I wanted to kickstart a new thread dedicated to discussing and sharing racecraft tips in karting.
I’ve got a few questions for the seasoned drivers out there…
When it comes to racing, how do you fine-tune your carburetor for optimal performance?
Are you regularly monitoring your MyChron temperatures, and if so, where and how do you aim to hit that peak temperature just before entering a corner?
Any advice on managing those nerve-wracking moments when you’re following another driver into a corner, trying to avoid a bumper-to-bumper situation due to differing braking points?
I recently had an incident myself and would love some insights.
I dont have much on #1 but for 2, and i’m sure @fatboy1dh will scold me for it. But I will almost always drag the brake a hair earlier to extend the gap into a brake zone when i’m tight behind someone. I usually have a different line and braking style than those I race with so by opening the gap a little on entry I avoid hitting them mid corner and tend to stay right back with them on exit.
This would depend on what you are running as some carbs can’t be adjusted on the fly. For those that can I would say check the EGT temp as it should rise with rpms, but also go by what you are experiencing. Plug check can work too. On my KA I have found seat of the pants is most telling. It doesn’t like lean.
Not sure I fully understand your situation but some degree of rubbing is to be expected or basicly required. However, if someone brake checks you to trigger the pushbacks then a post race discussion might be in order. If you aren’t pushing the issue you likely aren’t going to be able to pass anyone so staying back to avoid contact is likely going to only handicap you.
When im bumper to bumper going into a corner, i usually let off the throttle slightly before the braking zone. I keep my braking point the same. The 2 to 3 feet you “lose” i feel like you’re able to get back at the corner exit since you have a better chance of keeping your momentum, instead of running into the guy and both of you getting flustered.
In general, i have this rule with myself where if i have the pace to catch up to a guy but cant execute a clean pass, i just bump draft them until an opportunity arrises. They get a small boost, i give them a little “hey man, im right behind you, lets get going.” I dont bump them going into a corner, but using the method above ive found it kind of punks them out a little bit knowing they have someone right behind them.
Hey mate, great initiative to start a thread on racecraft tips! It’s an important aspect of karting that can make a huge difference on the track.
For carburetor tuning, it can be quite a specific and sometimes complex process, as it depends on your engine and conditions. To get the most accurate and up-to-date guidance, I’d recommend checking out Kartclass. They’ve got a blog post covering “How to tune your carburetor” that can give you valuable insights and tips.
Now, monitoring MyChron temperatures is key to ensuring your engine is running optimally. You generally want to aim for peak temperatures right before entering a corner to get the most power and response. The exact numbers can vary depending on your engine, so referring to your engine’s manual or seeking advice from experienced drivers and mechanics can be super helpful.
As for those nerve-wracking moments when you’re tailing another driver into a corner, it’s all about finding the right balance. Try to gauge their braking points and anticipate any sudden moves. Smooth and precise driving is crucial in these situations to avoid any unwanted contact. Learning racecraft is a continuous process, and Kartclass can be a fantastic resource for that too. They offer courses, including a free one, that covers mastering racecraft techniques. And don’t forget to dive into their blog articles for more karting tips.
Remember, karting is as much about skill as it is about learning from others and continuous improvement. So, keep the questions coming and enjoy the journey of becoming a better kart racer!
In the last race of the season, on the last turn (a hairpin), I was in the lead and the second place driver did just this causing me to finish third. They were penalized and I was initially awarded first and then it was changed to second because the third place person wasn’t at fault and they were awarded first. I definitely want to learn more racecraft. Funny thing is that @highSRT and I were chatting about racecraft before the race and I thought there was no way I would be in that position.
Bump and Run - basically a no no, but they are still learning.
Over Under - They can predict when the inside guy is about to cook it.
Juke/Fake out? - Going down to the inside before a passing zone hoping to force the leader to block (not defend) and open back up again. I think with the young ones, this is not their intention, they are just trying to get around.
I’ve identified ‘kart control’ as a major thing for me. I can run an isolated lap decently and correct slides and all that you typically think of when talking about control, but it takes a whole other level of control to be able to run quickly off-line or when suddenly having to change your line in response to another driver. I think that is because most of my laps are getting pretty consistent, so when the kart slides or just doesn’t react to inputs quite like usual, I am more anticipating (because I have been in that slide in that turn) than reacting. Off-line though, I don’t have the experience in those situations to anticipate the kart’s dynamics. I have found that I can only anticipate what I’ve experienced already, and that level of experience is shallow because I needed to focus to heavily on just driving the right line.
For example, I tried an inside pass on another driver and totally overcooked the turn, blew the apex, and lost an additional place to the guy behind me. Several laps later (40 minute rental league), one of the top runners made the exact same pass on me. His kart just seemed to stick so much better than mine, but it had nothing to do with the kart and everything to do with driving. I started practicing that passing line and found out I had severely under-braked my pass. I had braked extra because I was passing on the inside, but I just underestimated how much I’d need to. So I knew what to do (brake extra, turn-in point, etc), but actually getting it done RIGHT was something else.
For #1 it’s going to vary by engine type, and may be based on what your engine builder recommends. Really it’s about having a consistent and repeatable measure. For example, in an X30 you may have a target number at a specific rpm just below the rev limiter, as the limiter can distort the EGT reading. In something like a KZ you’ll want to use a reference point that is in the same gear, typically 6th gear at the end of the longest straight. In either example I would monitor your EGT temps periodically during each session, and review in the paddock after each session. Once you have a baseline the adjustments should be minor to stay on target.
For #2 the first piece of advice I would offer is to expect the unexpected. When following someone close you can’t assume that they are going to brake at a certain point, or even at the same point every time, so being prepared to react is necessary. As others have mentioned, you can allow a small margin so as to prevent contact going into the corner. Though thinking out loud here, if you’re that close to someone then you may as well just pass them
This is why I’ve started really thinking about off-line control. I might be able to expect the unexpected, but then I also have to be able to do something about it. That ‘doing’ part is where experience and skill really shine.
My read of the above is that you are saying “I am starting to get pretty good but it requires my full attention and going off script rattles me a bit”. Is that accurate?
Where I need help is getting better at having a bigger picture view and working towards that rather than just having blinders on and passing. I need to figure out when it’s more productive to not pass.
I’m very new, just started this spring. I had done a couple rentals and track days prior, but I’ve always struggled with being able to pick up head knowledge much faster than talent/reflexes. Or rather, picking up talent slower than head knowledge, haha.
My one and only race this year, I qualified 14th of 29 which I was really happy with, but I started dropping a couple positions during the pre-final. Then I got taken out with a cheapshot (I was at the apex, and a heavy guy just dove straight into me). It was some consolation that they did actually give him a penalty since the aftermath caused another guy to DNF, but in the final, I had a decently bent axle from that and was pretty rattled, so I took my time. It was especially frustrating when I caught two guys who were slower, but the guy in front of me could not pass the guy in front of him. I was too timid at that point to try to pass them both since that would pretty much take a dive bomb, and they drafted strongly on straights.
Between the tires, gas, axle, and some collateral repairs, it ended up costing me almost a grand for a pretty disheartening day. I doubled done on practice sessions and skipped the rest of the races. There’s a race coming up in a month that I am toying with running now that I’ve practiced a lot more.
I am curious though, what’s the group’s consensus on how to pass 2+ karts that are in drafting groups? Do I wait until I can skip them all and go to the front of their group or try to split them up and pass one at a time? The problem with the latter is you must rely on someone giving you space to slot in unless you just catch that guy falling off, otherwise you are hung out to dry and may even get passed by the guy who was behind you. I feel like I know the answer is “just grow a pair and send it!”, but someone doing just that cost me a lot of money last time…
I forget if it was in qualifying or one of the races, but I did just this. The guy braked hard into a turn I take flat, and I was not expecting that. I had even feathered my brakes to get some separation when he kept slowing, but he just had a totally different approach I wasn’t prepared for. I talked to him after the race and apologized. I didn’t want anyone thinking I was treating it like a derby, and he was completely understanding. I probably didn’t have to say anything, but it was a hard hit and unintentional, and I was the ‘new guy’.