Getting better at karting

Getting better at karting

Author
Discussion

renalpete

Original Poster:

45 posts

155 months

Sunday 16th August 2015
quotequote all
Hi,

I had a go at Caterham racing a couple of years ago and discovered that much as I love it, I can't afford to do it :-)

I've flirted with karting since then (mostly at MK) - I initially discounted it as it's not as exciting as car racing, but recently I've started to get more into it, just arrive+drive once a month, haven't gone for club100 or anything similarly serious yet. Generally I seem to be getting gradually faster over time, but am still middle of the pack at MK most of the time - there seem to be quite a lot of quick(er) drivers there!

One issue I have at MK is the lack of feedback - you try different lines, but unless you're right up behind someone, you (well, I) don't really know whether it's faster or not, as there is no laptimer. A couple of times I've been convinced I've found progressively better lines during the session, only to find the timesheet showing a gradual decline in pace...

I'm considering getting some tuition at MK - has anyone tried this, or do you have any other suggestions?

Debaser

6,178 posts

263 months

Sunday 16th August 2015
quotequote all
Lose weight.

Synchromesh

2,428 posts

168 months

Sunday 16th August 2015
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Is that DMAX?

NelsonP

240 posts

141 months

Sunday 16th August 2015
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Definitely try club 100. I've seen plenty of ex-car racers doing it, including the likes of Calum Lockie (sportscars) and Damon Hill.
A mate of mine used to race Renault Clios and he said that he still preferred the racing / racecraft in Club 100.

If it's good enough for them....

Alucidnation

16,810 posts

172 months

Sunday 16th August 2015
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My brother used to do kart racing in his younger years and he said there is nothing, nothing that could compare to doing 100mph in a kart, and thats coming from racing super bikes etc etc.


I believed him, a lot.

renalpete

Original Poster:

45 posts

155 months

Sunday 16th August 2015
quotequote all
Alucidnation said:
My brother used to do kart racing in his younger years and he said there is nothing, nothing that could compare to doing 100mph in a kart, and thats coming from racing super bikes etc etc.


I believed him, a lot.
I vaguely recall racing the 140bhp Caterham at Silverstone on the national circuit, and there being some type of kart racing on the bill aswell - the karts were putting in faster lap times than the caterhams! Probably higher running costs though...


I've had a couple of goes on DMAX carts at A+D, and thought about club100, was wondering whether I'd be better served by getting some kind of tuition or just getting stuck into racing - I generally found tuition worthwhile in the car...

GC8

19,910 posts

192 months

Sunday 16th August 2015
quotequote all
Debaser said:
Lose weight.
This.

Baryonyx

18,034 posts

161 months

Sunday 16th August 2015
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Losing weight will be at the top of the list.

renalpete

Original Poster:

45 posts

155 months

Sunday 16th August 2015
quotequote all
Baryonyx said:
Losing weight will be at the top of the list.
smile I don't want to be world karting champion, there must be more fun ways to go faster

GC8

19,910 posts

192 months

Sunday 16th August 2015
quotequote all
Im faster through the corners. People pass me on the straights.

Baryonyx

18,034 posts

161 months

Sunday 16th August 2015
quotequote all
renalpete said:
smile I don't want to be world karting champion, there must be more fun ways to go faster
All the usual stuff like shifting your weight in the seat to stop the unloaded wheel spinning up mid corner, overlapping brake and throttle where you can get away with it to keep the engine on the boil, leaning the tracks and picking the best lines and driving defensively to block overtakes, will do little if you're 15 stone and your closest competitor is 10 stone...

Mr Tidy

22,792 posts

129 months

Monday 17th August 2015
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renalpete said:
smile I don't want to be world karting champion, there must be more fun ways to go faster
Haha, finally I can benefit from not fitting the powerfully-built company director PH stereotype!!!!laugh
ND

You could try less Haribo, and/or chuck some money and/or a turbo/remap at it but weight loss may be the cheapest option.

JBR Kiwi

17 posts

106 months

Monday 17th August 2015
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Having used to race karts nationally I can give a bit of advice, however without seeing how you drive, its a little difficult to help you make the big difference you are probably looking for.

The first thing I can suggest is to be brutally honest with yourself regarding your driving style. Do you feel that you are fighting the kart when you are driving, do you feel tired and achy after each session. If the answer is yes then you are being way too aggressive with the steering and throttle, costing yourself a huge amount of speed and time going onto a straight. The fact that your times are suffering the longer the session goes on could mean a lack of fitness which means you are trying harder to make up the time, leading to overdriving the kart. Seat time is important to help with this but general chest/arm exercises will help a fair bit.
Remember smoothness is key to speed and time improvements. I was never a particularly flashy style of driver who liked to chuck the kart into corners but my times were a lot faster and more consistent then those that did drive like that.

If you can get a printout of your times, then break the lap down into 3-4 segments and try focusing on improving whatever sector as best as you can. You'll be able to see if what you are trying is then making a difference on your lap times.


If you are serious about wanting to get someone to help you, then see if there is a track expert available, not just any old employee. Terrence at Evenflow was someone who was recommended back when I used to compete, as they would really go over everything and help you understand what you are doing and why.

If you have any other questions then just let me know and I'll try and help



xRIEx

8,180 posts

150 months

Monday 17th August 2015
quotequote all
Baryonyx said:
renalpete said:
smile I don't want to be world karting champion, there must be more fun ways to go faster
All the usual stuff like shifting your weight in the seat to stop the unloaded wheel spinning up mid corner, overlapping brake and throttle where you can get away with it to keep the engine on the boil, leaning the tracks and picking the best lines and driving defensively to block overtakes, will do little if you're 15 stone and your closest competitor is 10 stone...
You know most indoor karts don't have diffs, nor front brakes? They have a solid axle so rear wheels speeds are identical - at least one wheel has to slip in order for them to go round corners; the chassis is designed to flex to allow the inside wheel to lift.

Also, overlapping brake and throttle will only have the effect of heating the brakes quicker: the karts are direct drive with a centrifugal clutch and a brake on the rear axle; if you slow the axle speed, you slow the engine speed, there's not really anything you can do about it. All you'll do by double-pedaling is run the risk of having no brakes.

The key is keeping up corner speed. It's all very well blocking overtakes, but if you lose too much momentum it takes a long time to build it up again. It's best to pick a line to maximise corner speed even if it means losing out on one corner. The chances are the overtaking kart has had to scrub off more speed to make the corner (because they've taken a less optimal line) so you can pass them again very quickly, either before or at the next corner in most cases. Inexperienced drivers are always surprised when they've gone past you and think they've got one over, only for you to drive past them moments later with a significant speed differential.

As the karts only have one gear and a centrifugal clutch, the faster the engine is spinning the faster you'll accelerate. Maintaining speed obviously keeps you quicker than if you'd braked, but also provides a smidge more acceleration.

Shortest lines are certainly not the quickest. Look at 125GP racing lines for inspiration, wide and sweeping is the order of the day.

NelsonP

240 posts

141 months

Monday 17th August 2015
quotequote all
Club 100 and Dmax are similar spec karts - key difference being that Club 100 are direct drive (which means if you spin off, you wait for pusher). Whilst this seems a pain it actually creates a better class of driving (because you really don't want to get tangled up in an incident). But I have to admit I always did quite like the idea of being able to push a button to restart my kart after a spin!

Min driver weight is generally 85kg so if you are below that you will need to add weight to the kart (lead). If you are over that you just need to drive better than everyone else (not easy). Club100 grids are generally within a second of the front row because the kart maintenance is great.

And getting the rear inside wheel into the air is key to getting the kart turned in. Both Dmax and Club100 have solid rear axles and rely on front wheel castor to lift the inside rear. This is the 'differential'. Basic but effective.