Fastest way to corner

Hi all. I was wondering if anyone could explain, in detail, the fastest way to efficiently and quickly corner. I understand the basics of hard on the brakes and smooth off them. I’ve also been learning about trail braking.

My question is, after the initial hard pressure on the brake are you turning and heading towards the apex, whilst still releasing the brake? Or do you get all the braking done before you turn in? As a rule, should I be engaging the throttle once I arrive at the apex? Any throttle before will be too much (if I have carried enough corner speed) and any later would leave my exit compromised. Is that right?

Thanks for reading my long winded. Question. Any responses are very appreciated.

Charlie. Taiwan. :slight_smile:

There’s no right answer. The basic straight line brake is probably the correct answer most of the time. And, if I were to be starting again, that’s what I’d focus on first.

“My question is, after the initial hard pressure on the brake are you turning and heading towards the apex, whilst still releasing the brake? Or do you get all the braking done before you turn in?”

Depends. Some corners you will trail. I think the answer as to wether you jump on and off the brakes or smoothly trail has to do with balance of the kart. Braking moves weight to the front of the kart. Sometimes you can load the front hard and fast, sometimes you need to load it progressively.

Essentially, how does the exit feel given your entry? The two will line up easily when you get it correct for the turn.

Whoof, this is faaaar too vast of a discussion to answer simply. There’s no “one size fits all” answer to cornering fast. If there were, we would all be fast.

The most general way I can say it is, you want to be minimizing braking distances, maximizing your use of the tire’s grip, and getting to throttle as soon as possible.

Every single corner is going to require a little different approach and technique. Some corners will require you to trailbrake, some will require you to straight-line brake. Some corners will require you to be smooth, some will require you to be aggressive. Some corners will be early apex, some will be late. And so on.

Main thing to think about is driving to the tire’s limit and not over, and getting to the throttle as soon as possible. Most applications, you will want to be to throttle before you get to apex.

Watch a lot of on-board videos of good drivers on YouTube and note what their hands are doing, where they are apexing, where they are braking, and where they are getting to throttle.

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To expand on TJs point… I’d urge you to try to feel what’s going on with your outside front tire. Try to get a sense of grip there. Try to feel what it’s like to load that wheel up and see what you can get away with once you’ve figured out how to lean on it. It’s a feel thing.

Getting back to throttle correctly probably will do more to inform you how to take the turn than figuring out the perfect braking. I seems to me that if you have a good push out, your entry was likely very solid.

May I ask what do you drive? 2-stroke, 4-stroke? What class? What is the track like? As experienced guys said above, it can´t be answered simply and strictly. If you need some help with the track layout, advice for some corner or entire layout, we can help there. If you want a straight forward definition of perfect cornering, I am afraid we can´t help much :grinning:

Straight line is hard and quick intital bite. Almost at lock or even at lock, but with immediate, sudden release of brake. There is no overlap between feet. Fully off brake before on throttle and before you turn in.

Trail sort of overlaps. Your Throttle comes in as brake releases. But, you aren’t accelerating into brake. You are replacing speed that has been bled off with gentle acceleration, typically well before apex. It’s a smooth progressive thing where your feet operate simultaneously but in opposing directions.

Straight line is hard, fast and violent. Trail is initially hard but the braking and the subsequent re-acceleration blend together in the latter stages.

Sorry if you already knew this.

Thanks for taking the time to answer Dom. I’m learning every time I go to the track. Thanks for the help.

I’m driving a Rotax max evo. I’m just learning about the feel of the kart. Only had it a few days. I’ll post a map of the circuit. Comparing my lap to one of the more experienced guys, I’m around 2 seconds slower. Data shows the majority of the time is lost on turns 2-5. But I’d appreciate your thoughts on any or all corners. Thanks again.

Keep in mind that this is VERY general advice and only my opinion, but since this track is almost exclusively hairpins, you’re going to want to focus on deep braking, possibly trailbraking a bit into turn-in and then really rolling onto throttle early whenever possible. Rotax requires you to be very smooth and deliberate on your throttle application, and requires you to keep your minimum speeds up to keep it from bogging down.

However, with only a few days worth of experience my first goal would be really learning the limits of the kart and getting comfortable being at those limits. Consistent lap times should be your goal for now. Focusing too much on data or technique at this point is going to be a bit of a waste of time if you aren’t not comfortable at the kart’s limits.

Thanks TJ. Much appreciated.

Charlie…look at what a “Friction Circle” is on a tire and braking…and go much simpler from there.

A total guess from just the track map and your assertion that you lose most of your time corners 2 to 5. Assuming you’re going clockwise. I’d guess the issue is you are going through corners not thinking about the next corner. Corners 2-5 almost entirely lead directly into the next corner. Whereas the rest of the track has enough straightaway to set you up for the next corner.

So when entering 2 (the left kink), think about how you’ll enter turn 3, and then when entering turn 4 (also a kink) think about how you’ll enter turn 5. The exit of turn 5 should also take into account how you’ll negotiate turn 6 because you’ve got a back straight that you need to maximise your speed on.

In most of these corners you’re sacrificing the initial corner to get the next corner entry better as you’re spending more time in the following corner.

Thanks Nik. I’ll give it a go. Appreciate your advice.

I’ll look into it. Thanks.

Hi TJ. I’ve been down a few more times now and getting to understands the limits of the kart and tyres. Braking is where I’m losing most of my time. I’m in Taiwan and my Chinese isn’t perfect so I’m doing my best to learn from the more experienced guys at the track. If you have time, could you expand on threshold braking? My understanding is that I should be assertively applying pressure to 99% (100% being locking up the rears). Should I be releasing the brake completely once I reach this point? Or gradually transferring the emphasis back into the throttle. I’m confused as to where the majority of the braking is done in order to find the most speed. My times have leveled out, I’m consistent, but I’m still a second off the faster guys and feel my current ability/driving style has reached its plateau. Any advice would be great. Thanks.

Most hard braking events are a fairly linear downward curve on the data, so it’s a hard initial hit to the brakes, to 99% as you’re saying, just before lock-up. Then it’s a very slight release, just enough to keep the rears from locking, and a controlled slow-down to the turn in point. If you are emphasizing straight-line braking, you’ll be almost completely rolled off the brakes as you initiate turn-in. If you are trying to trailbrake, you’ll be on the brakes a bit later and have some pedal still dragging a bit as you turn-in, coming off the brakes completely by apex, and at the same time rolling back to throttle.

I try to preach not to coast if possible. Some corner complexes may require unusual modulation of the pedals, but for most cases, you should be braking hard up to the point where you transition to throttle application.

This is exactly the confirmation I needed. I was getting conflicting advice (possibly language barrier issues). You’ve laid it out perfectly. Cheers mate.

this is fairly obvious but since you are new to this… to threshold brake you have to hit the brake hard enough that as you start decel, the rears start to want to kick out.
As soon as you feel this happening (or anticipate it) slightly reduce pressure on brake just enough to let the rears start rotating slightly a bit and the kart straightens and stands on its nose.
When you first start doing this, you will spin, probably, or not apply enough pressure to lock. Keep plugging and eventually you learn how to anticipate the kick and react such that you catch this instantly. Took me 2 years.

Learn how to straight line brake hard. It’s a foundational skill that is surprisingly subtle. You can straight line brake everything until you feel like you got it. Then work on getting back to throttle earlier and earlier. The trail will come next after you are confident about when and how much angle you can apply under braking.

Just to add to the others… Do not be afraid to use your body weight. Rental Karts are heavy and laden with armor (wrapped bumpers to side pods). This makes the frame very stiff. When combined with low horsepower engines, it can be hard to get the inside rear to lift. More to the point, under hard braking in a straight line, leaning back can put more weight over the rear wheels and leaning forward can improve front bite to help turn in. Basically rentals are beaten and broken. Using your body mass as an aid to shift traction to where you need it pays off in dividends. Even in Racing only karts. the principals hold true. You can tune more for general setup, but not every corner. Using your Mass, you can manage for what you cannot tune.