 101

OK, a lot of you might already know what adrenaline is, but let’s do this one more time, for the people at the back. Adrenaline, also known as epinephrine, is a hormone that regulates visceral functions. It’s normally produced by the adrenal glands and a small number of neurons in the medulla oblongata. The hormone plays an important role in the fight or flight response. That fight or flight response is your physiological reaction to a stress-inducing event. Like the moment your speedometer goes over 100mph. Do you brake or do you keep going?

That familiar feeling

That feeling of excitement. When you can feel the blood coursing through your veins, your pupils dilate, your vision feels sharper, your pain threshold increases, you’re in the zone. That’s an adrenaline rush, my friend. Most of us have experienced it before. Especially when we’re behind the wheel. The adrenaline is being released to prepare your body to either flee or fight. So how does this affect racing drivers when they’re hurtling down a track at breakneck speed?

It’s the adrenaline, not the rush

When you’re constantly exposed to stress-inducing events, you’re less likely to experience an adrenaline rush. This is also true for racing drivers. As they gain experience and skills, they learn how to control their racecraft. Yes it’s still a high-risk sport, but it feels less dangerous when you’ve experienced it many times before. While drivers talk about adrenaline highs during a race, they’re not the same as adrenaline rushes. The drivers figure out how to manage their responses to the adrenaline kicking in thanks to their know-how and nous.

How big a role does it play in racing?

Adrenaline plays a pretty big role in giving racing drivers an edge. The hormone, combined with experience and skill, gives drivers the confidence to push themselves to the very edges of their sport. In fact, it can inspire them to find the fine line between greatness and recklessness. Racing divers embrace the fear and the adrenaline. That’s the key difference between great drivers and the rest of us speed lovers: the ability to judge the gap between an adrenaline high and an adrenaline rush.

A bold new watch, fuelled by adrenaline

If adrenaline were a watch, this would be it. TAG Heuer and Porsche have come together to create the TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Chronograph. It’s the ultimate symbol of their shared passion for motor racing. An adrenaline shot to your wrist, this limited edition timepiece was launched at the Porsche Driving Area Levi in Finland. To mark the occasion, the partners teamed up with brand ambassador, Hollywood star and racing driver, Patrick Dempsey. Dempsey took the watch and a Porsche out for an exhilarating test drive through ice and snow. The perfect way to celebrate a new chapter in the history of TAG Heuer and Porsche. 

TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Limited Edition