4 stroke driving tips/techniques?

I initially picked up an lo206 kart to help coach my 5 year old son who’s running kid kart but one thing led to another and here I am turning laps while he takes breaks! I’ve brought my lap times down about 2-3 seconds from when I started but I can’t seem to nail down a driving style that works well. I initially drove like I would a car, fast trail braking in followed by gas asap, the kart does not seem to like trail braking up to the apex, loses all momentum. After playing with braking steering etc I’ve found my fastest lap times are hard, late as possible straight line braking with gas usually way before the apex. I find myself either being chattered in the kart through turns or sliding out of exits. Any advice would be appreciated. This is my best lap to date at willow springs.

Video by any chance?

No video unfortunately, I’m going to get a mount soon.

Chattering is likely asking too much laterally of the kart. Round the apex a bit. Come at it a little less quick so that you don’t have to throw the kart around.
Sliding is the same, just worse. Back it off on entry.

I haven’t really hoofed a real car at speed much so I can’t relate the two. But, lo206 and similar 4-strokes are about maintaining revs at all costs. You can’t afford to drive em like a car as your acceleration is wanting (and you have no gears to pull).

Basically, you want to be off throttle as little as possible and keeping revs up constantly. Braking becomes a matter of how short can I keep the braking (lost revs).

Lo296 is gonna be delicate turning that tries to keep as much momentum as possible. So, less aggressive everything… braking, turn in, throttle etc. you are trying to find the limit but smoothly as opposed to sharp and quick.

I did notice that my faster lap times felt like they were slower, less dramatic than my slower lap times. The key did seem to respond well to a smooth entry. As far as the lateral grip, that may be it, I did notice at times it seemed like the entire kart not front or rear would skate out sideways, almost like excessive body roll in a car. So is it recommended to not brake so hard and late with a 4 stroke?

Late and hard braking is fine if you can release smoothly (and quickly) and not have kart upset. It will take some getting used to.

You cannot “power out” in a non gearbox kart so you can’t afford to overslow under heavy braking.

I’d try to be less focused on braking and more on rolling momentum. So yeah, brake softer earlier till you figure out how quick it can go round the bend without hopping or sliding.

Once you’ve got the entry speed figured out, then work on getting the braking harder and later, if necessary. For now though, look for a balanced entry, even if it feels a bit slower. If done right, your exit will make up for it in that it’ll be faster and likely link up better to the next turn.

You want quiet tires. No sliding. No hopping. A kart driven over its limits looks and feels productive but isn’t.

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Exactly how it felt. Thanks for the wisdom!

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You are welcome. :camera_flash::man_dancing::motorcycle::racing_car::checkered_flag:

Final thought. As you mess around, look to partial throttle reduction as an alternative to just binary full on throttle or on full on brakes.

Modulation of throttle may be useful to play with. Get back on gas, even partial, as soon as possible.


Four-stroke racing is similar to 2 stroke in that the smoother the hands the faster the driver tends to be. This is even more important in four-stroke applications because you don’t have the power to make up for mistakes that a two-stroke can recover from. Rolling momentum is key as said above by @Bimodal_Rocket. Braking is more for getting weight back on the front end and help the kart turn, not really for slowing down in a four-stroke IMO. Smooth movements on the wheel and with your feet as well. Modulation of both pedals is another thing to experiment with on a practice day. Something else to think on is how much the steering wheel is moving. It should be slow and smooth, and let the kart work for you. If your hands are moving too much you can move your hands up on the wheel and use your shoulders to steer the kart. It will help slow your inputs and make you smoother overall. It can also help with your feeling of what the kart is doing. Just my 2 cents.

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@Ronaldo_H This articulates the idea very well. Does this make sense to you?

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Makes total sense, I haven’t been concerned with weight transfer I have been just trying to haul ass.

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