Kart will rotate one of two ways:
Throttle: lift or throttle reduction prior to turn in, proportionately reduces the load going through the kart and sends the energy back off the nose. The subsequent turn in can then be modified via slip angle as the lift allows you to rotate the kart beyond the turn in angle and set the turn. Think lift off oversteer.
Brake: Brake assisted rotation. Opposite of lift. Typically a “brushing” of the brakes, just prior to turn in. Literally trying to get the interlock between tire and surface to slightly release, (not a skid). Timing the brake brush to coincide with turn to push nose down and into track while back tires slightly release, rotate.
It seems to me that we drive more with throttle or brake than the steering wheel. It seems to me that the turn inputs are suggestions and that the majority of the turn involves pedal inputs. The steering wheel allows you to “tip” the mass of the kart in a new direction, but it’s the feet and how you manage the weight sloshing around, and subsequent grip, that defines the turn.
This is something I have been struggling with as a new karter. Coming from heavy sim racing this year with heavy trail braking to help rotate the car has I think hurt me.
That could be the trail bit. Karts seem to prefer shorter, harder braking. That being said, trail has its place in many corners.
If you trail, the rotation is baked into the trail as a long, slow rotation that take the karts yaw past the “set” from the turn in. It’s deliberate and involves slightly forcing the issue such that the kart yaws slightly under braking, which you control/arrest.
The other possibility is at the end of the trail, a very quick and earlier brake release followed by overlapped throttle. This might, depending upon how much loading there is, allow you to quickly rotate and additional few degrees.
If you are new to karting, forgetaboutit for now. Rotation happens naturally. Yes, it can be influenced mightily but probably not key in early stages.
I’d imagine that for now, getting inputs dialed is more important. Knowing when to brake, when and how much to throttle, is more important. Once you get that flow and timing sorted out, the ability to influence and change trajectory on the line sort of reveals itself as you accidentally discover how the kart reacts to inputs when very loaded up.
As it is only my second year, reading this scares me. I never consciously think about stuff like that on the track, could I be missing lots of potential turn in grip if i’m not thinking about it? I struggle with braking consistency, I’m very inconsistent on braking, but I tend to be on pace with the top guys. Everything you said makes sense, any action that shifts weight towards the front during turn in will increase front grip. Ive seen some videos of 90s karting where they set the kart at an angle before the turn and just kind of keep it all the way through, but I dont know how to do that
All of this comes with just driving, making mistakes, and experiencing what the kart does. You put 2+2 together.
I doubt you are missing anything. Just because you are where you are. The more you drive, the more you experience, notice, play with. All that stuff accumulates in your experiential bag of tricks.
You can try to hasten it along but in reality, seat time is scarce enough that you can’t be making huge changes all the time. Probably too much to add on top of the learning you currently are doing.
Also, As TJ has pointed out, rotation is mostly automatic, sort of inherent to our tripod way of wheelin’. At some point you’ll feel it happen and chase it down.
So am I (inconsistent). But year 2 my braking got better, year three better still etc. it’s a good sign that you are on pace. That means you fundamentally “get it” and are likely doing things correctly. You’ll get sharper and sharper as you get more and more control of the kart. Eventually, it will seem slow.
Yep, It’s how you use the pedals and the wheel together that make the difference.
Some good info here. I think I have been keeping grip out of the front end where I have a push friendly setup which makes sense for the way I drive. Might have to throw some front grip at it next track day and try less braking. I almost always rotate with the brakes and release when I get to my desired trajectory. But I watch a lot of national/euro guys and they are damn near sliding through the corner without actually countersteering.
I think I’m close. But my natural reaction to feeling a slide is to automatically try to catch it. Then I have to turn in again and it starts to become dirt track sliding at that point.
I suspect if you need to catch it before it becomes a slide, maybe it’s the rate at which you have initiated rotation? Too assertive?
I drive an understeer style as well but I am discovering that relying on the induced understeer sort of affects your run out of the corner. It’s really effective for getting yourself down to the apex, but I wonder if it’s not causing problems unwinding at apex. Feels like it’s easy to understeer push consistently too hard into corners. It looks and feels good, though.
In one sentence you explained how to intiate rotation and catch it more concisely and clearly than me. Release of brake arrests rotation. It’s that simple. That and the simultaneous throttle sends load back down the middle of the kart, fully killing it.
Granted that rotation is about more than the steering wheel, but that said, I give the steering inputs themselves a little more credit than what is above. It’s not just the angle/amount of the steering input, but how FAST that input happens which can make a big difference to rotation, imho.
Particularly in faster karts (not so much rental/206, but in some cases even then), breaking the rear loose with an exaggerated/quick steering input can add quite a different dimension to cornering. Depending on the corner this can be done at the entrance (tight and fast decreasing radius corners), mid-corner (slow speed corners), or not at all (most sweepers).
I feel like you can feel the slip before it happens. I also see some euro drivers rotating the kart before the turn, and just going kind of straight through the turn. Wouldn’t work for low powered karts but maybe helps DD karts?
Truth. Fast direction changes vs slow drawn change out is hugely relevant. The steering inputs matter big time, but mainly to get you started. Hopefully one input is enough all the way to track out.
Short sharp rotations require faster hands, greater force.
Here’s a fun one…have you experienced any anticipatory actions that just happen? Mid-turn, for example, for some reason you go off-script and do something you didn’t consciously intend to do, but it’s purposeful and the turn works out just fine.
Eventually I figured it out with some help from warren. I was anticipating potential loss of traction and automatically compensating mid-turn. Warren suggested my odd adjustments mid turn were me subconsciously fixing a problem that had not occurred yet but was imminent. And, he was correct.
Wierd stuff, man. So yeah, I feel it before it happens. Sometimes, unconsciously. Anticipatory inputs. I guess if you repeat something often enough, any little deviation becomes very noticeable and you automatically try to correct.
Another variation on this is that if you are driving with intention (your inputs are based on a clear plan for each turn – where and how quickly the kart will rotate in the turn, and how the tires will be loaded to make the rotation happen, and manage it once it does), then the reaction of “feeling it before it happens” becomes a prediction (you know it’s coming because you intentionally caused it; you’re not waiting trying to sense if ‘it’ is going to happen).
Driving by intention and prediction/expectation allows the adjusting for all the little variations that inevitably occur when executing you plan to become completely automated, and that elevates confidence and frees up mental resources for racecraft, or evaluating your setup, or ??
That’s a good point. Were chasing a feeling on track. We know what the turn should feel like and deliberately trying to duplicate that feeling. If a mosquito buzzes at your ear, you swat it instinctively. Same with a turn, particularly one you know well.
I think that the one thing that this thread is missing is talking about how the driver can use his/her body as a bracer to help the kart turn. @Terence_Dove or @tjkoyen, can explain the concept better than I can.
Seeing that the driver can act as a stressed member, you can help the kart turn by locking your arm and pressing down on the steering wheel in some corners.
We’re chasing a feeling on track until we become aware of the sequence of actions (driving inputs) required to produce that feeling. Once we start driving those actions, then we stop chasing and start creating the feeling.
Interesting! This I had not heard about. Makes sense, though. I am guessing you could affect flex at the waist of the frame.
Are you saying that once you have achieved mastery of the inputs to the extent that you have a workable, repeatable plan, you then begin to drive to the “feel” of that increasingly familiar sequence of actions? I would agree.
With infinite laps repeating the same turn ad nauseum to perfection, you’d arrive at an interesting mental state.
That’s what the heel stops are for. They aren’t for resting your feet. Try sitting in a kart on the scales, and pushing hard into the wheel and on the heel stop and check out how the weight changes. Also do it with the lasers on the kart and see how much you can change the geometry just by pushing on the wheel.
Just quickly off the top of my head, I can think of four ways induce rotation in a kart. Obviously turning the steering wheel is one. Then you can brake to induce rotation, or you can apply throttle to induce rotation. Each of your available inputs can increase or decrease rotation depending on how you use them. And the fourth is using your actual body mass as Davin said. Leaning laterally or longitudinally, or pressing on the corners of the kart (heel stops or top of the seat) will induce some flex in the kart and can affect how the kart rotates.
With my drivers I talk often about “leaning” the kart into the corner, where you’re mostly using your body english to flex the kart, specifically in a fast corner where there is minimal braking. Sure, there is some wheel input to turn the kart, but I can think of a few corners where my focus is less on turning the wheel and more on getting my shoulders up and into the seat stays, and having my heels digging into the stops to get the kart to rotate. Turn 4 along the trees at USAIR, turn 1 at Dousman, several corners at New Castle.
That’s a whole new level. I have been using weight. But mainly just throwing my weight a bit to get the initial little bite. But I’m still so new I forget. Or will be trying something else and forget to combine the two. Next race is this weekend and I have so much to try. It’s going to come together. When…that’s a whole different question.
I always go out to try things people here talk about. Then I get in the heat of battle and retreat back to driving it like a car.