While most 16-year-olds are just beginning to envision what they want to do when they grow up, Josh Pierson has already begun to make motorsport history. Last year he won the Sebring 1,000, which was his debut race, making him the youngest ever race winner in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
In June he became the youngest driver ever to start at the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans. Pierson, who is signed to United Autosports and Team PR 1/Mathiasen, has five wins and 15 podiums to his credit. A native of Wilsonville, Ore. could be the reason endurance racing is reviving American interest, or he could be testing his talents in other racing disciplines. The only certainty seems to be that you will hear his name for many years to come.
Pierson recently unpacked some of his race day essentials for Muscle and Fitness as he prepares for this weekend's 8 Hours of Bahrain. From his Ogio Rig 9800, we covered everything from his peanut butter M&Ms to what he plays on his travel guitar during his free time.
- Ogio equipment bag: This is a race trip must for me. This one has over 200,000 air miles on it!
- Hans device: This is a neck brace, also known as my guardian angel for my safety. The Hans device attaches to my helmet and the straps go over the Hans. The head can still move a bit, but eventually it will stop. The Hans, the straps and the seat you are on absorb a lot of force as opposed to your neck. It saved many riders and is now required for racing.
- Knee pads: My knee pads are newer and also fireproof. I've had physical issues in the car and knee pads are a great way to find support in the car. Formula cars usually have a cut out in the middle to keep your legs in place so your legs don't move. With the prototypes in long-distance races, we have to change drivers. With the cutout in the seat, your legs move a lot and almost float in the car and get banged around. The knee pads support the legs and keep them in place better, which is a plus. It helps physically and my knees don't bruise anymore. I use them most of the time now and it's always nice to have them with me.
- HRX Fire Resistant Singlet and Pants: Luckily I've never had any fire issues and it's very rare, but it feels good to put on and I enjoy wearing it.
- HRX fireproof head sock: Fireproof headstocking that is in case of fire and fits under my helmet. Also, it keeps my helmet looking nice longer as I sweat more in the head sock
- Sparco gloves: These are my fireproof gloves. As you can see by now, my work involves a high risk of fire! This is one of my many pairs of gloves.
- Radio earbuds: TThese earbuds go straight into my helmet, which in turn goes into my car so I can communicate with my team during the race. It's an important line of communication that not many fans know about.
- Travel Guitar: I have always loved music and always travel with my guitar to use in my free time. I really enjoyed playing in the band when I was in school in person and now that I'm in the online school I couldn't continue doing this so I was looking for an instrument to learn and to play solo. I picked up the guitar and started teaching myself to play it. I travel with it so I can keep practicing and learning. We spend a lot of time in our trailers while waiting for our sessions, so it's a great way to while away the time and learn a new skill! I started putting together some chords and patterns that I learned, so it was really exciting to play with those techniques. I'm trying to emulate Marcin Patrzalek who plays fingerstyle guitar and a few other guitarists like Edward Ong and Eddie Van Der Meer. I find this sound really unique and cool.
- Additional suits, gloves and shoes: I have about seven pairs of gloves and three pairs of shoes for each race, just in case.
- OMP racing shoes: I love my OMP racing boots. They are fireproof and very thin so I can feel the pedals. Feeling your feet is extremely important when running.
- Checkered Bucket Hat: This has become my trademark over the years. I always wear a hat in the pits to protect myself from the sun. The plaid hat is very popular and will draw a few looks, but it's always with me. I have this hat and a wide brimmed bucket hat that I wear all the time.
- Peanut Butter M&Ms: These are my favorite sugar guns and I always have a bag with me – always.
- JP Racing decals: I always pack stickers and cards to give autographs to give to the younger fans as they always make them smile. It's amazing to see the next generation of fans. The younger ones don't even realize how much younger I am than most other racers.
- EOS Lip Balm: I bring lip balm because I try to stay hydrated when I'm in the car for hours. You'd be surprised how dehydrated your body can get just by sitting in the car.
- Racing suits from Sparco and HRX
- Stilo helmet with my signature globe on it
You can follow Josh on Instagaram at @josh_pierson_racing