Best Practices for accumilating to different tracks

Curious to hear from folks what are the best ways to tackle a difficult track? I’ll explain.

My home track is long/ sweeping track with maybe two elevation changes. In a 206, your flat out 85% of the time with the exception of 2-3 chicanes that require moderate braking.

Today I ran a track about 3 hours away. It has 2-3 elevation changes, but its a tight track and it is also banked in several places, and I found the banking sections of the track were just kicking my butt today. I thought chicanes were tricky as a newer guy, but I felt like I was getting better at them. But when you have chicanes, banked turns, and sometimes even banked chicanes on a track, how do you overcome it?

I was embarassed by my performance today, so being powered by shame, I’m forced to asked this question because I struggled with this track before when I ran it earlier this year. But then they ran it in the opposite configuration and for me it made an otherwise difficult track I’m not familiar with even more difficult to navigate . . .

I find the best way to learn a new track is to work on it one or two corners at a time each session, and really build up speed over time. Maybe focus on the most complex section first as that probably takes a little more to master. Make good use of brake and apex marks so you have reference points as to where you’re making your inputs.

Also it’s good to compare corners to other corners you know from tracks you’re familiar with. So if turn 1 at your home track is a 90 degree left, you can reasonably assume you can approach most 90 degree lefts the same. Over time by visiting new tracks, you’ll build a mental database of a variety of corners you can pull from when you get to a new track, and you’ll have a nice reference for each corner.

Once you’ve got experience in a variety of tracks, you should be able to pick up a new track in 2-3 sessions.

I am dying here. :grin: 20 chars

I’m just getting to the point that I can show up to a strange track and put down decent laps.

You kind of build an inventory of turns you have experience with and have moments like, “this is similar to X. I need to late apex the first turn and run wide on 3rd.”

I tend to break everything down into sectors since I’m used to working on a track like that in sim.

TJ and Dom have solid advice. The only things I will add are these:

  1. Don’t get discouraged. Driving fast is hard. For everyone. Some people have more experience. Some people have more talent. But anyone can get better. Just keep working.

  2. When in doubt, or when you have no idea, focus on exit speed. Always start with late apex, slow entry and work towards more and more aggressive on entry. Always comparing exit speed to your previous strategies.

Hope this helps. See you in two weeks! I’ll be glad to walk the track with you on Friday afternoon/evening and help where I can!

1 Like

In addition to the good advice above from @tjkoyen, @Bimodal_Rocket, and @fatboy1dh, I encourage you to dig deeper into your experience at the track; that is, follow the ‘symptoms’ you experienced on track (AKA your problems) back to the actual ‘disease’ (not a sickness, but literally the things that are making you feel not at ease). For example, in this statement:

What exactly does “kicking my butt” mean to you?

Does banking make it harder for you to identify the optimal line?
Or does it make it harder to identify where the kart should rotate?
Or does it make it harder to consistently hit the right line and/or rotation point?
Or do you have difficulty identifying how/where to ‘introduce’ the front end of the kart into the banking?
Or does the banking mess with what you expect to feel regarding traction, forces, etc?
Or something else?


Solid point, let me try to elaborate to the best of my ability relative to my novice skill level.

Trying to find the racing line was a bit difficult as the kart seemed to behave very differently based on how high or how low I was on the banked turns.

Keeping the right amount of momentum seemed like a challenge and I felt I was way to inconstant. Places where I felt I should lift, when I would do so, the kart was losing momentum as if I was on the brakes; then I couldn’t get the kart to rotate as intended as I wasn’t carrying enough speed. So I was feeling like my inability to control speed and momentum was also affecting my ability to steer the kart and hit my lines.

On the steeper banked sections of the track, I wasn’t clear where I should be entering the apex because I would never end up on the line by the end of the turn. That was a real head scratcher for me because I could usually determine where I would be on exit, but I was finding myself being thrown either to high or too low on corner exit.

I will admit the tires I was on were bowling ball tires and I probably should have put on a fresh set. In talking with some of the locals then tended to run 15 psi whereas I usually run about 10 psi. I ran session on both, didn’t notice a huge different because I was kinda all over the place and I was struggling to put in a decent lap.

Sorry I know thats alot of factors going on. Like I said, I was really struggling out there and I haven’t felt that FUBAR in a while.

Banked corners can be hard to figure out for sure. For me, its T3 at NTK. Its a tight right hander into a short straight and chicane onto a semi-long straight (last turn in a sequence is important). The banked T2 leading into it means you carry a lot of speed and its hard to get the braking zone correct. The question becomes how tight the banked corner is? T1 is left banked turn at the end of a long straight, but is long in comparison to T2. For me, T1 is just a tap of the brakes or a slight lift to set the front end for turn in and then back on the gas to drive out of it. T2 is a little harder braking, but still on the gas early to drive the kart out of the corner. T3 is my nemesis and hard to get right. Too much brake and you are slow on corner exit, too soft on the brake and the rear steps out on you or you push and you lose time too. If you can get it close and someone tries to dive down on you, it is a good place to over/under them. They wash wide and you can comeback to the inside with the later apex and drag race them to the next corner.

All of this has to do with sharpness of the curve and steepness of the banking. Consider what it takes to lift the inside rear wheel more than what your speed is through the corner. High speed, elongated corners can be run almost flat out. Mid speed, medium tight corners require earlier braking, but allow for early back to throttle to keep the inside rear lifted. The worst (for me at least) is the tight banked 180 degree corner with a narrow exit. Its hard to get the inside rear to lift in the right place at the right time. It takes loads of seat time and a good feel for the level of grip to get it right.

You could mess around on NTK in KK to get a hang of those banks.

The final turn complex is brutally difficult to get all of.

Here’s the old version of the track in the game. It’s been updated with kerbs and it’s much prettier now.

@IRQVET While things may have felt FU, they are definitely not BAR. :grin:

Apologizes for the following diatribe, but it’s not an easy question. Also, you can pretty much think of ‘energy’ and ‘speed’ as interchangeable throughout if that makes it easier to understand.

Drivers always try to take their tires to the limit (optimal slip angle). To do so, a balance must be maintained between the energy (kinetic energy/speed) being put into/through a tire, and the tire/track interaction that allows the energy to be turned into traction; which, in turn, generates the forces that act on the kart.

Apply too much energy, and you will cause the tire to generate larger than optimal slip angles (scrub speed & create heat); way too much, and you’ll just understeer off track or spin.

Apply too little energy, and you will not be able to generate (and/or maintain) optimal slip angles.

When you are driving at/near optimal slip angles, you are not just driving a simple ‘line’ around the track (X, Y point in space to X, Y point, etc.), because the slip angles introduce another factor - Rotation (the angular orientation of the rectangle described by your 4 contact patches relative to the tangent of the line you are driving). So, really, when you are going fast enough to generate significant slip angles, you need to start thinking in terms of the ‘trajectory’ (orientation on a line) you want/need to drive instead of just ‘the line’.

So, typically, on corner entry, you will be continually pouring a lot of energy into the front tire (as you are asking the kart to change direction), and therefore the slip angle of the front tire will be gradually increasing, which will put your kart into an ‘understeering’ orientation/trajectory.

However it takes a lot of energy to maintain optimal slip angles, so at some point, you will run out of energy, which will simultaneously cause the remaining energy in the front tire to return to the kart’s center of mass, and the kart will rotate to a neutral or oversteering trajectory. Then, typically you would get on the gas to send energy to the outside rear tire to manage the rotation and to drive your trajectory out of the turn.

So, bla, bla, bla… sorry I had to lay the groundwork. On to the banking- related stuff.

Camber/banking has a significant influence on the amount of traction a tire can produce, and on the amount of energy it will take to produce that traction. One (over simplified) way to think of this is that on a level track surface, much of the traction is kind of a shearing force (trying to push the contact patch across the track surface). However when you add banking (positive camber), then the traction is generated from a combination of the original shearing force plus some vertical force (the tire being pressed down into the banking). But to produce the same optimal slip angle from a flat turn, in a banked turn, you will have to provide more energy (you will have to carry more speed).

Back to the rotation and trajectory ideas again. The thing that all good drivers can do is manage the total amount of energy (speed) they carry into a turn such that they can bring the front tire to optimum slip angle ASAPractical, and the timing for building and maintaining that optimum slip angle produces an energy ‘bleed off’ rate that causes the energy on the front end to run out (peak), at the exact point in the turn where they want the kart to rotate (typically at the apex +/- a few feet).

If you don’t carry sufficient energy into banked turns, you’ll run out of energy early (before you want to rotate). That is, you will be driving a ‘trajectory’ into the turn, but once you run out of energy, you will lose slip angle, which means that your kart will no longer be able to maintain the trajectory you planned. This may feel like you are unpredictably changing line and/or are apexing way earlier than you intended. You may also find that you have trouble getting the kart to rotate, because the energy needed for rotation (the energy you were counting on returning to the chassis when the front tire’s energy peaks at the rotation point) has already been dissipated earlier in the turn; as the kart scrubs speed while it tries to maintain optimal slip angle.

So, ultimately, getting comfortable driving banked turns can require a bit of a leap of faith… you have to be willing to carry the speed into the turn to make the tires/kart ‘work’ all the way to the apex/rotation point.

Regarding how/when to introduce the kart into the banking; that depends a lot on the turn (banking amount/location, radius, etc.), but hopefully if you understand the tire/energy bit of it, it will be easier for you to figure out where to use the advantages of banking, within each corner, in order to reach your energy/slip angle/rotation and ultimately trajectory goals for each turn.


Warren explains this well. You “send” it into the bank and then rotate. The extra speed gets squished into the front end as compression. Rotation and rebound.

I’d also recommend some iracing on a variety of tracks with elevation changes. Final complex Oran Park has you doing high speed downhill into uphill 270 left.

Learning how compression works will help in general with driving.

Warren that is alot to digest there. Thank you for the time it took to generte that response.

1 Like