The office of a modern racecar driver is a sophisticated, purpose-built environment, where every single component has a specific performance or safety benefit.

Unlike a road car, to get started, a V8 Supercar driver like Steve Johnson doesn't just turn the ignition key.

Instead, Steve must be securely strapped into a six-point harness, flick the main switch, lift the kill switch protector, activate the ignition control and hit the start button to bring his Shell Helix Falcon to life.

Ahead of him, and in addition to all the regular car controls (gear shift, pedals, indicators, windscreen wipers), Steve's V8 Supercar high tech steering wheel allows him to select information options displayed on a dash-mounted screen.

This display provides information about engine revs, water temperatures, oil and fuel pressures, brake bias, and a breakdown of corner, exit and road speeds.

According to Johnson: "That's a lot to process while travelling at speeds in excess of 200 kays."

Along with the information supply, adjustments to the car itself can be made in the cockpit to suit changing track conditions, tyre wear and fuel loads.

Adjustable sway bar levers are used to stabilise and stiffen the chassis, keeping the car balanced through turns.

Working at its optimum, this allows the driver to maintain greater corner speed.

Brake bias adjustment is another essential mechanism, shifting the bias from rear to front brakes as the fuel lightens in the tail end of the car, a big issue in an endurance event such as Bathurst.

"If you get your brake bias wrong, you'll snatch a brake, lock up your wheels and ruin your race in an instant," Johnson says.

Knowing that he can't just hit the "undo" button in a race, every moment requires intense concentration because the slightest error could lead to serious re-arranging of his office space.

Prolonged exposure to fumes when strapped into his BA Falcon racer could result in driver fatigue and a loss of performance.

So, behind his seat is a specially developed 3M air filter system that connects to Steve's helmet, providing him with safe, breathable air.

Hydration is also paramount for keeping the driver fit and alert, and in the case of the Shell Helix Falcon, there is also a dry-brake system to allow for fast fill of the drink bottle during pit stops.

A chrome moly metal roll cage defines the boundaries of his work space, with different gauge tubing used to ensure maximum strength and minimum weight.

Clearly, the V8 Supercar cockpit is a complex environment where each component plays an integral role in the overall function of the racecar.

"What you can't see are the noise, the dust and fumes, and the violent ride that are all part of a day's work for every V8 Supercar driver," Johnson says.



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