The Neuropsychophysics of Competitive Driving
It is a popular belief that racing drivers possess extraordinary
attributes combining hand-eye coordination, reaction time, and courage, whereas literature specific to competitive driving
emphasizes the overlapping concepts of a driver’s mechanical sympathy and reliable reporting of functions to his/her
crew. Mechanical sympathy refers to a driver’s ability to feel fine operations of the vehicle
that include aberrations in function (such as changes in acceleration, braking rates, or vibration). Perhaps
the most important skill within mechanical sympathy is traction sensing: an ability to determine when the limits of adhesion
are being exceeded at each wheel. High skill in traction sensing allows a driver to ride an ever-changing
edge of balance between loss of time and loss of grip.
of the attributes mentioned above are measurable aspects of human performance.
Much of our perception of the physical
world is obtained through kinesthetic data received from our sense of touch (including proprioception, or the perception of
movement and spatial orientation from sensors within the body) and from the visual system. These sources
of information allow us to interpret information and decide how to act upon it.