N00b karter - Rental Tips and Tricks

Good Afternoon folks,

New karter here. I have just been invited to join the racing competition at the local Rental track. I’ve karting a total of 5 times and twice at this track. I’m about 2 seconds off the pace of the fastest ever lap on a 700m track. As part of the first race meeting I have been offered some free driver training and practice session, which will be a great help.

Here are my questions:

1st I slide and bump around a bit on the seat, for those who also race in Rental kart leagues, other than getting some rib guards, is there anything else I could do to stop this?

2nd In my second session (of two) I had a lot of trouble with the lens of the helmet fogging up. Unfortunately, I don’t have my own helmet yet, so is there anything I can do with the provided helmets that would stop them from fogging up?

3rd Any tips or tricks you wish you knew when you first started out?

Thanks in advance for any assistance.

Welcome.

  1. Getting a seat insert of some kind is really your only other course of action.
  2. Crack open the shield of the helmet a bit, and that should help the fogging. Also, rubbing a little dish soap on the inside of the shield helps too.
  3. Just have fun!
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Thanks for the response TJ! I’ll look into the inserts.
Re the helmet, they were pretty clear during the safety brief that the visor should stay down while on track. But, I would think being able to see would be a good enough reason to have it open a touch.

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If you can swing it but yourself a helmet. Who knows how that rental helmet has been treated. Do you want to trust your head in that? Helmets are made for 1 impact only. That includes being dropped. You may not see it on the exterior but the foam inside may be degraded… Trust me on this. My wife is an ER nurse and told me about a time they x-rayed a kids bike helmet after a crash because the parents wouldn’t throw it out. The foam had spider like cracks through it even though it looked pretty good on the outside. My kids know the rule, if the helmet gets dropped it gets thrown out. We can’t afford a new helmet so they treat them like eggs… you only get one brain and getting your own helmet will alleviate your fogging issue too!
Good luck.

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Some Balaclavas could help reduce fogging. I just leave mine closed onto a bit of fuel line split and stuck in the visor edge you want about a 1/16" to 1/8" gap. A big problem with rental helmets at the visors are so scratched. Last visor I changed I gave the old one to the track as is was better then their on the rentals and mine took a barricade to the face shield.
You might be able to clean the rental visor. Even better would be get you own shield and swap it for the race. Just make sure the track knows it is yours. HJC helmets are not very expensive or some others on sale. Just get something you can find shields for.
Myself and another guy I copied off of use a ski vest (PFD) to take up the space in the seat. It doesn’t let you scoot to the outside, but in quick left/right/left/right action I find it helps. That is over a rib vest not in place of in my case. You have to deal the look and the heat though.

Thanks @Brianf60 and @Mike_Clark My own helmet is definitely on the cards, however, I’m not sure it will happen before my first meet due to other cost (bills :frowning:) that will need to be paid.
The ski vest is a good idea. I’ll look into those.

It is hard to find a vest that has back, side and front panels. Most have a front/back. The back and sides are what make you fit the seat.

I would get my rib protector, gloves, helmet and neck brace before trying a ski vest. I use nomex gloves and shoes as I had them, but not necessary. I do feel gloves in rentals may be beneficial from a strictly safety perspective. Heat and palms don’t do well.

Some places have helmets on sale and even clearance. Just make sure the certifications are adequate for the tracks requirements.

Thank you Mike. I have some OMP gloves on their way. They have neck braces at the track and I will use their ones for at least the first meet. If I am still keen to race after that meet, I’ll invest in more equipment. I got an old pair of converse that are a special edition with really flexible soles. They are my go to shoes for any driving.

I was thinking in chopping up some yoga mat to put behind my back.

Been there. Duct tape and yoga mat. It’s not ideal but works. The only true answer is to buy a kart and get your own seat :crazy_face:.

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Academy has this cushion, relatively cheap and no yoga mat has to die
https://www.academy.com/shop/pdp/academy-sports-outdoors-seat-cushion#repChildCatid=1617218
Last race I was in we ran 1 & 2 in the prefinal and both of us were on the podium in the final as far as the life vest wearing pair were concerned.

re:If I am still keen to race after that meet
smart thinking - make sure you like it before investing

I think you mentioned being 2 seconds off -
I am saying this not to be negative, but just to help you realize it easier.
As you start closing in on you gap it will become progressively harder to reduce time, for several reasons. Diminishing returns.
In every class there are guys that have been at it a while, even in rentals. Every niche has it’s specialist.
My problem with rentals has been getting crashed into. It ends when I retaliate. I hate to have to do it, but it is what it is. I don’t have a problem with mistakes. I don’t have a problem with a bump. I do have a problem with consistently being beat on. If the officials are not going to solve it you have several choices including not race, put up with it or solve it yourself.
Best solution is to get faster and get nearer the front.

Thanks again Mike. While I’m excited to give it a go I’m not expecting to be anything other than a back runner. What I’m really looking forward to is the driver training. I never had any race training and hoping to get some practical race theory under my belt. I’m a tactile learner, so race theory in books and on youtube don’t make sense to me. I need to feel and experience things for me to learn them. The training is the main reason I’m going to be honest :stuck_out_tongue:

Consider giving KartKaft or other sims a try?

Morning (at least it is here in Australia) James. Good idea re the sims. I’ll check it out more if I’m thinking of continuing after my first meet :slight_smile:

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I cant recommend Kartkraft highly enough. Its my favorite sim. It’s so simple and well done. It is just like the real thing, or very close.

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Well, me saying I wasn’t going to get my own helmet didn’t last long. I’ve done 2 trackdays and had borrowed a helmet for those days from my Father-in-law. I just bought that helmet off him, as it was a spare one that he bought for my mother-in-law but she never used. Other than the 2 times I’ve used it it’s completely new.

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I will be going on track today for two 10min sessions. I’ll be aiming to death grip the wheel less, stay calm and smooth out my inputs. Current best lap time is 41.9s (lap record is 39.3, gotta aim for something right?). Hoping to drop my lap a bit. Here is a overhead shot of the track:

The run down on my sessions today:

Less death grip: check
Calmer on track: check, was a lot less worn out after the sessions. I have been working on my cardio fitness. I feel this may’ve helped too.
Smoother inputs: I feel I was driving better and was more mindful lines and inputs

So how did that all effect my lap times? I was .1 of a second quicker. First session I used as a warm up to refamiliarise myself with the track. Second session was time to put everything into practice. Frustratingly, the kart I was given in the second session had rubbish tyres. It was understeering, overstreering and even no-steering.
On a positive note, although I was only marginally quicker I was more consistent doing a 41.8 and two 41.9s and the rest 42.1s and 42.2s. Due to this my average time around track dropped by 2 seconds! Take a win where you can get it :rofl:

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Nice work. Progress!
I sympathize with the kart variability. My rental for quali and pre had brakes and turned ok. The one I had in final had no brakes and made funny noises and shook a lot when turning. Still a lot of fun.

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Hi Robert, for me the cheapest solution to your problem 1 is the following. You get thrown through your seat because your weight is thrown from left to right in the bends, right? When you turn left, your body is pushed to the right and vice versa. Don’t fight it but use it. Normally the seats in a rental are wider than your body so you can move. Before the turn, move your body so that you sit at the outside of your seat. If you turn left, you sit at the right. Then, push with your hands on your steering wheel to push you into the seat. The advantages are threefold:

  1. You don’t get thrown through your seat anymore, so no bruises and more control

  2. You feel the kart better (with you arms and your *ss) so you have better control of the kart

  3. You get more sense of the forces that interact with the kart. Understanding these are vital to go fast.

Good luck and let me know if it helps!

Edit: I replied to the opening post. I just realized that the question I replied to is 24 days old. Sorry about that.

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Also, see if you can get seat pads for your seat. Helps you move around a bit less.

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