This is a topic that has been weighing on me (pun intended) Let’s face it, I don’t have a typical karter physique but I have managed to lose weight since starting in karts that I have to add about 5-8 pounds of weight to make minimum. However, I race against guys that have to add considerable amount of weight. So does this count as an advantage to the skinny guys? I see most weight is added to the seat and while there are some options for where the weight is placed, if you have to add more than 40lbs it would appear anywhere it fits becomes the priority. I have tried moving weight to see if there is an effect on the scales and I see very little change. It is possible that a heavier driver may even have the advantage of being able to move around a bit to help transfer weight? Thoughts?
Being able to put the weight where you want it is a theoretical advantage, where you can move the weight higher or lower to effect transfer. Moving it front to back doesn’t do a whole lot % wise.
Honestly, if everyone is within 10 pounds or so, it doesn’t really matter because if you’re good at setup and driving, you’ll make what you got work.
In rentals this would be huge since rental leagues dont generally do minimum weight. In club at 390 masters, not so much.
The real difference is how I feel physically at 160 versus 200lbs. I have immensely more energy and more endurance. I went from “I’m getting old” to “I want to fight”. Bad knees work again. I can run and jump. This translates into laptimes.
It wasn’t easy, though and it’s probably not smart to lose too much weight.
It depends on your class. I’m 6’3” and right at class weight, in a low hp class (read as 206). Because of this, I feel like I am sometimes at a disadvantage. If we’re on sticky tires or at a track that grips up, I have a hard time getting the kart freed up.
However, when on super hard tires, or a low grip track, or a night race, or a rain race, it is easier for me to have enough grip compared to the tiny guys putting pads under their butts to try to get weight higher.
If you have more hp, it is easier to manage the “disadvantage” because you can actually use the transfer.
I agree with Derek, under grippy condition, the lighter drivers might have an advantage, as they can get the CG lower. When the track is wet, I think the big guys have an advantage, as they have the weight high and can control the movement of the weight to twist chassis and instantly load the outside rear tire. I need about 50 lbs to make weight in Masters but it’s all at very low center of gravity and can’t be dynamically applied. At least that’s my excuse for my poor rain performance.
I hear gripes all the time about 15 year old stacking/ strategically being able to put 40 lbs on thier kart to race heavy. Then all the fat people are stuck at the same weight (although not strategically placed) and thus at a slight disadvantage.
They’re beating the heavier older guys cause they’re 15, not cause of the weight…
Nope, nope, nope.
Dom, I used words like “I feel like” and put “disadvantage” in quotation marks as to avoid the feelings of you little guys
Well, my pal Tanguy has slimmed considerably but I recall being amused by watching him lap everyone in rental races.
He’s especially fast in the wet, aggressive and uses his body a lot. I shall have to ask him if he was better in the wet heavier or lighter.
Derek, can we just point out the fact that Gary the GOAT runs at or above weight with no lead and whomps the shit out of the 15 year olds with the weight advantage?
Absolutely. Part of what makes him the goat. I didn’t say it couldn’t be done. It’s just harder. That just makes what he does even more impressive.
Weight is a HUGE deal. Being able to put the weight where you want it is an advantage.
There is a reason 1,400hp sprint cars use titanium nuts and bolts.
As someone who has been running 50+ lbs of lead for a decade, it’s an advantage to be able to place the weight where you want… to a point. If you have to add a lot, you end up putting it where it’ll fit, not necessarily where it’s best for handling.
Also note when you have tons of lead on the kart, that’s dead weight that can’t be used to move around and adjust the kart’s handling on the fly like someone who is heavier can do. This is partly why bigger guys have an advantage in rain or changing conditions. They can move all their weight around on-track. Having run all the way up to 380lbs class weight as a 130lb dude, I can tell you that the kart handles much differently when you have 80lbs of dead lead just hanging on that seat. Remember the seat is designed to flex a certain amount and with that much lead you are limiting that as well.
Plus if you’re taller, you never have an issue with low CoG, so you rarely struggle to lift the inside rear wheel.
I would say ideally you would have 15-30 pounds of weight to move around. That should be enough to get your weight distribution correct and would still mean you’re a big enough driver to use body posture to adjust the kart on the fly.
Very true! However there is a point where you tend to lift it too much or for too long and you get rib cracking hops.
Yep, seems like both ends of the spectrum are beneficial in certain circumstances. And as TJ said, the ideal situation is to be somewhere in the middle.