Passing help

So let’s discuss momentum and passing a bit. As you guys can see, in my first race, I was bogged down a lot behind slower drivers and really clueless about what to do about it. I was braking super early and lifting and generally going 2-3 secs a lap slower than I’d like.

I have been watching the video of a really good driver and it appears they go about passing in a very aggressive way.
Once he gets momentum he keeps it. Two wheels on the grass? No problem, inside kamikaze, no problem. He gets around the slower driver usually without missing a beat.

Problem is, I’m not 14 and it looks insanely risky.
I get it that I have to capitalize on the speed I have and that slowing down is ultimately a bad thing. But, where to begin?

I am guessing a first start would be to not lift or brake early because someone is ahead of me. Maybe I should carry the speed right up to their butt and if possible, carry on and squeeze into a gap and trust that they will see me before they decide to turn in?

The only other alternative appears to be to match their speed, ride their tail, and hope they screw up. This is what I imagine it’s like with two drivers of the same pace, generally.

Is there a third option? One that doesn’t involve putting yourself and others at risk, but also not consigning yourself to a protracted game of wait for the mistake while the leaders get further and further ahead?

Fast kid for reference blowing by slower guys…
First pass 4:20, 6:02: 6:28, 8:00, 9:54 etc

Experience. Experience. Experience.

The way to aviod getting bogged down by super slow drivers is thinking where you are going to make your move well before it happens. If you can catch them you can pass them. You have to know where your spots are.

There’s always a degree of risk when passing that there could be contact, but it’s all confidence, which comes with experience. If the other driver sees you they can’t drive through you.

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Like Joey, said it just takes practice and experience to build the confidence to drive past someone.

A lot of people get hung up in their head about having to get by the other driver, but I always try to remind my drivers that you only need to get next to the other guy and beat him to the apex. For me at least, it feels much more achievable when you break it down like that, because all you have to do is brake 5 feet later and get into his peripheral vision and 9 times out of 10, the corner is yours.

Even when you’re dead even on lap time with another driver, there will be a point in the track where he is weaker than you and vice versa. At that point, it becomes a challenge of making sure you’re in the correct position to lunge when he’s weakest. It’s chess and a knife fight combined.

Don’t be afraid to screw up and rub pods a little. All of us have made accidental contact when learning to overtake, it’s the only way to find the limit.

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Ok thanks for the input.
One of the frustrations I have is that in order to get alongside someone, I need momentum to do so. If I find myself braking or lifting as I approach someone into a corner (so as not to run into them) all I am doing is matching my speed to theirs and on corner exit, I have no oomph.

I guess what Joey is saying is that if I can see myself closing on a driver, maybe think ahead as to where I’m likely to cross paths with him and try to time that for corner exit or a straight as opposed to mid chicane. Maybe give up a bit of pace to set up for a fast exit and zoom alongside in a manageable bit of track?

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Exactly, that sort of thinking is what we call “racecraft”. :beers:


For sure one of the more difficult things to learn. I am older and also new to karting and it about commitment to the overtake. Not easy thing to grasp when your also working on all the other skills. I struggle with it and it can be super frustrating.

It also crazy how some people have zero spatial awareness when they drive. Club racer hero ready to send you to the trees when your already fully committed!

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Actually, that was one of the best pieces of advice about overtaking that I ever got.
“Pretend that the person in front of you is blind, and put your kart in a space where you can get by and they can’t touch you.”

That thinking has helped me make fewer low probability passes, because I look out if the person should be able to see me while I’m making the move.

That doesn’t mean that sometimes I don’t just throw it in and see if they turn anyway, that’s a tip that helped me.

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Pretty sage advise. I know an F1 driver with a kart chassis brand that could have used it :joy: