It doesn’t matter how quick you are in a kart, the harsh reality is there’s always someone faster. Imagine being the second fastest karter in the UK about 12 years ago when Lewis Hamilton was winning everything, not ideal.
Here’s 7 tips we think might help, well we hope.
1. DON’T LEAN FORWARD
As you probably know, car manufacturers spend millions trying to give a car perfect balance. As with cars, the kart’s centre of gravity is important when it comes to handling. If you lean forward, then you move the centre of gravity forward and risk upsetting the handling. Just settle back in to the seat. People assume leaning will help with acceleration, it might, but it upsets the handling.
In order to handle well, the kart chassis needs to flex. So just relax! Don’t be rigid.
3. DON’T LEAN ON BENDS
It seems counter intuitive I know. Leaning actually slows you down! The back wheels of a kart are locked, so the outside wheel has to go further than the inside. If you lean in, you actually counter the designed lift and make the corner more difficult to take.
4. EXIT IS VITAL
The speed you enter a corner in will usually dictate the exit speed. So if you go in fast you’ll come out slow, if you go in slow you’ll come out slow. Sort out your entry speed to ensure you have the best chance of exiting quickly.
5. SMOOTH KARTING
It might look like some F1 drivers are aggressive with the controls, however the best drivers are smooth. In a Formula One car, the braking and acceleration have to be smooth or the wheels lock on braking and spin on acceleration. It is exactly the same in a kart, smooth karting pays off.
6. THE LAST EXIT
The exit speed is more important than the entry speed as discussed prior. Where the exit of one bend becomes the entry to the next, it is critical that you leave the first bend in exactly the right place (and at the right speed) to enter the next one correctly to optimise the final exit speed.
7. THE OVERTAKE
The previous tips will increase your lap time and catch driver in front. However when it comes down to it you need to overtake. Driving smoothly, relaxing in the seat, leaning etc is all well and good, until you realise the driver in front is just as good. So you work out when your best chance is and drive past under braking hoping you can keep control of the kart, then its smooth sailing.