Learning Braking zones quickly

Hi all,
My hobby in my spare time is Go Karting and I compete in Arrive and Drive sessions at my local tracks.

In the next few paragraph, I will tell you my history and experience in karting so you know what level I am at. I have had no training and none of the circuits are in racing games so I have not had the chance to simulate them. If you wish, you can skip to the last paragraph with my question. I cannot go to this new track as often because it is more expensive and further away.

I have raced on three tracks so far, lets call them A, B and C so as not to give my location away. track A and B are local tracks and C is further away.

I first raced on track A, I was about 3 seconds away from the record when I first started, 1 month later (go 3-4 times a week doing about 7 sessions a day 3-4 times week. Exactly a month later, I set the new track record. I am now over 1.5 seconds faster and only about 5 people can keep up with me. I also raced at track C once and was able to finish within the top three to five in 3 session but probably further away from the record (forgotten how far I was from the record). Now, I recently started on track B and on my first 3 sessions, I was only 2.4 seconds away from setting the track record. I can almost beet all people there in the sessions, however there are more people who can keep up/beet me then in track A.

Where I think I am messing up on track B is on the braking zones, I think I break too early. Are there any tips to find the braking zone quickly without making too many mistakes, or do I need to just drive and find the lines that I have been and like I did on track A?

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Keep braking later until your lap times start getting slower.

Compare corners from track C to similar ones on track A so you can get an idea of how to approach each one. That should help you get within a few feet of the right braking point. From there it’s just feeling the limits of the tires and the kart to understand how much traction you have and braking at the limit of that traction.

Why not name the tracks? Maybe someone here has first-hand experience on them and could offer advice.

Thank you @tjkoyen for the information.

When you say keep breaking later until laptimes get slower, do you mean I should keep doing it later until my laptipmes get lower? If not, do you mean that when the times get slower, I am breaking too late and going deep into the corners?

Also when I said I now go to track C, I meant track B. I shall edit my main post.

Unfortunantly, track A, if you done it correctly, you don’t need to use the breaks except for one corner as it is a slow, narrow technical circuit. The karts also only went to 40mph. Track B on the other hand (the one I go to now) is fast, flowing and wider. It also has the thunderkarts that go 60/70mph. As this one requires breaking on most corners from high speed, unlike the other track, I cannot compare the corners as they are completely different in that regulars.

Thank you for helping.

If you can, go stand in a spot where you can see the brake zones in the corners you feel you’re having issues in. Watch what the faster drivers are doing in those areas. I’ve found that helps me if I’m having problems.

here’s some more generic advice on racing. it may not necessarily apply to tips for finding braking zones quickly, but it will contribute to your overall racing development.

You mentioned that you can beat most people; however, there are more people who can keep up with you. Welcome to Motorsports. You may be discounting the experience and effort put in by those you are racing against, as well as the fact that on any given day, there are others who can be quicker.

Make it a point to talk to those people who are faster than you to get their help. You may be surprised that they have a lot to share. The largest determining factor of any given laptime is typically the braking zones or corners. My 4 yr old daughter can keep her foot pegged on the gas pedal just as much as I can along any straight. As long as there is available grip and she can manage the steering inputs, we will theoretically turn similar lap time.

The reason why I state that is to let you know that everyone works on the braking zones constantly. Pick one or two corners at a time and work on improving those corners (braking zones). Watch others and identify those who are faster than you so you can try to emulate. Try different turn in points, braking points, etc. I’d say focus on executing the fundamentals consistently so you can identify the clear deficiencies in your driving style, but I recognize you say you have had no training (which is most of us). Pick up a book on driving faster and ensure you have a good base. And ultimately, you mentioned a key point yourself. You can’t go to this new track as often as you would like. SEAT TIME, SEAT TIME, SEAT TIME. There really are no shortcuts to getting faster.

Try this. I found it helpful. Bear in mind that the rental indoor karts most likely have differentials which means some of his thoughts probably don’t apply. For example, his method of using mini lockups to get a feel on hard braking might have a different result on a kart that doesn’t have a fixed axle. I haven’t risked putting my car in a ditch to find out, however.

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Thank you for replying. I understand what you mean. Also when you say

You mentioned that you can beat most people; however, there are more people who can keep up with you. Welcome to Motorsports. You may be discounting the experience and effort put in by those you are racing against, as well as the fact that on any given day, there are others who can be quicker.

What I mean is at the previous circuit there were only a few people who could get within 0.5 seconds of my time, where as I am >2.3 seconds slower then the record, there is more room for people to be faster then me. If I were only 0.8 seconds off the record, for example, there would be a lot less people who are faster then me.

I do tak to the people after the race but don’t normally share tips. I shall try that next time.

Thank you for replying and I shall take onboard your tips.

What about outdoor karting? Would that be different? The karts I use there are the Thunderkarts 390cc.

Pretty sure the gas outdoor karts are normal karts with fixed axles. They sure do spin easy!

Edit: I only bring this up as I am relatively new to karting as well and I spent an afternoon looking stupid at Pole Position trying to get the electric rental to rotate under braking. I later learned they have a diff which I suspect is why the back end doesn’t kick out in the same way as a fixed axle kart. That or they weigh a ton which might matter too.

One quick tip that has helped me on practice days is to create a temporary reference point to practice where I start braking, and where I release the pedal.

Something simple like putting a cone along side the track at the corner that I wanted to practice at, helps give me an easy place to start.


Hi kartp,
When trying to diagnose a possible driving problem, it’s important to step back and mentally examine the circumstances, determine exactly what you are trying to improve, and only then identify possible skill adjustments that may be needed to reach your performance improvement goals.

So, my first question would be; Is there really a problem?

You said that at track A you started 3 seconds off the pace, and then over the next month you drove somewhere between 84 & 112 sessions at the track, which saw you ending up running lap-record pace. (BRAVO!, BTW):+1:

Then you said, you recently started racing at track B, and after your first three sessions you were 2.4 seconds off the pace. You didn’t say how many sessions total you have driven at track B, but if it’s nowhere near as many as you’ve logged on track A, then there may not be a problem other than lack of time to master the track, especially when you consider the new track is a different style (fast flowing), and new karts are (20-30 MPH faster than you are used to). Anyway, it’s just something to consider.

If you feel there is a problem, then to get better, you need to keep asking questions until you get to the root cause. For example, you said you think you’re messing up in the braking zones on track B.

What braking zones;

  • All of them?
  • A particular type (shape, elevation change, corner radius that follows, etc.)?
  • Brake zones that require a particular amount of speed reduction?, Etc.?

Then you said you think you brake too early. Again, why do you think that?

  • Are people gapping you under deceleration; if so, where in the braking zone (early , mid, late)
  • Are you arriving at the turn in point at a speed that is below the tire’s limit so you entrance speed is compromised?
  • Is the kart unstable on initial braking?
  • Etc.

Once you more precisely identify the problem, then you can start digging to find out why it is happening:

  • Lack of knowledge about one or more technique
  • Misunderstanding the priorities of the task
  • Simple lack of practice (it’s not a habit yet)
  • Fear/confidence issue (you have not mentally adjusted to the faster karts/track yet)

Keep DIGGING DEEP, your experience holds the answers, but you have to want it enough to hunt
it down, grab it with both hands, and yank it into the light. :sunglasses:

It’s also important to consider what percentage of your total deficit (2.4 seconds) you can eliminate by improving what you perceive as the problem (your braking technique in this case). E.g. I think I can cut 1 second off my time by improving my braking technique. Then identify where each piece of that total improvement will come from. E.g. I think I can get 0.2 seconds in braking zone 1, 0.05 in zone 2, 0.1 in zone three, etc.

Finally, be open minded and consider other possible things that might require adjustment to meet your time improvement goal of 2.4 seconds; I doubt you’re going to make up that kind of time with just braking technique improvements. Just FYI, on a fast flowing track, you may be able to find more time in the fast (but not flat out) turns, or with more precise slip angle control on acceleration than in the braking areas.

Good Luck!

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Hey @kartp, welcome to the forums. Please update your profile to reflect your full name. Thanks!