how much sliding is ideal/acceptable?
I do almost all of my karting in indoor rentals (if anyone knows an outdoor track in the detroit area let me know). my times are pretty alright, I’m very consistently top 3 in my group and almost always first when racing against “normies”. my best time is still about 2 seconds off the lap record, but it sounds like that was done on fresh tires and after a couple of hours of laps by a hot shoe driver.
I’ve gotten my best times to be within a few hundredths of each other, and when I’m not making my way through traffic my average times are usually within a couple tenths.
the track is an indoor psuedo-slick track with sodi gas powered karts that are pretty quick and get up to about 45mph.
my question is mostly around how much rear sliding i should be looking for. in my last race I was given a pretty loose kart. in the faster sections of the track, a full power double apex left followed by a long, decreasing apex right leading into a slow chicane, i was about 45 degrees to the wall of the track and what felt like >90 degrees to the apex of the first corner of the chicane. with relatively slow steering wheel inputs i was avoiding any bouncing, and didn’t have to do any countersteering at all during those corners.
is that too much sliding?
also, there’s a quick left coming out of another quick section of the track that I’ve been taking by locking the rears and slinging the kart into the turn. on a number of occasions i’ve had the rears slide out and point in the right direction, but I just plow on and hit the wall sideways. is that technically understeer? any advice on that particular issue?
Generally, tail sliding is bad except for a little rotation assistance on entry - but then it should be only around 20 degrees to help get the nose in. More than that tends to transfer forward momentum into sideways momentum and ultimately slow the kart.
Four wheel balanced sliding is fast but hard to master if the kart isn’t well balanced front to rear.
Semi polished and polished surfaces are tricky, ultimately the key to speed is being super smooth. Roll onto the power always, don’t mash it like you would on four stroke asphalt karting. Imagine the gas pedal is a wet sponge that you’re squeezing the water out of.
Balance is super important, if the tail is loose put the seat back if it’s possible.
If you’re super light wearing a weight vest can help if it’s permitted, sounds strange but on a polished surface weight is definitely an advantage because weight equals grip.
much appreciated boss man!
the curves I’m working with are all throttle pinned. I assume this still holds? in a rental kart, how do i know when less sliding is actually keeping my minimum speed up and keeping my energy moving forward instead of scrubbing speed in a less than ideal direction?
it feels like i’m too far back to really control the kart when I’m back on the rear axel.
should my throttle application as a whole be slower or should it jsut be a quick throttle application to a lower throttle percentage than on a more grippy surface? It definitely feels like I’m giving up some time on exit of both hairpins. I’ve been thinking about trying to reduce my initial throttle application to about 50% and then rolling on based on how the kart reacts. I DEFINITELY need to be a little less binary with my throttle.
I’m a pretty solid and squat 195 #s. I think adding weight would be a problem coming out of the slower corners.
what do you think about me just sliding sideways into a barrier? I’m pretty comfortable with oversteer, but I feel really helpless when steering inputs don’t change anything.
this feels a lot more like a 4 wheel slide than just the back stepping out. i say that because I don’t have to countersteer at all. my steering inputs are relatively slow, and I continue adding lock for these corners (the double apexes) until i hit the first apex, and the sliding stops once I stop adding lock.
A little bit of flat sliding is okay in the fast corners, but you will know its too much when the engine bogs as rpm drops and it tries to spool back up again. That means you traded forward momentum for sliding and scrubbed speed.
All single axle karts work by lifting the inside rear tire while corning. Rental karts are far stiffer than owner karts, so it can be more difficult to lift and hold the inside rear tire up. You can use your body weight to help. When corning, lean to the outside of the turn against the seat. This will help twist the waist of the chassis and hold the inside rear tire up longer reducing the tendency to slide. When the inside rear tire drops too quickly, the kart becomes “bound up”, meaning the two rear tires cannot rotate at different rates through the corner and one scrubs slowing the kart down.
Alway apply throttle after you have started to unwind the steering wheel (returning to level). The closer to going straight, the easier it will pick up speed out of a corner.
Like Richard said, balance is everything. On the Sodi gas karts, you can adjust the seat position. There should be a little lever that you rotate under the right-front edge of the seat. Counter Clockwise to loosen for adjustment, Clockwise to lock down your position. Try to position the seat in the middle of its range first, then adjust a little forward or back for comfort. Almost never is it all the way forward or all the way back. If your knees are at the steering wheel, just deal with it the best you can. Its a Rental. Understeer happens when there is not enough weight over the front wheels. If most of the corners are working for you, then you can brake more before entry, lean forward after braking before turn in or just move the seat slightly forward and see if any other corners are affected. In an owner kart you can adjust the chassis setup to account for many of those issues, however in Rental Karts, you get what you get and have to adjust your driving and often shift your weight around to make up for any short comings.
What’s the track by the way? And which karts are they running?
Thanks for the well thought out response. It sounds like, as long as the engine isn’t bogging it fine?
I was getting a lot of hopping through the tighter section coming out of those fast curves. When I slowed down my inputs it did away with the hopping.
I have a pretty heavily trail breaking style of driving. Breaking all the way down the the point where my greatest change of direction will be then I hit the throttle (probsbly a little too hard in some cases) and allow the kart to track out however it wants. In several cases I can feel the wheel turning my hands and unwinding itself which is kinda cool.
The lack of weight makes a lot of sense. It’s the only turn I’m not trail breaking in at all, so the front isn’t loading and the rear has no ability to flex (I think?) but that’s what understeer feels like?
Moving weight back is a problem because I have shortish arms and I want to be closer to the wheel lol. The karts require a wrench to adjust position so it’s really only doable between races.
It’s the go full throttle in Cincinnati. I’m not rightly sure what the model kart is.
That’s the layout. The long left then right after the straight where you come out of the pits is where I’m getting all that sliding. The weird left hander before the right hand hairpin is where i find myself plowing on like an idiot.
That sucks! At DKC they have a little “L” shaped handle on the end that you have to pull out to free turn the handle and reposition to rotate the locking rod. Maybe your track didn’t install them for some reason.
One of the tracks in Florida had that… the seat kept sliding backwards so I was adjusting a bunch sometimes even mid corner which was… exciting…
The track layout is posted above which some basic discription of the corners in talking about. If you have any inputs on how to handle any of it I’d love to hear it!
Assuming you are driving a counter-clockwise direction…
How are you taking the first left hander. Are you driving a single apex line or a double apex line?
When coming out the preceding right hander, where are you tracking out to before you begin turn in for the left hander? I looks like there is a little kink before the left. You could just be carrying too much speed for the front end to bite.
For turn “one” and “two” (it’s actually turn two, technically the left hairpin is turn one) it’s a single arc, flat out, touching the apex of both corners. The steering input is finished just before the first apex and held until I feel the wheel straighten itself out. Im about mid track for the wide section of the arc.
Then I try to get the kart settled and an immediate mirror image of that for the following right hander and I actually hold that arc coming all the way into the chicane. That arc puts me about 3/4th track to the left.
I’m not sure what preceding right hander you’re talking about. Can you clarify that a bit?
I’ve experimented with trying to straighten out after the first right hander and take an early apex on the second right to get a more full track turn in for the first corner of the chicane, but it’s just never felt right.
Check out this channel. It may help with the indoor stuff better than I can.
To add to what others have said, and explain it from how it feels to me… when you are driving in the best way for a quick time, sliding doesn’t really occur other than in small rotational apex moves that might be necessary depending on the track layout. You want to me smooth and load the tires right to their limit in a controlled fashion whilst maintaining momentum. Sometimes rolling through a section fast at neutral throttle is better than applying power and sliding, and losing speed.
I’m not all that well versed in indoors but I have done a bunch of laps at various facilities. Mostly, however, these are electric.
Even with torquey electrics it has been my experience that sliding is bad. Sliding is a loss of speed, always.
I can see the argument that in a very glassy surface, very tight radius, whipping the back may give the rotation needed to do the turn faster. I personally haven’t seen such a turn, yet.
You describe heavy trail to apex followed by throttle “smash”.
Play with rolling more speed to the apex with less heavy trail and see how that changes how you modulate the pedal on the way out.
When I hear you say you rotate rapidly then pretty much stomp it, it makes me think that you are making yourself late to throttle. While technically you are on full at apex, it takes time for that engine to spool back up from how far you brought the revs down,
For me, in rentals, x30, whatever, the throttle is surgical, looking for efficiency. It’s almost never off, but it’s never full unless the engine is ready and wheels pointed. Throttle is always looking to be flat, but it’s really important to not overaccelerate out or to drop revs too much by rotating too quickly/inefficiently.
My guess is you are losing potential speed by allowing slide to replace rotation.