KartKraft Setup vs RL Setup

After using @Bimodal_Rocket setup for the KA today, I wondered how much playing around with settings in KK translates to Real life? Using his settings the kart was easy to drive, felt very light on the front end and easy to turn but still had enough traction.

Most people I know are concerned with how driving in a sim relates to real life driving but today got me thinking can this help me better understand how to setup my kart in real life?

The only setup I do is in game so I have no idea how it compares to real life.

But, it seems you need to do BIG changes here compared to IRL. As in,not just 5%, more like a 25% change.

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@tjkoyen what are your thoughts here?

The basics of setup in KK are generally accurate (widening the front gives more front grip), but I wouldn’t use KK to test for real-life. Setting the kart up in the game is more about getting around the specific wonkiness of not-totally-perfect physics rather than actually tuning the kart in a realistic way.

For example, there should be no reason to run the seat low and back and the front ride height at its lowest setting in normal conditions in real-life but in the sim, that’s sort of how you need it to be quick. You’re missing a lot of the intricate detailed feedback you get from a kart, so most adjustments feel like they have similar effects. For instance, most adjustments that “add front grip” in KK feel like they have almost exactly the same effect. In real-life, each adjustment feels specifically different, even if they are attempting to the same thing. You lack that fidelity in the game.

I pull my hair out more in KK trying to dial in the setup than I do in real-life. Some things react in wholly unexpected ways in the game.

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With sim set up I work on a trial and error basis. Going to extremes and then dialing back. I take almost zero regard to what ‘should’ happen compared to real life. It’s not in my view the best way to maximise performance. I ended up a year or two ago with some of the fastest set ups of the time. It just takes discipline and an ability to go out of the pits and within 2 or 3 laps know whether it’s an improvement. Long stint set ups are a slightly different ball game, but KK was only hotlapping at the time.

When I did the superkart championship on rFactor (obv not a dedicated kart sim like KK, but it’s to highlight a point of methodology) I had one set up when my rears were maximum pressure and fronts minimum allowable and at Donington it worked and I won.

This is pretty much standard issue for sim set up work. You need a highly highly bespoke piece of simulator software for there to be a 1:1 on set up work.

However if you view it as learning a ‘process’ rather than a 1:1 then it might be a better learning experience.


At present, with tire heat and pressures being introduced, all that has changed rather dramatically. Since it now takes about 3-5 laps to get the tires going, it’s hard to tune. The cold tire has grip characteristics that are very powerful. We are at 100% torsion bar, seat all the way forwards.

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Do 10 laps. On car sims laps tend to be 2 or 3x as long, so 10 laps on a kart track isn’t a big issue. It’s just graft, it’s easier with mates and team mates coz you can grind it out in less time.

It’s why I struggle to enjoy the real competitive stuff on sims because it’s the constant paranoia that comes with it about whether someone else might have ‘found something’. Real racing is like that too of course, but on sims the access to it means it’s always there available to do. There’s no physical limit other than time.

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We did have that for a bit in KartKraft with the cold tire/low pressure trick.

Pressure was applied until it was revealed. The problem with game breakers like that is they are kind of fun. But, it ultimately kills the game because you have to drive to the new normal to be fast. Ultimately, it is pointless so people bugger off (like me).