Thoughts I need to get out

I went to a driver training day, put on by our club, who got a National champion along to give us a tune up. In conversation through the day he said 2 things that have really made me think differently about Karting.

The first was, that once he has his kart in the window he rarely makes changes on race day.
The second was, that he had never seen a change on a kart give over .5 a second improvement.

On his first comment- Obviously he does make changes, I’ve seen him do it. (via facebook, I’m not that cool)
I think the point he was making, was that it was more about him driving to what the kart was capable of, rather than tuning the kart to suit him.
I think we all get that driving technique is probably the most important thing in karting over every other factor. It is so easy to come in and say “the kart was over steering” rather than " I was driving crap". But it was great to hear a national champion say that, rather than making changes to the kart that you need to make changes in you.

The second comment - basically reinforcing that driving technique was the most important thing. BUT once you’ve got your kart in the window that is comfortable for you to drive, just drive. Because if you are chasing more than a couple of 10ths you are not going to find it in a chassis change
I have done this myself, spent all weekend chasing the kart only to come back to the setting I had at the start of the weekend. I recently went to an event with this in mind and didn’t change a thing all weekend. Except that I changed the kart from hard to soft (still in my window) and went out and did the same lap time.
I pitted next to some guys who were throwing changes at the kart every heat, Dads do this a lot, if he had just let the kid drive the thing they would have had a way better weekend and been in the same position.

I have come to love the saying “Seconds in a driver 10th’s in a chassis and 100th’s in a Motor”
It is probably a hard thing for racers to accept, but if you are not within a .5 second of the leader its got nothing to do with the kart and everything to do with the driver.


Well said by that guy, National Champ for sure.

When I am tuning and coaching, I don’t make any big chassis tweaks until we are within .5. Because as your national champion said, until you’re that close, there’s still lots to be found in your driving. I’ve known a few drivers over my career who would always come in after a session and say “don’t change anything, it’s just my driving. I’ll just drive it different.”

I barely change anything on the kart all weekend. We are almost always at or near the factory baseline setup. Sometimes I’ll come in and we’ll be a few tenths off and my dad or mechanic will want change a bunch of stuff and I just have to say “leave it for now, I need to sort a few corners out.”

Humility goes a long way! Being able to admit those mistakes will not only save you a bunch of time and headache throwing useless changes at the kart, but it will make you a better, more adaptable driver in the long run too.


I always say 3 tenths. I must be too mean a driver coach.

The only caveat I add to the seconds tenths thousands mantra is tires. A bad set of tires can just screw everything up.

A lot of teams, tuners and parents go into panic mode at somepoint in the weekend and change everything. For different reasons, usually for teams and tuners its because they feel they need to be seen doing something or aren’t confident they know what they are doing whereas most of the time for parents its a failure to believe their kid is perfect (this is always the case, just generalising).

I would say most of the major kart manufacturers are now at the point were you can slap a kart on the ground and it will capable of being within 3 tenths of the fastest. Within that they may be more or less forgiving or they may be more or less effected by setup changes but fundamentally they are all fast.

Its just really hard for some people to hear that.


100% agree with everything above. Drive what you’ve got. In most cases, and especially with amateur / club racing, there is usually more a driver can do to affect a lap time that he or she realizes.

In my specific case, I have found that keeping the changes limited to just tire pressures (using my pyrometer and tire pressure gauge) is all I need to see consistent improvement from my baseline set up. Everything else is in my driving errors, and the data usually confirms that after the session.

I like this mantra in the sense that it encourages one to take responsibility for performance… But treat it as a mantra… I have the opposite problem, where I point the finger at driving and rationalize that as a way to not make changes that I should.

There are cases where one’s equipment is simply not up to scratch I think the most important thing is to be objective and honest in your approach, no matter what you have.

We try not to change too much on race days. If we do it’s little changes to cure problems that are harder for a driver to deal with ie; hopping or severe loose or push. Like mentioned above most good chassis manufacturers baseline will get you close. Admittedly we do run less caster than most on our chassis but my Son likes a light wheel… We show up to all our races with our same baseline and adjust from there. We’ve been to a few races where we honestly didn’t touch a thing all weekend.

My Son has gotten to where he will say don’t change anything, let me figure out if it’s me or the kart. Usually he goes back out for next session and finds his mistakes and improves.

Also mentioned is tires. If we find our normal adjustments aren’t working in practice, we have learned to skip the madness and throw on new or a less worn set. I chased a kart all day once and gave in and changed tires only to find we ended up back where we started on set up. Never doing that again :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

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This is me. Except for the smart part where you change tires :blush:

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A good example of the “panic” changes I put myself through when driving.

Friday Afternoon practice on tires that the team had lying around stock set up - 53.3
Sat Quali Rain
Sat Prefinal Still Stock but Brand New Tires Little Damp - 53.3
Sun Final Still Stock but dropped the tire pressure - 53.4 (real story here was it went off super quick but that’s another story).
Sat Quali Still Stock Back up on Tires - 53.6 (but only gave myself time for 3 laps, was heading for a 53.3 and made a mistake, data evidence)
Sat PreFinal Still Stock - 54.0 (but bent the chassis up 3/4" on the first corner)
Sun Final - Panic sets in, altho I am absolutely certain I can do a 53.3 on this setup and this age tires, I go hard short axle, full caster and stiff front bar - 53.6

Now I won the race but only because I know how to look after tires (everyone else’s gave up in the Sunday final).