Prepping for First Race - Advice?

Pretty much every race weekend I have been to involves the race director announcing stuff over loudspeakers. It is very easy to lose track of what’s going on with all the noise and confusion.

Make sure to look at where you stand, group wise (master tag, junior 125, whatever) in the session order. When the group ahead of you goes out, you have 10 minutes to get to pits and ready to go.

If you rely on announcements, they will get drowned out by people warming up their engines, etc.

  • Listen to everything in the drivers meeting
  • Get the schedule and memorize it
  • Put air in the tires
  • Put gas in the tank
  • Drive your line, don’t look behind
  • Dont get heated when driving
  • Enjoy your first experience :slight_smile:

It might be somewhat intimidating being new on track. Most folks dont want to be a nuisance and try to get out of the way of faster drivers.

Don’t do that, generally, unless it can be done very easily. The temptation to get offline to allow someone by leads to accidents. The faster guys will try to get around you without losing too much momentum. They would prefer if you stayed predictably on line. If you jog off line as you hear a faster kart behind you, there’s a good chance you will zigg where he is zagging.


Welcome Dave!
I first want to echo everything said above. Hold your line, point the leaders by, and get some race experience.
I remember my first race day and everything came so fast throughout the day. Don’t forget to breathe and enjoy the day. Do the work ahead of time and check every nut and bolt to limit the work at the track. HAVE FUN!!!

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I made that mistake once. Its an easy thing to overlook when you tense and a bit overwhelmed by the everything going on and the overall “race day” experience your first time.

Greg Fine’s notion of . . . Your first race is going to be more about getting comfortable with being around other karts" cannot be understated if your not used to this sort of thing during practice.

Only thing I’ll add it don’t get frustrated when the pack pulls away from you. As a new guy its gonna happen. So just expect it and its less shocking when it occurs in real time.


This might be helpful for mechanical prep and checklists.


Thanks everyone for all of the great davice! @GregF, I really appreciate the link to the checklist. As a pilot, I totally appreciate a good checklist to make sure everything is in order. Copied this to my phone and will definitely use it!

I also love the comments about running my own race. Definitely going to take that one to heart and just focus on racing clean, hitting my lines, and pushing myself to stay with the pack as much as possible. There’s no replacement for seat time and I know the speed will come eventually. Racing in SCCA ClubRally and the Rally America series was the same way. Luckily with karting, getting seat time is MUCH easier. :slight_smile:

And thanks for the tip about pointing the leaders by when/if they lap me. Didn’t know that one but it will certainly be helpful.

I’ll be sure to post a post-race debrief on how it went.


I don’t see a race listed on the SIMA schedule for those days. What’s the deal with that?

ETA, I found it here, though.

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This. A thousand times, this.

It’s ok to peek once a lap or so, at a good spot where it makes sense to look back. But, it has to be kept to a minimum and it’s usually done consistently at the same spot on track (because it makes sense to see if someone has a run there and you need to know to defend or give up).

Where it gets funky is when people nervously look around too much. This leads to very erratic driving. Observe:

Also, with karts, there is a sound change when someone is pulling on you, even with helmet on and crappy low powered karts, you feel it behind you.

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One variation of the track I run has a long left hander followed by a very tight right. Ideal line is stay all the way to the left, but that makes it SOOOO easy to pass down the inside. Even form several kart lengths back. So I look back on the straight to see if anyone’s close enough to make me defend. Or more so, how hard I should defend.


It’s looking more and more like the races this coming weekend will all be in the rain. I’ve elected to only run one class (World Formula) instead of two. A number of people suggested I only run one class my first weekend, so I chose WF as there are more racers. I’ve got a new set of rain tires ready. Should be interesting to run in the rain.

Yes it will. Rain is a great deal of fun but prepare to spin, repeatedly. It takes getting some used to. Bring a change of clothes for the drive home.
If you want to pay a lot for some plastic, get a rain suit. You will be happy for it.

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Yeah, I grabbed a rain suit when I was at the track this weekend. Also picked up a rain hood for my air filter. Does anyone RainX their helmet visor? Since this is my first race, I’ll be starting back of the grid no matter what. After watching the race in Hungary this past weekend, I’m feeling like that might be a good thing. :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:


What is that abomination, Tanguy?

@CasualCoroner yessir on the rain-x. Also, fog-x for the inside .

I used it, it would spin with the wind, keeping the visor clear

Graham Hill for reference

Michael Schumacher


We called them “Whirley visors”. They worked really well.

Make sure you have a rain cover for your air filter
ask for help tuning your carb if you need it
warm up your engine, it can be hard to start in the cold
if you have multiple visors on your helmet choose the clear one, and maybe buy some rainx too for the visor
If your helmet fogs a lot you can have it just a crack open
Bring extra clothes
All these things above are pretty easy and minor things that’ll make your day much easier, rain days can be tough if you arent prepared.
Most importantly, have fun. my 2nd time in a real kart was in the rain, I had a blast
Im not sure how much experience you have so Im not sure if youll want to make set up changes.
If you have lots of seat time just no racing, I think trying a wet setup will be helpful. If this is your first time in a kart, dont sweat it.

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One guy at NHKA uses it. He swears by it and says it works incredibly well

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TIL. I have never seen such a contraption. The Graham Hill shot is unexpected.