Forgot how to drive: has this happened to you?

Anyone experience a similar situation:

I hopped in my new kart yesterday and it was not a good session. I was unable to test, had only quali-final to get familiar.

Understeer. Lots. Unable to get a turn to hook up. Push on exit.

Kart feels imbalanced, like my weight is too much over the axle and too far back. Just a feeling but it is what I immediately noticed. I am told seat is baselined. He did adjust caster, I think, for final and I was 1s faster but still 3s off pace.

What’s most alarming is how incompetent I felt. I have gotten used to hopping in random karts and being able to extract much of what they can offer, particularly low powered rentals.

This was different. I felt like there wasn’t much of a way forwards. It feels like the kart need to be rolled through the turn to not push. Basically lift to rotate and let it roll till straight. But, this would also require a sort of oval like momentum entry, which the front end does not like, skittering across the apex.

I felt incompetent, which is unusual. I can’t tell if it is me fundamentally misunderstanding the kart and required technique. I feel like I should have been able to get the kart under me and hook up some turns.

I acknowledge that ego is a powerful thing. I Acknowledge that I am typically someone who has a higher opinion of his abilities than reality… but, this was surprisingly bad, even for me.

How do I find out if it’s me or a fundamentally messed up setup?

Bear in mind that I hop in karts from time to time and have never experienced this. My trip to gopro, for example, was fine. My laps in a strange kart on a strange track were good. They usually are fine. This time it was very different.

I only had about 30-35 laps total, so hardly my final form, lo206 wise. That being said, it felt so off, it is out of my experiential wheelhouse.

Anyone else have a similar experience? It’s like being able to speak French and then waking up to feel like you understand 1 word in three.

Could it be that this low power kart with hard tires behaves so differently from heavier rentals or more sticky TAG that I have to completely rethink the evolution of a corner?

As it stands, it appears that you cannot try to accelerate through the apex, that you have to essentially coast and let kart rotate before putting down power? This seems wrong and inconsistent with what I understand.


I think if you’re taking 1s chunks out with just a caster change, you probably still have a lot of pace to find in the driving. I wouldn’t completely rule out some sort of engine or chassis issue also being a contributing factor, but large swings in time with relatively minor tuning changes generally points to driving playing some role. Typically any baseline setup with a decent engine should be capable of getting you to within about 1 second or so. Anything beyond that and there’s probably some driving stuff to work out.

Here’s my sort-of similar experience:
I’m still working on getting pace back after being out of the seat for a good chunk of time. I’d feel like I was doing mostly the right things while I was out on track, but then I’d check the video and data and see that I was really just kind of all over the place. The main thing I struggled (and continue to struggle) with was simply over-driving. I’d turn in way too late and miss the rubber, then my hands would move too quick to try to still catch the apex and I’d end up over the limit of the tires. Part of it was my memory of how to drive the kart became a little distorted over time - I had remembered being able to throw the kart around at turn-in a lot more back in the day. The other part was simply getting enough seat time for things to slow down around me more so that I could better recognize on track when I am doing things right or wrong. Your experience may be completely different, but this is what I’m personally finding now that I’ve got a little more seat time under me.

If you have the ability to do a little video and data review, that would probably be a good place to start. I’d also look into setting aside some dedicated practice time once you have some idea of things to focus on after looking at the video/data.

From there the only other thing I might be way of is over-thinking things a bit. When you have a pretty decent pace deficit to overcome, it’s easy to think you need to completely change the way you do things, when in reality it’s often a combination of relatively subtle changes that need to be made. Keep the things you want to focus on between sessions digestible and straightforward, and take it one thing at a time. That combined with simply getting more seat time can really work wonders.

Thanks. Sounds similar in many ways. I, however, have been driving more or less 2x a month until winter. And during winter, I had 3-4 on track sessions in other karts that were fine.

I am going to likely find that it’s driving. That being said, Justin Dittrich is gonna grab my kart and take it for a spin. He will be able to quickly tell if it’s setup.

Assuming that the kart is ok, I can lean on him for some coaching, perhaps.

Sensation of speed was not an issue at all. The kart hits limiter at a low speed. This did not cause any stress at all. Wondering if the front end would hold, that was a bit more stressful!

I could also be completely baffled by this harder rubber. Rental tires are stickier or at least seem to take heat. I never felt like I got the tires working.

Yeah there definitely could still be something wrong with the chassis, engine, or tires contributing to the pace. Having someone else take it for a spin is a great way to see if any of those are potentially playing a role.

And to clear up one thing, I wasn’t really referring to overcoming the sensation of speed or stress that comes with it when I way saying to get things to “slow down”. I didn’t run into that issue when I got back in the seat either, I’ve found that certain aspect of driving to be kind of like riding a bike. I was mostly just referring to getting acclimated to the relatively quicker tempo of the 206 compared to the rentals, since I assumed that the majority of seat time you had recently was in rentals (maybe not the correct assumption, feel free to correct me). Being able to process extremely subtle driving changes that need to be made in real time at a quicker tempo after getting used to processing everything at a somewhat slower one can take some practice. That’s more what I was referring to if that makes any sense.

You might be onto something. I assume the rubber is comparable between these hard Hoosiers and the normal rental tires. What’s different is weight. It could be that the lighter kart changes the way things go down. Less weight pushing kart into the ground. Less grip. Maybe turn in is different. It doesn’t feel like the timing of turn would be different but how you initiate it might be.

Dom i don’t believe it’s driver, maybe a lil rusty but not that much.

Pretty sure if you move the seat you’ll find the balance. When my local track switched from bizkarts to Sodi I had the same, almost overnight, until I messed with the seat position. I have to have my knees almost in my chest to drive their new karts otherwise they just wanna go straight.

Getting someone else to run in the kart is a good idea - but only if they’re similar size/weight as yourself.

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One of the guys who works there and is a very experienced karter, and all around nice guy with awesome flag waving moves, Justin Dittrich, is gonna hoof Maggie. He’s tall and skinny like me so hopefully you are correct.

Dom I wonder if you might have a chance to run someone else’s kart in your class too. I would be inclined to think its either something in your chassis set up or how you are driving the combination of chassis and tires. Are there any other Margay karts in your class?

All of em! It’s a spec series.
This should be easy to answer, kart wise.



Was this a Margay Ignite on the spec tire? If so, I can confirm the consistent understeer is much different than any other kart/engine/series you have ever run. It takes some thinking outside the box for tuning and some new driving techniques to get it to work. I’m not saying that there isnt something else wrong, but your feeling that this is totally different than everything else you have ever driven (even rentals), is an accurate feeling.

Aha! Yes, it’s margay spec on the Hoosiers. Thanks for the insight, good to know I am not alone. While you obviously have to change how you drive between vehicles, this was way off for me, feel wise.

Does your seating position feel far back relative to other karts you have driven? Do your feet feel slightly further back than on other karts? I am above average in height and I feel too laid back and reaching for pedals, slightly. My weight does not feel dynamic and centered.

I should probably get this scaled.

I understand better what you mean. It’s a good thought but probably does not apply on my case. My driving is, to put it mildly, obsessive. In addition to kart, I sim race more than anyone I have ever met.

While sim and karting are different, the point I am trying to make, is that I am extremely used to driving different things, dialing them in, and getting to pace (or close). I am used to having to go from kz, to USF 2000, to an Indy car, etc. in karts, I mainly rentalled in the past year but I also did fine in 2-stroke when I did that.

The problem here, I don’t think, was rust related. It’s either a technique or setup (or both) type issue. At least that is my initial impulse.

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This is my secret - I never knew how to drive in the first place.


Well I feel that way when it’s wet, always.

I race the Ignite both in Ignite series with Hoosier R80 and in another series with R60. It is startling how much less grip the R80 have up front particularly. Mostly I have adjusted expectation. I run ok. I am much wider in the front for R80.

If you are 3 seconds off though it seems like something more is going on. I am interesting in hearing what you learn

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Wether I get to the bottom of it or not, I will share what I learn.

What’s kinda interesting is I’ve never seen anyone go “ack, I can’t drive LO”. I was not expecting anything unusual.

Perhaps talk to your aerodynamicist, maybe your Center Of Pressure is too far back? :grin:


Ground effect aero for a kart? Sign me up.

Just signed up for a RD1 Elite (think club100) Saturday…been around 18 months since I drove one. For sure I’ve forgotten, though I was watching through a YT I did when I first drove them few years ago - man I was awful :sweat_smile:

I bet the Dubai rental races are amazing. Such a nice facility. Honestly, if I had SWS available, I think I’d be happy with that as my competitive outlet. A global leaderboard of tryhards. Sounds like iracing!

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