What are some things new racers need to know but aren't usually told

Ok what am I forgetting? First attempt…

Guide for noobs in progress:

Objective: basic knowledge of track safety and etiquette. Let’s discuss this in context of a race weekend.

  1. Saturday open practice:

What is open practice?

The day before a race, series have a practice day. The format is simple. The competitors are arranged by a) age and b) engine type.
They are sent out on track for 10 minute sessions. At the checkered flag, everyone comes in and next group goes out.

What goes on in a practice session?

Basic idea is for you to get an idea how to get around the track. You’ll spend all day trying to familiarize yourself with each turn and hopefully manage to improve your laptimes as the day progresses.

More advanced drivers are doing the same thing as you, at the same time as you, just much faster. However, it is not a race (yet).

In this session, you will be likely be significantly off pace compared to those with experience. That is fine. It’s expected. However, with such disparate skill and speed levels, there are a few things you need to know:

This is not a race. It’s a practice session. Fighting for position is gonna cause problems, create bad blood and generally ruin your experience. If it’s egregious, you are going to get booted. Even worse, you are gonna have to convince the race director that you have changed before he/she lets you back into the series. Not a great way to begin your race career.

What do I define as fighting for position? The process in which one guy tries to pass while another guy tries to defend. It’s that simple.

So, when a faster guy is on your tail in practice, do NOT block, swerve or generally intentionally hinder the pass. That’s for race day (with conditions attached).

Safety in racing comes from participants being aware of each other’s position in the track, and there are “expectations” in terms of how you will respond to a faster driver approaching. And, if you are faster than the guy ahead of you there are expectations as to how you’ll get around the slower driver. BOTH participants share equal responsibility that the pass is safe and clean.

Good news for you, is that most of the responsibility is on the fast guy. Here’s what’s expected:

Hold your line.

This may feel counter intuitive. You are a nice person, you want to be polite and get out of the way. Basically, don’t try to “help” by quickly moving out of the way.

Think about it. If I am bearing down on you, am I going to try to occupy the same spot on the track as you? No, I’d run into you! I’m either going to take the inside (likely) or outside line.

If there’s some ambiguity in my mind as to wether I can pass you safely without losing momentum, I’m going to slow down. I’ll either get on your bumper and rev my engine a bunch to let you know I’m there or try to move myself where you can see me coming alongside.

So, if you try to be helpful and there’s a 5-10mph difference in velocity, and you swerve into my passing line (ironically to try to get out of the way)… boom. So stay on line and let the fast guy get creative to get safely around you. Behave predictably in practice and people will develop a level of comfort around you as they become accustomed to what you are and aren’t (yet) capable of.

So, just hold your line, drive predictably, and earn the respect and adulation of your peers.

Exception to this rule… if you want someone to pass you, point them by by indicating clearly which side you want them to pass you on and leave that space open for them (photo here).

Other than that, just use good judgement. Bear in mind that karts go 50-100 mph depending upon type, and there is a non-zero possibility of serious injury. No roll cage, bumpers etc. You’d expect a visit to the hospital if you ran into a wall on your bicycle at 25mph. The same with karts.

Early on your job is getting good enough to be able to get around the track without sliding in turns. Push yourself appropriately.

Most people have a built in self-preservation mechanism that yells no no no when they are trying something new and scary. Listen to this voice. In time, it will give you more and more leeway, coincidentally as you get more and more seat time!

One day, you’ll make passes instinctively. There will be no hesitation and you’ll “get it”. Until then, be sensible. Push appropriately.

Well crap. Despite your best efforts to be predictable and safe driver you done spun and the number one in your series has a bent axle and is looking at you funny…

It’s Motorsport. Shit happens despite everyone trying their best. What matters is your “total” behavior. If it’s on you, apologize. If you are not sure say “I am sorry. I am new to all this and I don’t know if I caused that crash. What could I have done different?”

Getting embarrassed and reflexively defensive isn’t a good way of dealing with issues at the track. Own it. Be adult. (This applies to everyone, regardless of age).

Angry responses to being taken out are to be expected. Be the better man/woman. I’ll let you draw upon your life experiences to figure that one out.

Next: Race day!

Sent from my iPhone

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In case you are wondering, our race weekend was a hot mess involving many many incidents, a fistfight, and my favorite yamaha old guy getting sent to the hospital.

I get the impression ALL our issues this weekend were from inexperience and ignorance.

But, I blame it on us for not giving people some guidance before they are sent onto a hot track. Let’s not assume people actually know what’s up because that puts noobs in an awful position. Make some sort of pre-track certification necessary.

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I think taking this book - https://store.kartpulse.com/product/karting-101-getting-started-in-competitive-go-kart-racing/

and this book https://store.kartpulse.com/product/learn-how-to-master-the-art-of-kart-driving-terence-dove/

will help cover the items you’re looking for.

Thanks. I’m familiar with Terence’s book but forgot about Eric’s. I’ll definitely crib from that.

I’m not interested in driving stuff, in this context. I’m thinking more of the stuff you should know that you figure out as you go along.

Honestly, that’s a good opportunity for vlogging, if you want to create some content.
Stuff that people can see, rather than a guide that likely people will just skim through.

I’m more thinking out loud about what I want to present as a “intro” curriculum to a race series.

What I was hoping to get out of this is “you forgot x”. Or, nope you are wrong, reconsider Y.

Basically, I was suggesting that there’s basic safety/etiquette/behavior stuff that should be communicated to every new driver in a series.

One of the sorta principals of the series suggested to me that I was more recently noob than him and think something up. So, gathering thoughts.

Maybe we could do a mandatory classroom/track walk session where new drivers get familiarized with these concepts.

I’m thinking that there are a significant number of people who would benefit from being told, rather than hoping they look for guidance and come across a vlog or book.

You wanna race, great. Take this basics class, and you can participate.

I totally missed that you were making a class or something. I skimmed your first post, because it was a bit TL:DR :stuck_out_tongue: lol

Yep. Understood. I was ambiguous anyways.

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I find it really interesting how you have managed to turn your career (marketing?) into a part of your kart racing. I should listen to your advice when it comes to vlogs etc.

I really appreciate that. :slightly_smiling_face:
My 9-5 is as a business consultant for technology companies, but I also use those consulting skills as a way to working with other industries as a way to support my racing. Marketing being one of them.

Vlog- I just feel that in the current era, people like content that’s evergreen and easily distributed.

Doing a class in person takes up a ton of personal bandwidth, and although it had a personal touch, you’re limited by the number of hours you have available to speak with people.

Plus video is king right now.

What I’d do is…cascade and repurpose the content… this (repurposing) is what I’d like to see KP do as things progress.

Broadcast live. PPV if you wish, create a campaign
and “funnel” for this to drive attendance…

Publish edited version of show to YT.

Have a shorter form video, edited and optimized for instagram, this can be used on FB too.

Transcribe audio and make an article from that because people still use search engines.

If useful, repurpose audio for podcast because people like to listen to podcasts.

You could work your source material into a paid for course for once-off or recurring subscription. The value add component is structure, more specific guidance, more details on the content itself.

Ideas are easy right?

So here’s the back story and what I’m hoping to accomplish…

After our bizarre race weekend, it felt to me like we had some issues related to the stuff I wrote about. I suggested to someone that they should do a course or something for new drivers. He’s already working on that but suggested I think about it from the noob perspective etiquette; and the like (non-driving).

So I’m basically trying to come up with some things that you can “tell” people that is simple and easy and will make life easier for everyone.

In terms of delivery, I don’t know. I felt ok using up some electrons posting my thoughts as I gather them here and was also hoping to inspire some thoughts from others as to what I missed.

The paddock is often full of contradicting bullshit, so never take anything as gospel. Karts are really weird and no one knows everything.

Testing is where you learn. Record and analyse. Never waste a test day just dicking about unless you can afford it of course, then dick about as you please.

Modern karts and engines particularly are often sold as turnkey packages that last forever with minimal maintenance. Don’t be surprised if that isn’t the case.


^^^^ Also don’t overcomplicate it on the first try.

You might start with something simple like creating an outline and create one video, just to see if it covers all of the content that people might find to be interesting. See if you like all of the editing and all of the background work that goes with the content creation, and then go from there.

Find something that matches your groove, and then refine the content/audience.

James’ idea is good, if you have a solid branding/marketing approach, but too complicated for your average person trying to just get thier feet wet in creating content.

I agree, but I think it’s good to have that kind of frame work in mind.


Just Do A Freakin Thing

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^This. Just do a thing.

“Here are the rules, please read them and if you have questions, please ask. You will be DQ’d if you don’t follow them”.

New people need to be teched sooner than later, if only to get them familiar with the process and catch stuff they don’t know about from both a safty and legality standpoint. A teched racer is a happy racer in my book.

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I hear this a lot and I think it’s a sub optimal way to “onboard a customer” of karting. Throwing a PDF/book at someone and expecting them to read it is a stretch. I hope for better, but it is what it is.

Additionally, rulebooks’s catch-all in one book objective results in a plethora of irrelevant information to any given racer. More classes and meta terms that are meaningless to them.

My thought is… look at it in hierarchy and at least break it into segments.

Safety and safety tech first.
Driving standards\Competition rules.
Technical conformity\eligibility.

Oh goody now it’s working. I like it.

The three categories you gave are very helpful.