Differences between racing and non-racing drivers: A simulator study using eye-tracking

Peter M. Van Leeuwen, Stefan De Groot, Riender Happee, Joost C.F. De Winter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
170 Downloads (Pure)


Motorsport has developed into a professional international competition. However, limited research is available on the perceptual and cognitive skills of racing drivers. By means of a racing simulator, we compared the driving performance of seven racing drivers with ten non-racing drivers. Participants were tasked to drive the fastest possible lap time. Additionally, both groups completed a choice reaction time task and a tracking task. Results from the simulator showed faster lap times, higher steering activity, and a more optimal racing line for the racing drivers than for the non-racing drivers. The non-racing drivers’ gaze behavior corresponded to the tangent point model, whereas racing drivers showed a more variable gaze behavior combined with larger head rotations while cornering. Results from the choice reaction time task and tracking task showed no statistically significant difference between the two groups. Our results are consistent with the current consensus in sports sciences in that task-specific differences exist between experts and novices while there are no major differences in general cognitive and motor abilities.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0186871
Number of pages19
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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