Aaron’s thread about what driver’s pay attention to when driving got me thinking about how different drivers strategize when doing a track walk. I plan to do a track-walk whenever possible, even if it’s a track that I’ve been too a thousand times, just to see how the conditions have changed.
I wrote an article about this a few years ago, so I’ll just post the link here, but what do you guys pay attention to during a track walk?
This is something that everyone should do, especially kid karters a great opportunity to learn.
Older drivers should "Invite a Kid Kart on all their walks. Teaching is a great way to learn something new.
Personally, I find track walks really relaxing too. When I need to unwind, if the track is cold, I go walk it.
I always hate when I don’t make the time to do a track walk.
I haven’t done track walks a whole lot, but when I am doing it I’ll look for anything both significant and stationary on the track, so no cones, brake markers, bags, or even rubber on the track as that can get removed from karts going over it or rain. One of my favorite points of reference for driving are cracks in the concrete, so I’ll pick noticeable ones and then work towards where in relation to that my braking points are.
A good examale here is at MRP yesterday. In the run up to the hairpin turn, there are 3 cracks relatively evenly spaced. I recognized these right away as a braking marker. I began immediately working with them and figured a safe braking point within 2 laps, then pushed progressively until I found the furthest I could go, and I can probably push even further if I’m completely honest. I didn’t get a chance to walk the track before practice, but if I had, those would be one of the first pieces I noticed as a significant point.
The last 3 cracks here going towards this tight left-hand hairpin are what I was working with.
My turn in is decided by apex generally. As a rule of thumb for looking at a track I don’t turn in until I see my apex, so I walk to the inside of the curb and try to figure an apex. From there I’ll go back to the entry and look at where my tentative turn in would be until I can get on track and work with lines for real. I don’t have an example for this, but I hope the point gets across.
As you guys have said, pay attention to cracks or pavement marks to determine where you are on the track. And it’s good to slow everything down to walking speed and digest each inch of the circuit.
Particular things I mention when coaching people during track walks include how much curb to use (or not to use), how wide to swing out for particular corners on exit, the qualifying line vs. the racing (defensive) line, what the passing zones are and how to execute at each corner, and basic turn-in, apex, and exit marks.
I love track walks. In the morning, grab a nice warm beverage and go shuffle the dew off the track and at the end of the day, grab a beer and go see how sticky each corner is and trade stories about where you’ve crashed or where you made a winning pass on that track. One of the most relaxing parts of the weekend.
I like TJ’s advice, and a lot of it dovetails with the coaching I do as well. A track walk is a great way to see things on the track that can provide clues for how most people are driving it most of the time (chain scars, scraped-off curbs, heavy chunking on a certain part of the track).
One thing I will do for myself when I go to new tracks is to pay a lot of attention to the color and gradation of the rubber on the track, as for me this helps me visualize how the kart will likely load and unload through that corner before I drive it. If I’m confused by what I see on the track, sometimes I will take my foot and run it over the width of the track to observe the profile in certain areas.
I always have Randy pick out marks that won’t move I.e, cracks, dark spots, etc. We also will go as far as sitting down on the track to get a more realistic view vs being 6’ off the ground.
After you look through the entry we will go to where we think exit should be and look backwards. Sometimes what your eyes see on one side may be different. We walk it backwards from there and see where we end up.
Like TJ says, I like the quiet morning coffee and evening beer walks👍
Camber\surface changes during turns
What’s beyond the kerb
Come up with some ideas on lines to take based on those.
Then forget all of it when I go to drive