Warming up tires in out lap

What’s the opinion on the ziggy-zaggy attempt to heat up tires while going into formation. Does this actually do anything or am I just torturing tires for no real reason?

Edit: more precisely, is the damage you are doing to the tire trying to warm it up worth it?

Tire scrubbing (zig zagging during formation) is frowned upon in all local clubs and even in our national level here in canada. If you are caught you get sent to the back.

There is a blurb on our national website that suggests the movement required to warm up your tires is a lot less than you think.

I don’t have any real value to add I’m sorry. But it was interesting as I have just opened Terrence Dove’s book and he talks about lighting it up when you go out, and yesterday when I was walking at the track I watched our local champion driver (National Rotax champion) doing just that with a tremendous doughnut and drift around the first few corners. I’m not sure how well it would be received on race day, but it looked awesome!

In a car:
zig-zag is more to clean tires.
Accelerate then brake, Accelerate then brake, Accelerate then brake is to heat the tires.
So the question is if it is brakes or sidewall flexing heating up the tires. If it is brakes, then it ain’t doing much on a kart. If it’s sidewall, most karts don’t have front brakes. So weaving in a kart makes more sense

In a rental kart i do drive it zig-zap & pretty harshly to see what the kart I got that session is doing. Last race luck of the draw put me in dogs. I could tell one of them turned right way better than left. I also like to curb it to see if it gets funky. While not at race speed, it still give you and idea of what you drew.

In my sprint kart I just try not to hit anybody before the green. Or after the green.

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It does make a difference. How much depends on a lot of factors, like the ambient and track temp, how long until the start of the race, etc.

But, on cold mornings in early warm up, yes, you definitely want to get a little heat in them. Or, don’t go into the first lap at 100%, and they’ll come up to temperature anyway. Either is ok.

Scrubbing tires once in formation tends to make me nervous, as you see stupid incidents where people just run into each other.


It really depends how aware the drivers in the field are in my opinion from the safety element. Also, like you said, ambient temperatures play alot into this too.

I’ve seen drivers tire warm up on a cold track, and spin themselves out being too aggressive and not aware of the other karts around them. Experience and track awareness, I guess.

I do a bit of weaving on an out lap when there is no one around me or a bit of sliding to get heat into the tires, but if I’m in a packed field, then I’ll weave less and just be more tentative on the first few corners on the first lap.


It makes a massive difference at my tracks. Don’t heat your brakes and scrub your tires during formation laps and you can watch the pack drive away on lap one while you struggle not to spin when losing traction at turns 1,3, 5 and 7. By the time you get them switched on you’re half a lap behind and no hope of catching up.

Don’t ask me how i learnt this :joy::joy:

I guess what I meant was: does the act of warming them up aggressively “damage” them such that you are losing grip later in the race.

I actually think brake heating way more important especially in cooler temps. I dont think you can “safely” weave enought to heat the tires. Slide it a bit to clean up tires but brake heating make huge difference. I feel like I have alot more control on lap one by actively heating up the brakes. Again I am newish to karting so take it for what it worth.

Again if you go out and do an Alonso on Michelin circa 2005 that may work but crazy unsafe for other drivers and if I was in race control I give a penalty.

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You can lose a lot of ground at the start if your tyres are colder than everyone else’s, with added potential of being run out wide and being shoved off track. I don’t think there is any risk of significant damage to your tyres by warming them on the out-lap… but if there is such a risk, I’d say managing your tyre at the end of a race carries less risk than starting on colder tyres than everyone else.

Ok thanks. I’ll try aggressively warming them and seeing if I don’t feel so sketchy in lap 1. I’ll let you all know how it comes next weekend.

Just take notes about what your starting tire pressure, depending to how it is outside.

That’ll help you target your tire warmup better, for when your tires come in. On colder days, if you set it higher it’ll help with tires come in faster, without the downside of a massive overhead because the cold track keeps the tires managable.

Although on warm and hot days, watch them so they don’t overheat by setting them too high so they come in fast.

Interesting info.

Looking at data you need to weave like lunatic to make any real heat in tires.

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I think all those numbers make it worthwhile - remember this is about having your tyres comparatively warm against your competition. At turn one a very small grip advantage can make a world of difference.

Of course, weaving dangerously on a formation lap is not at all wise, and should get you a penalty… but you can heat your tyres very effectively whilst maintaining a safe and predictable line.

Also, if you are driving around without pushing your tyres at all, its very hard to understand the grip available and make a purposeful start.

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Video is indeed pretty conclusive.

Since our caliper is on the axle, braking has no effect on warming the tires correct? I always warm up my brakes, regardless.

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Hey DavinRS, congratulations on your victory!:hugs:. What about wheel warmers, does that work on Karts like it does on the F series cars.

At least in my opinion, not really. Just an extra cost, for no reason, as the karts will be either sitting on a stand, or pregrid too long for it to be useful.

Kart tires are tiny, so they get up to temp quickly. They just need to be set properly at the starting temp to be useful for the balance and when they come in.

PS: Thanks!

Heat doesn’t really travel that far along the axle, unless you’re dragging the crap out of your brakes, so I’m going to say no, and it’s not even that far that it would be hot. The axle is also in open air, so it’s always being cooled.

Friction on the track surface, and the amount of air in the tire is really what’s making them warm.

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I don’t think aggressive weaving does as much to warm tires as leaning on them hard in sweepers. I turn aggressively and intentionally slide the fronts to build heat, if they are cold you’ll feel them start to grip. Once the front have some heat it’s easy to induce oversteer to warm the rears.

Never really noticed much difference from weaving but scrubbing them all the way around a turn works well.