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Race Drivers Match Fighter Pilots

1 July 2005

Race Drivers Match Fighter Pilots

Racing and rally car drivers are the equal of Fighter pilots when it comes to multi tasking, tests at the Otago University's Hugh Performance Laboratory in the School of Physical Education have shown.

Students at the second NZ MotorSport Academy, who completed their week-long course today, were tested on a device known as the Wombat which requires that they multi-task in a high pressure environment.

"Two of the nine students, both girls, exceeded the performance standard for pilots and another two equalled the standard," chairman of the MotorSport New Zealand Scholarship Trust Steven Kennedy said. "The others were also close to it.

"This was just one of many high stress tasks the students were expected to perform over the five and a half day programme. Staff at the Institute of Sport at Dunedin University expressed amazement at how well the students performed under the sustained pressure of the twelve hour days of demanding physical and mental activity.

"MotorSport New Zealand is indebted to the work put in by the NZ Academy of Sport South Island and the University in organising the programme which is believed to be the only one of its type for young drivers anywhere in the world.

"This is the programme's second year and researchers are steadily building a profile of young New Zealand racing and rally drivers. Innovations this year included the nine students having to work in teams, as well as compete with each other, for points throughout the entire programme.

"One of their toughest assignments was a teams race up Dunedin's famed Baldwin Street, the steepest street in the world.

"Overall points winner for the week was Palmerston North's Brendan Hartley with first runner up Emma Gilmour (Dunedin) followed by Wellington's Ben Harford. The winning team was Leanne Barnes (Auckland), Harford and Hartley."

The final results will be announced to the students at a Graduation Dinner tonight.

ENDS

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