Do Race Car Drivers Perspire So Much During Races That They Never Need to Go to the Bathroom?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about auto racing and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the hockey urban legends featured so far.

AUTO RACING URBAN LEGEND: Race car drivers perspire so much inside the car during a race that they have no need to urinate.

Race car drivers are in their cars for about three hours at a time during a race.

Since they are in there for so long, there is often the question of, “Well, what if they have to go to the bathroom during the race?”

And a particular answer has popped up – that the car inside is so hot that the drivers do not need to urinate because they perspire so much that it is unnecessary.

While there is definitely SOME truth to this, it is not entirely true.

First of all, yes, it IS very hot inside a race car (although, of course, over the years people have done as much as they can to make it as cool as possible for the drivers).

And yes, drivers DO perspire a whooooooooole lot. Heck, some drivers are known to lose five pounds during a race, just due to perspiration.

So yes, for the most part, all that perspiration alleviates the need to go to the bathroom.

However, it does not eliminate it entirely.

In fact, the biggest way that drivers avoid having to go to the bathroom during a race is the simplest way imaginable – they almost always go to the bathroom right before the race begins.

But even with that, drivers occasionally DO end up needing to go during the race, and in that case, drivers are known to just urinate while driving.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. confirmed as much in an article on recently:

Well, you do go to the bathroom. Yeah, so if you can hold it, you hold it. If you can’t hold it, you go. It’s not too often that this happens because the car is real hot and you sweat a lot and you basically lose all your water weight through sweating. So your bladder never fills up. If you get nervous, if it’s a hot day, and you get real nervous before the race and you drank too much water because you think you are going to dehydrate, you typically end up having to go to the bathroom before you even get the green flag. You just have to be careful not to drink too much water. All the water you are going to lose and all the water that is in your body is something you put in there throughout the week. If you drink a lot of water right before an activity, it’s typically not going to help you. But sometimes you make that mistake and you just got to go. Just go it’s not a big deal.

So yeah, there definitely is a lot of truth in the notion that drivers perspire so much while driving that the need to urinate is alleviated, but a lot of folks think that it ELIMINATES the need, and it does not.

The legend is…


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