The second race of the 2022 European Le Mans Series in Imola did not go as Fabio Scherer would have liked. Nevertheless, he draws a…/Read
Marc Leuenberger has been Fabio Scherer’s personal trainer for eight years. The 38 years old from Aargau knows his protégé like no other. But yet it is always a new challenge to push the professional race driver to the maximum. Especially in 2021, when Scherer has been driving for the United Autosports team in the FIA World Endurance Championship. There, the races (with driver changes) usually last between six and eight hours – and not just under 60 minutes as before. Looking forward to the season’s highlight, the 24 Hours of Le Mans (21st/22nd August), the training methods, which were already changed at the beginning of the season, have been adapted once again.
“More endurance instead of strength” is Leuenberger’s motto. That’s why Scherer has been intensifying the endurance program for a few weeks. “There are more units – and they are longer,” explains Leuenberger. “But the emphasis is on more often, not more intensively. Fabio has been cycling more. And his jogging units are also longer. But he has to do his training sessions in such a way that he stays within the given pulse range. Regular checks show me if he’s sticking to the guidelines.”
But more intensive endurance units are only one aspect with regard to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Life kinetics is the magic word for another apsect to which Leuenberger devotes a lot of attention. The aim is to build new synapses. “With this training we increase the ability to concentrate,” explains Leuenberger. “The focus of this training lies on reaction, expansion of the field of vision and improving the ability to make decisions. Fabio often has to make decisions in milliseconds in his race car. We try to simulate such scenarios.”
With a view to Le Mans, where the race is also held at night, this training is particularly important. Leuenberger therefore goes the extra mile for his protégé. “We also do these training sessions under pre-load. That means: I get his heart rate up and then I demand the same concentration skills from him as in rest mode. This method is meant to simulate situations like Fabio might experience at Le Mans after two or three stints, when his body has already been stressed several times.”
To top it Leuenberger also does “night exercises” with Scherer. In plain language, this means that Scherer has to perform as well as he does during the day after a short warm-up phase. To push him to his limits, Leuenberger let him do numerous laps in a go-kart before going to bed.
But a 24-hour race is not only about getting body and mind up to operating quickly. The reverse process should also be practiced. “Fabio needs a break after a stint. That means he has to learn to cool down,” says Leuenberger. “I made him a meditation instruction for that. It is not absolutely necessary that he falls into a deep sleep at night. But body and mind need relaxation in order to be fully productive again afterwards.”
Leuenberger is also in demand when it comes to nutrition. “It is important that Fabio’s carbohydrate stores are already filled three to four days before the race in Le Mans,” explains Leuenberger. “We’ll certainly also rely on the experience of his team United Autosports. The important thing is that the fluid balance is right.”
How it will be after the race remains to be seen. “Monday after the race will certainly be marked by tiredness and exhaustion. Probably for me, too,” Leuenberger grins.
By the way: If you want to benefit from Leuenberger’s training qualities like professional race driver Fabio Scherer, you can try it out yourself. You can find all the necessary information at www.marcleuenberger.ch