How to win at Karting
So, you’ve been invited to take part in a Karting event, you don't know what to expect and want to be ready?
We’ve put together some handy hints and tips to help you achieve your full potential on the race track.
We will have you on the top step of the podium spraying the champagne like an F1 star in no time!
You’ll need to be comfortable, wear comfortable clothes under your race suit and if it's raining remember to bring something to change into after the racing. A member of our team will issue you with your race suit and crash helmet. You’ll look like a real racing driver and most importantly be safe on the circuit too!
Know the rules
Every sport has a rule book and Karting is no different. The rules are in place for a reason. To keep the racing fair and to keep you and everyone else safe. Making contact, sliding or driving erratically or aggressively and generally ignoring the rules will not only slow you down, but will risk you being removed from the track. Don't worry about this too much before your visit, you will sit a pre race briefing before you’re let loose on the circuit.
Other drivers may not drive predictably – so you’ll always need to anticipate and look well ahead to spot (and react to) any obstacles, opportunities and signals from the marshals. Anticipate early, and you’ll always have the advantage.
Know Your Limits
Karting is a physically demanding sport. If you feel excessively tired or unwell, pull into the pits and let us know. The same goes for ability – if you don’t feel fully in control, back off the throttle before you spin off the track.
When you climb into the kart, sit back and relax. A good seating position will cause your legs to bend slightly at the knee with your feet just touching the pedals with your heel on the floor pan. Your feet should not be hovering in the air. Smaller drivers may need a padded insert to minimise movement in the seat. Your forearms should be parallel to your thy. Our karts have adjustable pedals and a member of the track team will ensure you are comfortable before you leave the pits.
Keep your hands fixed at roughly the 10 & 2 clock face positions. This utilises the biggest muscles in your arm and gives you the best feel and control when cornering. There is never a need to feed the steering wheel in a kart. Small precise steering input is all that is required
THROTTLE & BRAKE
When you press on the throttle pedal (on the right), power is transmitted directly to the rear wheels. Rear tyres also provide you with grip, so watch how much power you use – too much gas whilst cornering, and you’ll lose grip and therefore speed.
Kart throttles are very simple – the more you press, the more power you get. So you’ll need to use the power carefully and smoothly – get a nice clean drive out of the bend to spend maximum time driving forward and minimum time going sideways. If you start to slide, release the power to let the rear wheels regain some grip.
When you push on the brake pedal (on the left), the kart brakes engage on the rear axle.Unlike a car, the brakes on the kart are only on the rear wheels. It's just one of the reasons why you should be braking hard instead of softly when you approach a corner. But build up to this as stamping on the brake pedal will cause the rear wheels to lock and send you spinning off the track. When you approach the apex of a turn, you should gradually release the brake before coming off it and accelerating.
Braking efficiently will help you lap quicker! Your aim is to slow the kart down to a speed that the kart can corner without losing grip – in the shortest possible time. This means ‘squeezing’ on the brakes enough to slow the kart quickly, but not so hard that your brakes lock the rear wheels and the back steps out or you spin. You need to press hard enough to slow the Kart quickly but not so hard to lock the wheels.
When approaching a corner, generally speaking, you need to keep wide (keep left on the approach to a right-hand bend and visa versa). This is to make the corner entry smooth and reduce the angle you need to turn.
In a straight line, before turning in, lift off the power completely and start to apply the brake (never use your accelerator and brake at the same time)
Lift off the brakes, and turn in. The tighter the corner, the more you need to turn and the more you will need to slow the Kart down on the brakes. If you are still on the brakes at the apex, this means you need to brake harder or earlier.
Aim towards the apex - the closest point of contact to the corner - you want to be as close as you can to this point. Usually in the middle of the turn. Once you are at the apex you should be back on the throttle and driving out of the corner. If you are still slowing down (either on the brakes or by drifting sideways then your exit speed will be compromised)
As you pass the apex, start to straighten the wheel. Generally, you should start to aim towards the outside of the circuit again to let the kart run wide. Holding the Kart in will scrub speed and make the Kart slide/skid.
Start to feed the throttle back in as you straighten the wheel. As you get more advanced, you can ‘get your foot down’ earlier and earlier in the corner. Remember – your kart will go quickest in a straight line, not whilst turning, so you want to get that kart pointing smoothly out of the bend to maximise speed.
As you reach the outside of the track again, you can increase the power to full and get the steering straight ready for your approach to the next corner.
When it comes to overtaking rather than racing towards every corner, and throwing your kart into the bend try focussing on your exit velocity, rather than the entry speed. This will give you the straight-line speed required to make an overtake into a corner.
The easiest place to pass is on the inside before your opponent turns into the next bend. Set the kart up to give yourself the best chance of passing cleanly – you may have to move off your normal racing line. Chose the right corner. Everybody takes corners differently, watch the driver in front, and work out where you could be quick enough to pass.
Momentum is key. You’ve got to build up the momentum needed to get past someone on track, this means distancing yourself slightly from the drivers in front to allow space to build that up.
Anticipate others. Half the game is anticipating and exploiting other people’s mistakes. Be ready for them and you can make up some easy places.
If you see the karts ahead battling for position, be prepared for any eventuality. You may need to bide your time and wait for a good chance to pass. Turning a two-kart race into a three-kart race may end up with you all going slower!
Understeer - When you turn and the tyres slide before gipping. This can happen if you drive too fast with cold tyres or take too much speed into a corner and turn too sharply.
Oversteer - This is when the rear of the kart loses grip resulting in the back ‘stepping out’. This can happen if you accelerate or brake too hard, or turn the wheel too sharply. To correct the oversteer, gently lift off the pedals and steer into the slide.
This might sound obvious but always look well ahead. Looking at your Kart's nose cone won't give you enough time to process where to position your Kart, make an overtake, or take avoiding action should you need to. Generally speaking, where you look is where you end up so look ahead through the corner. Let your eyes create the path you are about to drive.
No one is an expert when they start something new. Generally, people perform at their best when they’re enjoying what they do, so don’t ‘overthink’ your driving – go out, enjoy it, and improve your driving one step at a time and your speed will come.
If you are looking to take your Karting to the next level why not check out our one 2 one training sessions with our expert instructors? Take a look here for more info