How to look for pace

I think after 2 1/2 years ive finally come to a point where im not doing anything fundamentally wrong,and am starting to become very competitive. (5/26 in the standings so far) what ive found with this is that time becomes so much harder to come by and chasing those last few tenths can seem close to impossible. currently im about .4 off the fastest time at each race, and I cant seem to close that gap. I feel like im driving the kart to the limit but obviously there is a decent bit of time to be found. My results keep getting better yet somehow I feel like ive plateaued. Like on a race day ill find pace, find pace, than it just stops and I dont know what to do to find the last bit. Basically my question is, what strategies do you guys use in order to find time when you feel like you’ve plateaued? do you lean towards tuning, data or trying different things on track?
Very open ended question, so feel free to direct me to other similar topics
(apologies, this was written at 2AM)

I am with you on this. I have raced karts for about 5 years and I am in a similar situation to you. This difficultly exists in televised/professional racing as well. What keeps mid pack and back finishers from the top 10? It is usually small amounts of time per lap. While it is easy to “blame” equipment, the driver is more than likely the difference wether its being able to identify what to adjust to make the car work better, or just drive the car differently to get more from it.

I know you have posted videos of some of your races and you have gotten feedback from others as well. As I recall most of the feedback centers on small changes to get more from the kart. What is the feedback you have gotten from your videos? Have you applied that to your driving?

I watched your most recent onboard, your braking technique is still a bit weak. You lose time on that. Also, you should train on other tracks

Once you’ve plateau’d it’s time to challenge yourself again, so traveling to new tracks would be a good start.

Also, at the pace you’re doing it’s time to start looking at how you can tune the kart and improve in that area as well.

Top musicians practice every day for hours. Top athletes practice and train almost every day.

Unless you’re a freak, and there are frgeaks out there, nothing really beat the grind of properly practicing. Identifying concrete areas of weakeness and working on them methodically. Like take Max Verstappen for example. When we tested the Sudam for Karting1 at PFI, he was there with his dad Jos testing for the Euros. For them it was a cross european trip for do a day’s testing. It’s the grind. Jos actually did the engiens too. He wasn’t going to let someone else take responsibility.

And this goes for everything really. How you prepare the engine. Are you missing something there. Do you properly analyse your driving. I used to film other drivers and compare 1:1.

If you want that win, then no stone is left unturned. Everything is an opportunity. There’s no magic sauce really.

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Hmm. I agree it might be a case of single-track-itis. Go play on some others and see what happens.

It’s almost never gonna be down to tuning, imho, unless something is way off.

Have compared onboards to the fastest drivers? It’s got to be in line and inputs.

If you can, convince a faster guy to help critique your lap or get some coaching help. I find that we can’t really see our shortcomings as clearly as others can.

In sim, since we have great data, it’s really easy to see which sector/turns you are weak in. You can then concentrate on why that one corner is weak.

Also, pace is kind of funny. While I can run X speed laps, races seem to have their own pace and I am almost never on my fastest pace from practice. Speed in race adapts to the situation.

Consider doing a race series on iracing. The weekly process of learning and then racing a track does wonders for getting on pace. Since it switches every week, you are forced out of your comfort zone regularly.

I disagree. If we are only looking for a few tenths, it’s definitely possible the kart could be that far off with just some minor changes to the setup.

Chassis setup stuff usually isn’t the issue if you’re over a second off, but just a few tenths could easily be a setup issue.

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This may be true but even with correct technique, a small change can yield big dividends.

I have noticed that a line correction in one turn invariably leads to better track placement for next turn and the line change influences the successive turns. Chain reaction.

For me it’s mainly driving and a little bit of tuning. As the day progresses the track changes, which means you can’t drive the same line you would of lets say in practice or even qualifying. There is a video on YouTube by Ryan Norberg about getting “Under the rubber” and how to change your driving habits while the track rubbers in. Which to me sounds like is when you plateau in pace.

I get line feedback occasionally, I got good feedback from tj with his video coaching, so some throttle technique and line stuff from there, along with race craft. Unfortunately I can’t afford to do that with every one of my videos. I do my best to apply it, sometimes when it gets to the heat of racing I forget but I think I apply it most of the time.

How is it weak? I think that video actually has my best braking so that really says something. I have no idea what the technique is, I just brake as hard as I can.
Unfortunately my series only runs 2 tracks, each of which have multiple configurations. 5 in total. I used to have x1 but rip. I can’t afford to go anywhere else right now, as everything comes out of my pocket and I’m only 17

I’d love to travel to different tracks, I just can’t afford it.
I run a tent program with a mechanic, so I myself don’t fiddle with the kart. My mechanic is very experienced, with several supernats podiums from karts he wrenched on.
So in that case, what should I say or ask? I have no idea what different set ups feel like, apart from extremes like rain set ups. I know the fundamentals of what changes do what to some degree, but I don’t know when I need them or what to ask for

I’ve started analyzing footage more, but in terms of practicing I simply can’t afford it. I may splurge once this year to go to a higher level event, but I’m not sure what to go to. I live in Boston. At that point though I could’ve spent that money buying a sim so there’s lots of conflicts. If I had the chance I’d drive every day

This seems like a @speedcraft Warren challenge. How to progress with limited seat time?

If I had a sim rig I could send you, I would. That would help.

Once again… limited by money… no pc or sim wheel😬 I’m actually the fastest driver with a GoPro in my class that I know of, but maybe I can watch other groups? When it comes to the NHKA we have very little track time. Each event is 1 day apart from Kartmania, (which you should go to) a race day looks like this, 5 min practice, 5 min practice, 5 min qualifying, 8 lap pre final, 12 lap final. Although recently we’ve tried 10 min practice, 10 min practice, 5 min qualifying, 20 lap final. I actually find my fastest laps to always be in the final

All the tracks I race at are greener than my lawn. Nearly no rubber or heat buildup throughout the day, or at least not enough to change lines.

I’d open a gofundme but I don’t think a kid wanting a couple grand to play around in race cars more is the most intriguing charity.
Poor me😂

It feels like you are not threshold braking and you are compensating with trail braking, which isn’t great on a gokart

Can’t you point to a particular instance? Not completely understanding.

@Bimodal_Rocket
I’ll get my first practice day in two weeks, where I’ll somehow manage to take this WF engine up to 72mph

Here but all the hard braking phase you do are not optimal