Logging setup/race info for a beginner/cadet

Hi folks,
First time posting in these forums.
Kart dad and crew chief for an 11 year old, in an older Birel cadet kart using a Briggs LO206 with red slide.
We started with this kart about half way through last season. We had a somewhat late start to this season due to Covid, and we are now half way through. Prior to this, my son raced a few years in caged circle track karts(Champ). He really enjoys it. We have no illusions of being the next Lewis Hamilton, but we always desire to improve when possible.
Being 11, we are working on things that he can articulate to me to help with setup etc. He is solidly mid pack and improving.
As he’s learning, I’m learning with the wrench. Now that he’s getting consistent on the course, I think logging setup info is important.
What information are you documenting with your young racer? I notice there are a few android apps out there that allow you to organize that info, do you like one in particular? Go with a notebook too?
What techniques are you using to reliably to get the info? More importantly, how are you using the info at the track and at home to perfect your setup. What tools are you using?

Currently I have a very good tire pressure gauge. Kart has a mychron5, with rpm lead. I have a temp sensor for the spark plug(CHT?), I’ve read mixed things as to whether that temp is useful or even legal to use. I have some flat plates to use to figure out toe. Bathroom scales to figure corner weights(not the most reliable, but better than nothing).

Certainly seat time is the most important thing for him. Is there anything he can do to help learn on track techniques and line? Would a go pro or similar provide worthwhile info(he’d love to have one I’m sure)? Where do you mount it? I’m not a fan of helmet mounts as I think it can point load the helmet during an impact.

Garbage in and garbage out, if the info isn’t accurate, it’s not of much use. We are both rookies in this endeavor, so many things may be too advanced for our current level. What was important to you, or what do you wish you learned earlier?

Thank you for your time.

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I’ve been a big fan of the EGT for 35 years. In my opinion, the CHT is only useful as a guide, if at all. The EGT tells you what’s going on inside the engine. If you want to do a search on my name, you’ll find I’ve written about it often. Bob’s 4 cycle is another place to look.

Bathroom scales will do just fine. You want to be sure they’re all level of course. It’s not so much the exact readings that you get, but how you interpret those readings. So what if one corner, or even all of them, is off a little. If the kart handles

with those weights, that’s what you go with next time. There is a caveat; you can’t worry about your readings matching anybody else’s, especially someone with a purpose built weighing system.
I sell software (Excel) for calculating corner weights. It comes with a set up sheet and a, what I would call, a matching, manually filled in, set up sheet that matches the computerized one. I include a set of utilities (45 pages strong) for all kinds of kart related calculations. It’s called, “Nine Sheets”.
The set up sheet might be a little overwhelming. There are a lot of things you should keep track of.
Lots of things to buy if you want to get real serious. Chief amongst those; air density gauge, tire temperature gauge, tire pressure gauge, EGT and a few more.

I ask that we please keep suggestions to ones that are applicable to the situation of the person asking for help.

EGT is not permitted for Briggs 206 and is better suited to two strokes vs low output four strokes where CHT is the commonly used and accepted method.

For 206, CHT is the most commonly used measurement. It gives a general sense of where the engine is in terms of it’s operating range. But the 206 also has a wide window of performance.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of data you track. You’re probably already logging laptimes, so that’s a solid start.

A camera can be a great datalogger, especially for racecraft. I’m pretty high tech, but there’s something about a notebook or clipboard that makes jotting the data down less awkward for me. It’s really a case of seeing what works better for. You could even video a conversation with your kid.

Do you have a sense of where you might see the biggest improvement in performance right now… If you do, that might give some clues on where to start logging.

Cold and hot tire pressures are important to document. Combined with track temperature you can proactively change your cold pressures.

Buy Terence Dove how to master the art of kart driving.

Read it together

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Ooh that’s a good suggestion. @Seth_Achilles if your son is mid-pack and moving forwards, he’s probably developing as a driver quickly. Data is great and everything but how’s his driving generally? What does he understand/ doesn’t understand?
It could be that he might benefit more at this stage from coaching as opposed to chasing variables like pressures, tuning etc. Has he spoken up about where he feels his deficits are?

“Certainly seat time is the most important thing for him. Is there anything he can do to help learn on track techniques and line?”

Sim. The more tracks you get good at the more “lines” you have in your pocket… ie: “Aha1!..this turn is just like t3 at AMP.” If you look at sim as a skill building thing, it’s effective.

Would a go pro or similar provide worthwhile info(he’d love to have one I’m sure)?

Yes. I film everything. I watch my races etc and then try to have @tjkoyen then review. Ongoing process. So basically TJ identifies where my race craft is questionable and tries to have me see the engagements a bit differently.

Where do you mount it? I’m not a fan of helmet mounts as I think it can point load the helmet during an impact."

In my case I go for the helmet top since we are allowed. I think it’s a very stable and versatile angle. The other options that are popular involve mounting towards the top of the faring and on the radiator. Both are shaky so you’d need a hero 5 or better with image stabilization.

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Out of curiosity who uses CHT on a 206? I’ve never run one on any of ours as I wasn’t sure what we’d learn, and also it raises the plug out of the combustion chamber sacrificing precious compression.

Flip side, used it often on methanol flatheads to adjust jets based off the temp.

Camera definitely, I film as much as I can. For example it was only by watching footage I noticed I repeatedly entered a couple of turns not wide enough - even though I’d swear my line was good without looking at footage, next time out consciously went wider and gained some time.

@Bimodal_Rocket I must hook up with @tjkoyen to get some similar advice. I’ve been getting so much better since I started using a decent rib vest, I’m concentrating so much more on driving than trying to not be in pain :sweat_smile: now is the time I’d get maximum benefit from solid advice

I thought I did answer all his questions.
The rule not allowing the EGT in the L0206 class is a serious mistake. To me, allowing one and not the other is ridiculous.

I think any attempt (other than vulgarities, and lying etc. etc.) to ban free speech is a mistake.

Should I consider that to be part of the rules, you can only answer, specifically, the question at hand? No random thoughts? No other advice? No trying to expand on the question? Keep it question specific?

I would just like to better understand what is and isn’t allowed.

I suspect that you would derive much benefit. Tj mostly works on racecraft with me currently. Unless I do something technically dumb which he also points out.

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For him, I think a camera would be money well spent. Assuming I can overlay the data on something like race render(if that still exists). I think for him to see where carrying momentum helps is a big start.
I come from a rally and hillclimb background. He has been a racing junkie since birth. So he understands concepts pretty well. I struggle with applying my racing knowledge to karts. He has a ps4 and has all but worn out gran turismo, dirt 2.0, project cars 2 and a few others. I think video replay would help him greatly, but I think the data to see why lap A was better than lap B is important.
He has steadily improved. His last two events, he won his heat, but with a front row starting position. With clear air in front he does quite well. Dealing and adjusting to traffic is the bigger challenge. Winning the heat puts him in back for the feature, and he can claw his way back up, but could do better on starts/restarts. The kids in class are all pretty close. The track is 17 second laps with large elevation change. In general they are within 0.1 or 0.2 seconds of each other on most nights. Trying to be objective, I’d say my son is the slower of the mid pack kids on shear best lap time, but a bit more consistent and making up time that way.

As to mechanical stuff. I’m still learning a lot. I had an early buy in on corner weights from his circle track kart. I think he’s in the right ballpark there, but don’t know it for certain. I think tire adjustments are where I really need to focus my learning. Next I’d say is just understanding chassis adjustments. I’m not super worried about engine/power, as I think the lo206 is less of a factor than engines in other classes. I “think” I’m ok there.
I think having the frame of reference to know what the tire changes will do, and to be able to learn how track conditions change during the night and adjust to them.
To be honest, it’s less about improving results now. It will be more important to him as he gets older. I just assume educate ourselves together now so we have a working baseline.
I appreciate all the advice on ALL the subjects offered. I really need to spend some time here and read up.

Is tenting with a team financially an option? You would have experienced folks helping make sure you run as fast as possible. You’d get there eventually on your own just by asking questions and observing though.

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Can confirm. Use it all the time. Buuuuuuuuut… I cannot get my hero 5 or 6 to get useful telemetry data. Not enough satellites constantly. The hero 7 seems to connect 95% of the time, however.

If you do get a camera, buy the latest if you can, at least with gopro. It really does seem that the gps is better 7 onwards.

Edit: or pull the data manually from the mychron as opposed to using the gopro telemetry. The mychron data is always good as far as I can tell. You then line up the data with the footage in racerender.

I get a little bit of that benefit now, as we bought our kart used from one of the tracks more active members, who is now selling new karts. We are looking to get into an adult size kart for next season through them. They’ve been very good with sharing, and helping as needed(as have other dad’s in our class). Buying a new kart will be a stretch for us, so financially we are not in a position to do a lot extra this season. Seems important to mention that I’ve worked in professional racing (rally and rallycross) the last 6 years, but with Covid, currently not doing much aside from karting (a non technical field if you couldn’t guess :wink: ) I still have that resource of many of my co-workers. Some of which have been a tremendous help. Long story short, discretionary spending is limited at the moment.

Good to know Racerender is still a thing. Used to be a pain to sync data to video, but was able to figure out a way reliably. I think if the mychron is on video, that would aid in syncing. Has anyone used the cambox helmet visor cam?
I’d think view of hands and feet would be important and I’m not sure that is easy to do.

Tj did a few vids with cam box. Problem is many places banned it since it’s internal to the helmet, I think. If your track is indifferent, it seems like a useful thing.

Cam box footage from TJ: the purple splash is because it’s behind his colored visor:

Hero 7 helmet mounted with racerender:

Curiously the top of helmet option seems to give a better view of feet. Barely though. And you don’t look like this:

Welcome to the forum. You’re starting out like many of us. The son has to learn to drive and race. You have to learn to wrench and analyze data. GoPro’s are a good idea. Look on eBay for one with a display on the back. Mount it as high as possible on the fairing. You should be able to capture foot and tire movements. There is a free program, RaceRender, that allows you to join Mychron data with the video.
AiM has over a 100 videos on YouTube and is currently doing two webinars a week. Great place to lean how to get the max out of your data. Yesterday’s webinar was co-hosted by Eric Gunderson of Point Karting. He’s an AiM dealer and a driver coach that seems to work with younger LO206 drivers.
Good luck and enjoy the time you spend with your son.

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It still is but there’s a “wizard” now. I try to synchronize the data with crossing start finish over the first few laps. It generally does a fine job. If the gps data is messed up and the gps path looks wrong (not the shape of the track), you have to ignore the gopro data as it is no good. In this scenario, you could choose to pull in the mychron data instead, though more involved.

Never played with RaceRender, I’ll give it a go.

You can also export your GPS trace from race studio into google earth