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AdministratorApril 14, 2020 at 6:52 pm
Understanding The Racing Line
Looking to beat the track record? Perhaps you’re simply wanting to smash your personal best. Whatever your reasons for wanting to go that little bit quicker, nailing the proper racing line is fundamental to a faster lap.
From Lewis Hamilton in Formula 1 to Andrew Jordan in the British Touring Car Championship, unlocking lap time is about looking at the track and working out what lines you have to take.
Remember: a fast lap is not just about going as fast as you can through every corner, it’s about the best combination of corners you can put together as a whole. You might be able to go through one corner flat out, but if that puts you off-line for the next one, your overall time through those two corners will be slower.
So read this guide and look at your track – how are you going to nail your lap?
The racing line
For fans of Top Gear’s ‘star in a reasonably priced car’, you’ll already know that most drivers like to argue about which is the best line to take, and sometimes, it really does boil down to personal preference. However, regardless of whether you prefer a wide line or an aggressive narrow move, the basics always remain the same.
The four main points to remember are:
- The braking point: the point at which you take your foot off the accelerator and apply the brakes. This point will differ from corner to corner, and it pays to set yourself little reminders to start braking – such as marks on the circuit or a certain mark on the wall.
- The turn-in point: the point at which you turn your steering wheel into the bend. Again, try to set a marker to remind you when exactly this point is or ask a member of your local TeamSport team to offer their expertise.
- The apex: the point at which your kart is at its closest to the inside of the corner. When aiming to nail the racing line, understanding the apex is crucial.
- The exit point: the point at which you have completed the corner, start thinking about the next one, and in certain circumstances, can accelerate away.
While each of the four aspects is hugely important in their own right, all four have to be strung together in order to truly nail the correct racing line.
Karting techniques cornering
There are three main types of corner on every track: complexes, sharp corners and long, fast corners. When it comes to the latter, the whole point of the racing line is to try and reduce the angle of a corner by as much as possible, a move that will then keep the kart moving in a faster, straighter line. As for sharper corners, the trick is to rotate the kart around the apex as quickly as possible before hitting the accelerator and speeding off.
Lastly, consider complexes. These are a group of corners that sit close together and require a compromise to be made on the racing line and an approach that is unique to the track.
How to find the racing line
To start with, let’s take the example of a simple right-hand-turn. As the approach the corner, place your kart towards the left-hand-side of the circuit, as shown in the video below. This will help to reduce the severity of the bend you’re about to tackle.
Next, keep an eye out for your marker. This will be your signal to brake or take your foot off the accelerator – a move that can be used to get the kart to step out, or simply reduce the speed it’s traveling at. In the video below, this particular section of the line is shown in red.
Concentrate as you approach the turn-in point before turning the kart’s steering wheel to the right. At this point, try to avoid using your brake altogether and limit the amount of throttle – doing this will help to reduce your chances of skidding and spinning out. In the video below, this section is shown in white.
Once you’ve hit the apex, apply some throttle to thrust the kart towards the exit point.
Mastering a chicane
Unlike standard bends, a chicane is where one turn follows another in quick succession. A few famous examples of this type of bend exist throughout the racing world, including Nouvelle at Monaco and the Corkscrew at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
The trick to understanding the racing line through a chicane is simple. In essence, the driver must try to reduce the severity of each corner by hitting the apex of the first bend – this will then allow him/her to maneuver themselves across the track in time for the second part of the bend before hitting the gas and powering towards the exit point.
When the driver reaches the turn in point, the kart moves towards the apex of the first bend. Shortly after this, the driver applies a small amount of throttle, straightens the steering wheel and then turns into the second part of the chicane.
Following this, the driver applies a small amount of throttle before speeding through the exit point.
The racing line through a hairpin
Throughout the world of motorsport, the hairpin is one of the most common types of corner. Simply defined as a ‘U-shaped bend’, they are the parts of the track that can make or break a lap time.
The trick to nailing a hairpin is to brake late, turn in and try to get the kart around the apex as quickly and as tightly as possible – all while maintaining enough speed to remain competitive. It may sound tricky and doing it right does take a certain level of skill and bravery, but nobody ever said karting was easy, right?
The driver once again approaches the hairpin from the opposite side of the track to the apex. Doing this not only reduces the angle of the corner, but it also allows more room for the kart to turn while traveling at speed.
As you’ll be going at a slower speed through a hairpin, the exit point arrives a lot sooner than normal – and although you might be tempted to hit the throttle as you hit the apex, you’d be much better applying the throttle slowly to avoid wheel spin.
In this instance, applying the throttle part way round the bend slingshots the kart out of the corner, meaning less time is spent getting back up to speed.
How to go around bends fast in a go kart
- Identify the Racing Line – The racing line minimizes the angle of a corner meaning that you can keep up your speed and accelerate out of the other side. Do your research on the track before the race to find the quickest lines.
- Brake Straight – Braking while turning can cause you to lose traction and spin out. The key is to brake whilst the car is pointing straight and turn into the corner at a reduced speed.
- Keep it Smooth – Any sharp braking or swerving will cause you to lose momentum
- Accelerate Past the Apex – Once you are past the apex you have a much straighter line to accelerate out of the corner and hit those top speeds.
- Build Up Your Speed – Once you’ve mastered the line and technique build up your speed each time.
Remember, although it’s great to brush up on the basic skills of karting while you’re at home, nothing beats the rush of stepping into a kart and having a go for real.
Let us know if you have any racing needs and we can help you get into the karting game!
AdministratorApril 14, 2020 at 7:04 pm
- Brake to maximum capacity at your braking point
- Move your vision to the apex point
- Turn-in your car at the turn-in point
- Make the apex of the idealracing line
- Begin to introduce the accelerator
- Open up steering to the corner’s exit point
When approaching a corner, you should take it from the opposite side to the bend. For example, if you’re coming up to a right-hand turn, position your kart as far left as possible (and vice versa for the opposite direction).
- This basically straightens your turn out as much as possible, so you’ll be able to take the corner faster and continue to accelerate through the bend, which keeps your kart more stable and powerful.
- You should slow as much as you need to until you hit your turning point and the inside apex – then put all your foot down and get ahead! This is commonly known as “slow in, quick out” – the more controlled you begin your maneuver, the more quickly you’ll be able to complete it.
As briefly mentioned above, it’s important to brake before you meet a turn. In fact, whenever you do a maneuver on the track that requires you to slow down and turn the wheel, you should be trail braking.
This means braking only when your kart is traveling in a straight line, and then beginning your turn when you’ve hit the appropriate speed. This keeps your kart more stable, meaning you’re able to accelerate harder throughout the actual turn, completing the whole maneuver much more quickly. Time to hit the track!
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