First Rental League, got any race start tips?

My background is mostly in racing cars and track days. But I’ve spent quite of a bit of time in rentals for fun and practice. Just finished my first league race and it was a blast. I finished 3rd overall but I completely bombed both race starts losing 1-2 positions. Karts are 9hp Sodi.

Where/what are you looking for at the race start?
Do you load the brake at all?
Any other tips or advice?

Ah rental karts, my expertise! With a few exceptions race starts with rentals are no different to racestarts with other engined beasts. but many rental kart drivers are inexperienced and have no clue how to start a race. When you do, you have an advantage. Not only a competitive advantage on track, but also a confidence boost! There is much to gain with proper preparation:

  1. Investigate beforehand whether the race will be started with lights or flag. When they use lights, find out how many lights go on before they go out.
  2. Investigate beforehand whether you are allowed to apply throttle and brakes on the startgrid. Some revs might help your getaway but some track owners are afraid you burn their clutches.
  3. Try overtake lines and defensive lines in practice so you know the grip levels off line.
  4. How many risks are you willing to take? For instance, going round the outside in turn 1 can be very benificial when all the others bunch together at the inside. But you are the first to slide on the grass or in the tyre wall when things go south. Defending the inside line is often slower but you are preventing a lunge from the inside. Try to visualise how you would approach the first lap, what lines you want to take and how aggressive you want to be. Of course karting is improvising, but having a plan or even two scenarios in your head helps you to make split-second decisions. How much risk you take depends a lot on your starting position.
  5. Stay glued to the driver in front, but beware of the (how we call it but you guys have a different name) harmonica effect: in the braking zone the pack converges, so you must brake a few inches or feet earlier to avoid bumping. Or you can take a slightly different line than the rest to give you more options, but don’t open doors that need to be shut!
  6. Karting is a no-contact sport but rental kart drivers bump. It’s not nice but don’t get frustrated by a nudge, these things happen. Stay focussed on what’s ahead.

I assume others will come with smart tips, so the next race start, you know what to do which will give you a confidence boost. Bear in mind that many drivers have no clue what to do and you will destroy them :wink:

I don’t really know what you mean with ‘loading the brakes’. Of course you use the brakes, even in a rental kart. It cannot hurt to heat the brakes up in the warmup lap.


Thanks. I should mention it’s a rolling start.

By loading the brakes I mean applying a bit brake and throttle at the same time prior to the green flag.

If you have some gopro footage, that would help.

Hi DJ, I don’t really know why applying brake and throttle at the same time would help prior to the green flag, but others might come with smart examples. I don’t do it, although I do heat up the brakes, especially when it’s cold.

Maybe he means to try to get a jump on revs without lurching forwards? I could see maybe riding the brake a bit with some throttle in, releasing brake and flooring it at green. That would be bad for the engine, though.

If you got 3rd in your first race, I should be asking you for tips.
most rentals have a brake that cancels the throttle, so you can add a little throttle, but not past a certain point. Some do brake without letting off the gas. Some of the karts just don’t have any grunt at the low end compared to others.

On the start it depends on what everyone else does, so I wouldn’t sweat over too much of a plan. A good bit of lick can be involved. In Bumper Karts is can take a few turns to sort out. Inside on one corner can turn into the outside on the next.
In the past my plan was
Plan A: Get out in front of the crash
Plan B: Sit back, watch the crash and drive by it as a rubber necker.

I think overall you need to manage the variables you can and don’t worry about what you can’t.
In our rental league the new guy running it went to lap times for qualifying as opposed to finish order. That is kind of nice as you can let the pack go and try to get a quick traffic free lap, but sometimes drafting is the way to go. Main thing I have found is just using the form up lap figuring out the individual kart you have and how it is acting.

Brake loading on the start can work very well depending on the rolling speed. The engine is already making power and has extra intertia ready to be released as soon as you come off the brake.

Also, the response time of the kart is going to be much shorter releasing the brake, vs waiting for the engine to “wake up” from idle as well as the throw of the pedals being shorter.

If you find the clutch or brakes are getting a beating, then wait until you’re closer to the line.

At the very least you want to be able to get slack out of the throttle pedal without lurching.