Wednesday, Dec 6 02:38pm
AUTHOR: Sponsored: Formula Fit

Formula Fit: Training the next generation of racers

Alastair Wootten is taking years of on-track experience off-track to give up-and-coming drivers a fighting fit chance to be race winners.


A graduate of the Speedsport Scholarship, a former speedway racer, and now a weekend warrior in the TraNZam Challenge, 27-year-old Wootten has plenty of experience behind the wheel.



Having spent years in karting, Formula First, Formula Ford and the Toyota Racing Series, Wootten saw an opportunity to use his own experience to help other drivers understand race fitness.


Initially Wootten wanted to be a professional racing driver, but opportunities didn’t transpire the way he’d hoped. Instead, he got qualified at Auckland University of Technology as a Strength and Conditioning Coach, began working at the Elite Motorsport Academy, and combined his racing background to start his own business—Formula Fit.


Based out of Silverdale in Auckland, Formula Fit is New Zealand’s only motor racing specialised high performance centre open almost every day of the year.



Wootten opened the facility a little over six years ago with a core focus on helping racing drivers, but the scope of the business has since expanded to helping other athletes and the general public.


“I saw there was a potential niche to have a gym dedicated for racing drivers,” Wootten said.


“Things have evolved and we’ve moved into a bigger premises not only to accommodate the general public but also the motorsport athletes on two or four wheels.”




Wootten works directly with racers from various disciplines like single seaters in the Toyota Racing Series, Speedway, motocross, and superbikes.


Wootten’s work isn’t confined to New Zealand. With many Kiwi drivers, including rising sportscar racing star Jaxon Evans, receiving remote support at race weekend or training at home.




Formula Fit provides drivers with programmes tailormade for them. With remote assistance Wootten can keep track of where athletes are at with their training and provide help when needed.

An online platform notifies Wootten when drivers are logged in. The software tells the drivers what they’re doing, like strength and conditioning, and how many sets, reps and intensity to work at—essentially a virtual personal trainer.




“We provide race weekend support in terms of nutrition, hydration, pre-race mental and physical drills before drivers get into the car.


“A lot of the machinery that we have here does traditionally look like most pieces of equipment you’ll see in any sort of functioning gym, but at the end of the day it does come down to the trainers or what is put into the programme or workout as well.


“Given my own experience from my own motor racing I understand the requirements of what the drivers need behind the wheel. That helps a lot.


“It’s not something you can just go to university and come out qualifying in terms of training race car drivers, so I’m using my own experience of racing for 20-years to help other drivers.”




Motor racing is undoubtedly a physical sport that requires physical and mental fitness to perform at an athlete’s peak ability.

Some of Formula Fit’s current athletes:
  • Jaxon Evans (Australian GT & Carrera Cup)
  • Hunter McElrea (Australian Formula Ford)
  • Graeme Smythe (Australian GT)
  • Reid Harker (Toyota Racing Series)
  • Jordan Baldwin (Toyota 86 Championship)
  • Avalon Biddle (World Superbike)
  • Shayne Allach (Speedway)
  • Sam Waddell (Speedway)
  • Tayne Lemon (Jetski Pro-Light World Champion)

A session at Formula Fit is intense. Drivers are physically and mentally tested with drills designed to simulate racing conditions and stimulate the mind.


“With the general public it’s things like how much weight you can lift, or how long you can go for or at what intensity or what your aerobic or anaerobic thresholds are. Whereas for the drivers there are so many more variables that are involved when a driver or rider is racing.



“Not only are we worried about their conditioning, but also their reaction times and mental alertness as well. Everything happens so quickly, so the faster they can react to different scenarios they’ll perform better.


“All the sensory inputs whether it’s seeing, hearing or touching, the more fine tuned we can make those inputs and using pieces of equipment like the fit light or the Senaptec Strobe Glasses where we can impair an athlete's vision or hearing to overstimulate other inputs allows us to challenge athletes in different ways.




“It’s not just about lifting tin or trying to blow yourself out in the cardio department.”


Wootten said the setup in the gym isn’t too dissimilar to that found in any other gym, but there are other elements of the facility which are specifically for the athletes.


“There are a couple of pieces of equipment that we have here that the only other organisation in the country that has it is the All Blacks.


“To sort of compare some of the stuff we do here… we do blood lactate testing with reaction training. You could say we’re on the forefront of high performance sport in New Zealand.”
For more information about Formula Fit visit formulafit.co.nz or contact Alastair on formulafitnz@gmail.com