Everyone envies the driver who stands on the top step of the podium after a long, hard-fought race. But how exactly did they get there?
Perhaps they had more experience than you? Perhaps they used to race karts as a kid, who knows?
All you can know for sure is that if you’re looking to cross the finishing line ahead of your mates the next time you hit the track, following the ten tips listed below will certainly give you an advantage.
Don’t Lean in
As you approach each corner, avoid leaning your body towards the apex as doing this will place more weight over your inside wheels – exactly the opposite of what’s needed. Instead, sit square in the seat and keep the weight distributed over the center of the kart.
Once you’ve been shown your kart, adjust your seat using the lever under the front of your seat. The seating position needs to be comfortable and most importantly, close enough to the pedals to achieve full throttle.
Hold the line
Following the racing line is the surest way of navigating the track in as quick a time as possible. Drive like a pro and learn how to tackle every corner – including chicanes and hairpins.
One thing that all successful racers are great at is maintaining their speed throughout a race. To emulate the likes of Hamilton and Vettel, keep things as smooth as possible, using both under-steel and over-steer to your advantage.
A key point to remember is to ensure that you are braking in the right place. If you brake too late, or too hard, you will compromise your line and speed through a corner. The exit is where you want to be going fast. Remember, slow in = fast out.
One at a time
As well as causing spin-outs and slower lap times, simultaneously pressing down on the brake and accelerator can even cause some karts to cut-out altogether. To maintain a competitive pace, stick to using just the one pedal at a time.
Be smooth with the pedals, and feel for the grip. More throttle does not necessarily equal more speed, particularly on the exit of slower corners. Don’t be afraid to feather the throttle if the rear steps out on the exit of a corner. Keep the back end behind you.
Steal the lead
There’s nothing more annoying than a slow driver blocking your path and preventing you from staking your claim for a place on the podium. Master the art of overtaking and boss your way to the front of the grid by reading our guide to overtaking here.
Alternatively, why not study the driver in front over the course of a few laps and assess their strengths and weaknesses. Once you think you’ve found an area they’re particularly slow through, be sure to take advantage!
Considering force equals mass x acceleration (F=MA), you may want to consider lightening your kart’s load by wearing light clothing. For this, think t-shirts and trainers, rather than heavy knits and work shoes.
In the world of racing, fortune favors the brave. – but that’s not to say you should be speeding into every bend like a maniac. Instead of leaving your braking until the very last moment, try being as smooth as possible around the track – you’ll be amazed at how much of a difference this makes.
Nice and easy
The law of physics dictates that to successfully steer around a corner, you’ll need to apply some force to keep the wheels pointing in the right direction. With this in mind, you may think that gripping the wheel like your life depends on it is the way to go – when actually, the opposite is true. Keep a loose grip and stay relaxed, the last thing you want is for your wrists to ache two laps into a race.
It may sound daft, but you stand a much better chance of winning if you’re enjoying yourself out on the track. Try to keep a clear head at all times and avoid things like anger and stress, as both could lead to you making some rash decisions out there!