Dino ZamparelliBeing quick behind the wheel of a racing car is only one element required in a modern, professional racing driver's toolkit. Fitness, media savvy and diet are all key parts of the whole package for a driver looking to make their way in motorsport. We sat down with our own pro driver Dino Zamparelli and talked diet ahead of this weekend's races at Snetterton . . .

1). Why is a good diet essential for a racing driver?

Well for me it’s important to have a fit and healthy lifestyle in general because I like to jump into a racing car knowing that I’m feeling fresh and confident. If I eat badly, then I can only expect my body to be bad! So for that reason, I try and keep a 80-20% balance as sometimes you do need to eat some naughty stuff that you like! But in general I love feeling fit and healthy so I’m ready to attack the race weekend!

2). How does being a vegetarian effect your dietary choices?

Well it means I have fewer options of course. I have perhaps less varied meals but I enjoy the challenge of trying to find different healthy things to prepare and eat. It’s not always easy, and sometimes I get bored of it...but in general I really enjoy it and other than the comfort of having a burger, I don’t think it affects me too much!

3). Explain your typical eating pattern on a race weekend

I’ll start each morning with some carbohydrates...so some cereal with yoghurts and perhaps an omelette and a bit of fruit. This usually gives me the right energy for the morning session that we have. For lunch I’ll grab some more carbohydrates, so pasta, rice...that sort of thing. I tend not to over-eat during the day, as there’s nothing worse than feeling full in a racing car! I’ll have some snacks of energy bars and bananas through the day to keep me going. In the evening I might carry on with pasta/rice, but accompany it with salads, soups and vegetables! It’s all about feeling energetic and ready to go on a race weekend. 

4). How do you ensure that you get the same amount of protein as non-vegetarians?

I eat a lot of soya, eggs, salad beans...that sort of thing. I try and make up enough protein with those and of course some vegetables. Generally I think I have enough things to eat in the week to make up for the protein you might find in fish/meat.

5). If you had to give one piece of advice to fellow vegetarian racers, what would it be?

If someone is struggling, then just plan out all the foods you like to eat and make sure you’re getting enough carbs/proteins/fats and sugars in your diet over a race weekend. Research what stuff you can eat and if the circuit doesn’t offer it, then either pre-prepare the meal or buy it fresh somewhere local.