It is one week before the 2011 Grand-Am Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona and Craig Stanton has just completed a yearly training ritual. “I started this routine five years ago, now it’s just something I do. It’s like a dry run to get my body calibrated.”
Stanton creates a simulated race experience by incorporating fitness activities such as rowing, weight training, cycling and running into a schedule similar to what he will experience during the 24 Hours at Daytona. Each activity, which simulates the physical and mental exertion of a driving stint, is one and one-half to two hours in length. The onerous activity is then followed by three to four hours of rest. The training cycle is repeated for a full 24 hours.
Craig not only uses this as a physical training simulation, but also takes it as an opportunity to iron out his routine between driving shifts. “I don’t turn off my focus when I get out of the car. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the moment and misuse valuable time. Recovering and replenishing between stints is vital and should not be overlooked.
Nutrition, recovery and rest are essential to sustained performance in a 24 hour event. Craig would know, he has competed in the storied race for 12 consecutive years. He now has his routine down to a science; however, the science is constantly evolving. “I picked up on some things during my training event that I’m going to use at Daytona. The learning never stops.”
Over the years, Craig has competed in other endurance races such as The Mobil One 12 Hours of Sebring, Petit Le Mans, 25 Hours of Thunderhill, Machismo 500 go-kart race and The 24 Hours of Big Bear mountain bike race. He has achieved victory at all of these events, excluding the 12 Hours of Sebring.
Craig will again be driving for Magnus Racing, as the team enters its second full year of competition. Accompanying team owner John Potter, Craig will compete in the Rolex Sports Car Series GT class, utilizing a Porsche 997 GT3. Porsche factory drivers Marco Holzer and Richard Lietz will join the duo for the 24 Hours at Daytona.
Craig recorded video at regular intervals throughout his 24 hour training day, sharing insight on the process.