How to be efficient with your time during a Raceday

Hi guys,

Being a beginner at karting, I would like to get some insights from you guys on what you focus on in a heat by heat basis to get your kart setup for the track.

The goal here is to achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted time.

Let’s say you have 4 heats in a day.

Heat 1.
Spocket sizing
Carburation setting.
Measure tire pressure.
What do you focus on for the Low & High settings?
I read somewhere that off corner acceleration is for Low setting; and straights for High setting. Is this correct?

Heat 2.
Validate sprocket sizing
Validate carburation settings.
Exhaust length sizing for more engine fine tuning.
Set tire pressure based on collected data from heat 1.

Heat 3.
Chassis setup. Oversteer / Understeer /

Heat 4.

Anything you guys are willing to share is appreciated.


If you’re really into planning and efficiency you will probably need a plan that is beyond just session-to-session, but actually more of a 6 month holistic thing. The reason is if you’re after efficiency, you can create a ‘day program’ which actually doesn’t take into account other variables that may need improving first. So for example, you need a base level of fitness that means your attacking the first session similar to the last so your driving might not be consistent enough. Also tracks evolve in various ways too.

So maybe take a look at Supercross to get inspired for a longer term program -

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You should sort of be evaluating all aspects during every session. If you just start to focus on handling in heat 3, you’re going to be so far behind on your adjustments it’s going to be hard to dial it in for one session.

Most race days will include at least one practice session as well, so you aren’t jumping into racing right off the bat with no time to work on the kart.

The process of tuning a kart setup is a constant effort of tweaking things, not necessarily a checklist that results in the ideal setup by the end of the day.

Your main adjustments will likely be the chassis, not the engine, so I would be setting your carb and flex length (if that’s an option for you) based on whatever your engine builder tells you to do, and work on optimizing chassis and driving throughout the day. If you need to make carb adjustments, those are pretty easy and straightforward to accomplish. Look at your EGT and make a little adjustment richer or leaner depending on what you think you need.

My process for each session is this:

  1. Come in, immediately go over all the things I was feeling in the kart on track, and convey them to my mechanic or just talk through them with myself (I’m usually my own mechanic) to form a basis on what I think the kart is doing in terms of handling. Also check tire pressures as soon as I can.
  2. Take a look at the MyChron and get a quick glance at lap times, consistency, RPMs, temps, and see if anything looks off and needs a further look.
  3. By the time I get back to the tent, I’ve got all that info, and I can either make some adjustments to the kart or engine if I’m pretty sure I know what I need, or I can open the laptop and download the data to dive deeper.

Rehydrate, re-lube the chain, and reset tire pressures before I go out again.

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As TJ mentioned, most of the items on your list shouldn’t require much extra attention and focus in order to optimize.

First and foremost, being a beginner it’s important that you’re not letting the vast array of adjustments distract from you working on your driving. Even as you develop, the intricacies of driving are always going to the most important bit. Said differently, even a perfect setup is only as fast as you can drive it.

That said, this really points towards the importance of having good baseline information for both chassis and engine. Having an established baseline is going to give you the right starting point, and narrow down the range of adjustments that may be applicable to a given session. From there, you can plan out your sessions accordingly, based on any remaining variables. For example: it’s likely that you’ll need to try a couple of different gearing setups, but that can be planned independent of chassis adjustments. If you’re unsure on gearing, then I’d ask around, or do your best to establish a good starting point, and then be working towards optimization right out of the gate.

Other factors you can plan for might be:

  • When do you expect to put on new tires? (if applicable)
  • Are there setup items that you’re curious to test, or have been recommended by your dealer/manufacturer?

From the items on your list, here are some notes:

Measure tire pressure- should have a starting point in mind, then tweak each session
Validate sprocket sizing- discussed above
Validate carburation settings- have baseline from engine builder, and only change as needed
Exhaust length sizing for more engine fine tuning- same as above

Really this again leaves working on your driving as the most important piece. Once that and the above are all clicking, then you can start tweaking chassis setup. To Alan’s point, the track is likely to change throughout the day/weekend. Most manufacturers/dealers will be able to provide guidance on common setup changes for certain track conditions. Last piece of the puzzle will be fine-tuning the chassis to your driving style, but as a beginner this is likely still a ways off.

Hope this helps.


I think TJ and Evan pretty well nailed it. Only thing I might add is more about what Alan was talking about. Hopefully you have done you homework with some testing prior to Race Day and kept a log of the optimal changes for any given Track or Weather conditions that come up. Refer to your setups for Green or Grippy Track and Hot or Cold days.

You will usually be allowed a practice or warm up session prior to any timed heats so you can get the setup really close. Pay attention to the weather and time of day you will be racing. If you start in the morning and finish in the late afternoon versus afternoon into evening as track temps may change dramatically. Try to anticipate the change. Know that the more karts going on track throughout the day will generally increase the rubber laid down and grip will go up as the day goes on. Talking with Mark French (father and tuner for Jake French, former SKUSA National Champion), he said “We always try to tune the Kart so that the conditions come to us.” He was referring to staying ahead of the changes and taking advantage over others that may be chasing the changes.

Lastly, being relatively new I would limit your between session setup changes and focus more on your driving changes. Noting where the Grip is on the track and how to maximize it as the day goes on. TJ has a video on his YT channel about Staying Under the Rubber for more information on this. If you are going to make any other change, it would be to tire pressures. The tire will work best when at an optimal temp/pressure. By now, you should already know where that is from your testing. Difference sessions may have difference laps or time on track, so for a short qualifying session you might bump up your tire pressure to get the tire up to temp faster than say a long main where you might start at a lower pressure so the tires come in later in the race and do not fall off too early.