Lack of confidence when trying to overtake driver in front

I had my first accident 5 years ago when started karting, i was gaining confidence and correcting mistakes, and one practice day when i tried to overtake another driver, we had contact on the rear bumper i flew and the kart ended on my back, with my right arm on the exhaust, it took me a month and a half to recover and since that day when i try to overtake someone in front of me, it reminds me of that day, and start getting nervous and overthinking of what could happen and when i’m in that situation i don’t know what to do, if overtake or not, what could happen, i feel really unsure of what to do, i honestly feel ashamed to talk about this, I am too demanding of myself in terms of results and performance, this is the only thing that affects me a lot in karting and i don’t know what to do about it.

@speedcraft a penny for your thoughts…

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Knowledge is the best weapon here I think. If you can go back and analyze your incident, determine why the crash happened, and learn from that, then you can start to breakdown how to avoid the same thing in the future. Every negative situation is an opportunity for learning and to improve ourselves so we don’t repeat that situation.

It’s also important to note that accidents like that don’t happen frequently, so the odds of a similar accident happening again are low.


Bear in mind you also have more agency over the situation than you think. Rare is the instance when you don’t identify trouble brewing. Trust your instincts absolutely. If a little voice tells you to lift, lift. Don’t question this inner voice.

I sort of got into sports like this as a kid cos I was a scaredy Kat, afraid of speed and stuff like rollercoasters. In time the process of driving got a lot quieter mentally and the feeling of stress and being in a dangerous environment receded.

I have crashed a bunch but never gotten hurt badly. So, I can’t relate to the feeling of being in a really bad crash.

My experience was that once the sensation of speed recedes and you feel more in your element, more in control of the vehicle, you will forget about your anxieties and just drive.

You end up running out of room, mentally, for this anxiety/fear to stick around. It ultimately has to go, and only pops up for a moment here and there, which you squash down immediately.


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:point_up: :100:% this!

@felip24f there is absolutly NO reason to feel ashamed about this, and the fact you feel that way, but still decided to post a message to KP shows that you’re ready (and have already started) to deal with the situation. As drivers, there are many mental ‘roles’ being played out in our heads. Some have to do with performance, expectations, and goals, some have to do with more detailed stuff like how to get around a track or a specific turn or setup the kart, some have to do with passing and racecraft, and some have to do with self preservation/fear management. Your head (intellect) and your heart (intuition/instincts) control the interaction and balance of all of the roles to try and get you what you want (good performance) with an acceptable (to you) level of risk… “acceptable level” because there is always some level of risk when driving a kart (or really when just being alive).

Just like every other driver who has ever raced, you made a mistake when passing, but due to the type of mistake, or where on the track the mistake was made (high speed section?), or maybe because your confidence had grown so strong you didn’t listen to an inner voice say “back out of this”, or maybe because it was just unusual circumstances, your mistake had BIG consequences. Whatever the case, it sounds like in your mind, your ‘self preservation’ system, has labeled you performing passes as ‘Dangerous’ or ‘Untrustworthy’ or some such nonsense. It sounds like you are stuck in the past, reliving and paying the consequences for a mistake, but ignoring that you now have 5 more years of karting experience than you did back then. I’m sure that during those 5 years you have made some clean passes that you’re not getting credit for, right? :wink:

To deal with this, you need to do a ‘sales job’ to your self preservation system to convince it that you ARE trustworthy, you know what you’re doing, and you can execute safe passes. To @tjkoyen point, this is where knowledge comes in. YOU must understand what went wrong leading up to your big crash, and how you will avoid, and/or recognize and deal, with similar danger in the future.

The 4 stages of crashing:

  1. Oops
  2. UhOh
  3. Oh S***
  4. Aw F***
    Many times you can save a bad situation if you recognize the approach of stage 1 or 2, or minimize the consequences if you get to stage 3. :wink:

Anyway, I look at ‘confidence’ a bit differently than most people. I don’t see it as something that lets you do something ‘more’, or emboldens you to do something more, I see it as a ‘throttle stop’; something that uses fear to keep you from doing what you are already capable of doing. Below is a link to an article about confidence. It is somewhat focused on performance improvement, but the techniques for influencing confidence at the end of the article could definitely be applied to improve confidence in passing.

Good Luck!


Thank you so much for the information, the accident happened on a mid speed section he just braked on the middle of the track and i didn’t had time to react and it affected me a lot but the season ended recently and i had a crash recently when i was leading on the final heat i had a good start, just a few meters after the start before turn 1 he was pushing me from the formation lap and before i turned he pushed my back bumper sending me out of track and i managed to brake, this time there was less impact and didn’t get injured but i couldn’t finish the race, it was supposed to me to be in 2nd bc of the points place but our karting organisation is so bad in managing terms that they decided to benefit another penalized driver, his penalty put me in 1st on that heat, it was a hard lesson to learn but the important thing was learning from that and i’m aiming my focus on next season

man, that is a very good way to describe confidence. And I love the “sales job to yourself” thing too, because that’s a crucial point.

But back to the getting over a crash thing, I 100% know the feeling. Its a normal human reaction so don’t feel ashamed about it.

I had a pretty bad wreck back in August. Me and another senior driver were side-by-side and our wheels touched; my rear wheel made contact with his front wheel at the right spot to where I spun in front of him, got launched in the air doing a kartwheel, and I landed on my shoulder with the kart on top of me. Luckily the only thing that broke was a finger (which I’m still going through physical therapy to get full movement back). It was just a racing incident so we were both cool about it. He’s a young kid so I think he was more shaken up than I was Lol.

It was super nerve wracking to get back out there and battle with those guys. I was more scared at that point than I was the first time I hopped on the grid. But like @speedcraft said, you give yourself a sales pitch, and try it again. My internal sales pitch goes something more like “f*ck it dude, lets see what happens” or “what’s the worst that can happen? You flip again?”. All it took was a couple successful executions (in my case, surviving double-wide chaos in a tight grid) and I was back in the game.


Also, context matters. The risk of injury is fine when you are fully engaged and want to be there. When the script changes a bit, and your calculus about risk/reward changes, it’s easier to walk away from taking risk, to be more “afraid” of potentialities.

The day I quit racing x30 was a shitshow of a day wherein folks got hurt and it was just a mess in terms of folks without a clue being set loose. I deliberately tanked my prefinal and blessedly my radiator cap decided to disappear first laps of final so I DNF.

I had simultaneously reached a point where the money involved was getting to be too much and the reality of real injury changed the calculus for me. The joy was not sufficient to offset the financial and potential personal health cost anymore. It was just turning into pure stress.

It takes real work to die in a go-kart, however (assuming a safe kart in a closed track with all the mod cons). Fatalities are rare and usually in the world of folks driving on streets or ladies getting their neck broken from hair getting caught in a spinning axle (recent fatality in FL).

With that in mind, the risks are pretty small-ish. Yep you can get broken bones but it’s rare. At the end of the day, if you want to race, push through it.

Personally, I ended up doing tons of 4-stroke stuff that feels really slow to me compared to what I learned on and sim regularly on. So, for me, changing engines ended up putting me in the opposite scenario… where I have “too much” confidence in the slower karts.

Maybe change up engine package and go race 100 instead of 125 for a bit, maybe. Let the world slow down a bit and find your sea legs again and your confidence.

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i haven’t read all the responses, so sorry if i duplicate. i think part of the hesitancy in overtaking, in general, is that you, as a driver, are trying to drive where you don’t normally drive, to get around someone. i know for me, i sometimes hesitated because i didn’t know how the kart was going to handle taking a passing line. so i avoided the risk of touching wheels or just crashing, in general, and i’d stay in line. problem with this method, you can really only pass if the guy in front messes up.

it took too long, but it finally occurred to me, practice driving in the passing lanes, or using passing lines, however you want to term it. don’t worry if you’re actually passing someone, divebomb a few turns, get acclimated to it. during practice, of course.

you’ll eliminate half the worry if you’re confident in your own moves.


This was a big factor for me as a new driver this year. I had the same realization: “I should just practice the passing lines!”

It feels so simple, but there is some incredibly strong force for me every practice session to just get the fastest time possible haha! But once I started intentionally practicing the passing lines, I felt way more confident actually passing.


Do you have a buddy to do “mock battles” with?

Even if one or the other of you is faster, you can compensate with some lead/follow, or just adjust your pace.

Keep it fun, even practice making mistakes for the other to capitalize on etc. Try taking a bunch of kerb, make some ridiculous moves etc. The latter can work if you’re both in agreement and looking out for each other…. Which is a good skill too…. Being aware of when someone is pulling a stupid move and knowing how you can save your race.

Most of all, keep it fun and you can develop skills in a low pressure scenario.


Simrace a lot and try to survive iracing. It helps quite a bit.


Try visualising yourself making some overtakes before a race or practice day also.

This can get you in a good frame of mind and self-belief, that if you can picture yourself making the overtakes in good fashion, that you have some confidence to commit to an overtake.

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