Fast cars or Champions League football — which is more exciting?

Ahead of this weekend's Uefa Champions League final, a new survey has attempted to find out what gets the heart racing more.

Nissan teamed with Loughborough University to find out what gets the heart racing more; driving around in fast car or watching your team play football. Photo: YouTube screengrab
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From race tracks to Cristiano Ronaldo, fast cars and football have long been two of the calling cards of excitement for millions of people around the world.

If you have ever wondered which gets the blood pumping or leave you breathless more, help is at hand thanks to a new study released to coincide with Saturday’s Uefa Champions League final between Juventus and Real Madrid.

Nissan teamed up with scientists from Loughborough University in central England, well-known for its sporting expertise, to compare the excitement of watching Uefa Champions League matches and being a passenger in a Nissan GT-R.

The subjects of the study had their vital statistics monitored via wearable technology during live matches and around the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, home of Formula One’s Belgian Grand Prix.

The beautiful game won out in terms of the average heart rate increase (39 per cent versus 37 per cent); those who enjoyed a white-knuckle ride in the 565hp GT-R saw their average heart and breathing rates increase more than the sports viewers (100 beats per minute against 91bpm and 144 per cent against 140 per cent respectively).

“Throughout the two sets of experiments, the heart rates of football fans and Nissan GT-R passengers were broadly comparable, increasing at peak moments as you would expect — such as when a goal was scored or driving around a tight corner,” said Dr Dale Esliger from Loughborough University.

“The main differences we saw were the physiological responses of the passengers’ and football supporters’ breathing rates.

“During the football matches, we saw breathing rate increasing followed by a reduction in breathing rate, as fans held their breath during key moments of anticipation, thus demonstrating their excitement across the course of 90 minutes is more of a roller coaster of emotions.

“While for the GT-R passengers breathing rate consistently increases, suggesting a more sustained feeling of excitement.”