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Tagliani ready for season opener
Unlike the majority of the drivers who will be competing in the Vegas Grand Prix this weekend, RSPORTS driver and Las Vegas resident Alex Tagliani has a unique advantage in preparation for the Champ Car Season Opener by taking his training to the streets.  

Most people do not think of race car drivers as athletes. That by driving a fancy race car around for two hours on a Sunday is more of a joy ride then an actual test to the physical and mental endurance one might have.  

However, that is not true; drivers are taking on unbelievable challenges every time they get behind the wheel. In each corner of a race track, Tagliani’s body is exposed to three-times the force of gravity. A driver’s steering effort is the big thing. Not only do they have to control the 1800 pound race car, but they also have to turn it. Imagine when a driver is turning left that off to the right of the steering wheel is a one-foot bar that has 35 pounds hanging off the end. That is the kind of force they are working against when turning the wheel. To get a feeling of what kind of speed these guys are running, on an average Champ Car street course, a Champ Car driver is negotiating a corner that average people would take at 20-30 mph at 70 mph.  

In terms of a workout, the average driver will sustain a heartbeat of 150 beats per minute, equaling the most vigorous part of a workout, and they maintain that average consistently for two hours. The beating they take during a race is strong enough to break ribs if a driver is not properly secured in the cockpit. A driver can lose 8-10 pounds during a race, which is from the loss of water and the energy (fat) that they burn.  

The Montreal-native, Alex Tagliani, knows the importance of physical and mental health, and that having a solid combination of the two can lead to success in the Champ Car World Series.  

“I do a lot of training, with the primary focus on weight lifting, cycling, running and in-line skating,” said Tagliani. “Of course, I eat healthy and take care of my body both physically and mentally so that I am in prime form when I climb into the racecar.”  

As a member at the local 24-Hour Fitness gym in the Las Vegas area, he also takes his workouts outside. “The weather here in Vegas is very similar to the hottest places that we race at. So I take advantage of that and train outside as much as I possibly can so that I am ready for any kind of warm condition, plus biking in the mountain where we reach altitude of 5000 feet it’s very good for the cardio.  

The Champ Car World Series will make its return to the Las Vegas area this week for the first of 16 races in 2007. Although the series is familiar with the city from its previous competitions at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, a temporary street course at Caesars Palace and another street course at Stardust International Raceway, this visit leaves many unknowns to the Champ Car teams and drivers as it will be the first race on the streets of downtown Las Vegas.  

To get a feeling of the strength and endurance that Tagliani needs going into this event, here is an example of what he will be facing during the race on Sunday. During the duration of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, Tagliani will have about 37 gear changes per lap.  He will exceed 150 MPH four times during each lap.  He will go from over 150 to about 60 MPH four times during a lap, doing so each time in about 3.2 seconds. That is a lot of work in two hours worth of time.  

As a resident, this track is right up his alley both literally and figuratively.  The seven year resident decided to combine his physical and mental preparations by taking his training to the Las Vegas streets where the 2.440-mile temporary street circuit consisting of 12 turns lies. The track encompasses a route that circumnavigates WorldMarketCenter, Fremont Street and the downtown casinos.  

“I headed out over the weekend to continue my physical fitness training, while taking some time to learn the race track,” said Tagliani. “It was a unique experience, getting to learn first-hand the layout of the new circuit we will be competing on this weekend. It’s going to be a very demanding race track both physically and mentally.  

With having the chance to get out on the track and have a look, while training, is great because while you are working out you can prepare yourself mentally for track. I feel more prepared then ever, and I just can’t wait to get started on Friday morning.”  

Tagliani couldn’t be more pleased to start off the season in his own backyard.  

“It has been a busy winter for me. I have barely spent time at home, in Las Vegas, because I was doing so much traveling trying to secure sponsorship and a solid ride for this Champ Car season. So I look forward to having this first race in Las Vegas so that I can actually stay at home for a little while!  

But all the hard work and traveling has paid off. I have a great ride with RSPORTS, it is great to be back working with so many familiar faces and Paul Gentilozzi, along with the addition of getting to work with Dan Pettit and Justin Wilson and all the great people at RSPORTS. I have a great engineer, Chris Lerch, in which I have a lot of confidence in and I think we are both on the same page in terms of what we want to accomplish this season I really hope to make him proud, he deserves it. We have a great sponsor in LXN2 and Lexington Energy Services. Along with all of my hard work and the hard work of the Victory lap program in my hometown of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, we were able to get support from Procter & Gamble, Wal-MartCanada and their partners. With all of this, I really believe that we can contend for the championship this year, and the support and confidence these people have expressed make me even more motivate to succeed. Being associated to a charity and raising money while driving is definitely a good combination to raise the motivation of everyone at RSPORTS.”

  The Las Vegas Grand Prix will take place this weekend, April 5-8. The race will be broadcasted live on NBC at 1:00 p.m. locally, 4:00 p.m. EST.
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