What to do on Practice Day?

Where are you located?

Portland, Oregon

What age bracket are you in? Junior (<16), Senior (16+) or Masters (30+)

Senior

On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your mechanical ability, or willingness to wrench on things?

8

Talk a little about your racing experience so far.

No experience aside from indoor.

What’s the main thing you need help with to get you started.

Practice.

My Lo206 kart is getting finished up in preparation for my first practice and race day this weekend. I have never driven this kart or anything like it.

Any recommendations on how to spend my time at on practice this Saturday to get me prepared for Sunday? I have a Mychron but still need to read up on how to use it.

Don’t over think it. Work on being smooth. This typically means remembering to brake early and back to the gas early. Not braking late. If you get the chance to be out there with faster guys work on being smooth letting them by. That means run your line instead of guessing where to go to get out of the way. When someone fast gets beside you just do not fight for the corner. Then follow and learn line. Remember when you get ready to turn in look towards the corner and check if someone is beside you…

Work on consistent laps, then worry about kart adjustments

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The most important thing you’ll need to learn over a period of many months and years is to find the limits of the kart and get comfortable out there. That isn’t going to happen in a day, but you can start getting a feel for the limits right away. What I really mean is, be careful, have fun, but don’t be afraid to push a little too hard and go off track or brake a little too hard and spin out.

Otherwise, there’s not a lot of technique stuff you should really work on your first day. Making it around the track and learning how everything works would be a good start. I would make sure you have a notebook with you to take notes on everything. That’s a good habit to develop and will help you when you’re sorting through what did and didn’t work next time you go out.

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Some basics might be in order. These fall into the “Stuff that would have been good to know starting out” category.

  1. It’s understood you are new. Your only job is to go around the track in a reasonably normal manner. The important bit is to resist the urge to be helpful and try to “get out of the way” of others. Drive your line. The faster drivers will get around you safely if you stay on line. If you try to help and pop off line to assist, you are probably placing yourself exactly where they were heading.

  2. If you try to turn while braking you will probably spin. For now try braking in a straight line before the turn.

  3. When you are braking in a straight line and you lock the wheel, the back will start to shift and will quickly spin. Immediately reduce brake pressure a bit and the back comes in line.

That’s it for now. Anyone, feel free to pile on.

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See if you can find someone at the track in your class who is faster than you maybe they’d be willing to help you get up to speed by sharing mychon data. Then you can baseline where you’re at and where you’re losing time. Unless you’re racing for money which 99% of us aren’t most guys would welcome closer competition

Oh yeah, pay attention to loudspeaker. Dont want to miss your heats.

Check your tire pressures before heading out. Make sure to lube chain after each individual session. Ask others for what a recommended pressure is.

I agree. Nothing in a street car prepares you for the cornering potential of kart. In a race car exceeding the limit often results in spin followed by long slide and then lots of damage. In kart a spin usually result in a quick stop because of low momentum and no damage. In practice day explore the limit. Learn what a spin feels like and where the limit is. Have fun!!

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Oh yeah! Spins are different. Kart is so light, you stop pretty quick. Especially fun when you don’t slide off track and find yourself pointing towards all the oncoming traffic! Aaaaaah!

Thanks everyone for the great responses. Everything that was mentioned are things I was planning on doing so I am happy to hear I am heading in the right direction.

My experience from RC car racing and even SIM racing recently has helped me build and understand race-craft. I am going in with eyes wide open in terms of how the kart will perform compared to my experience with indoor 6HP carts on a tight closed track.

I bought some chain lube, a ton of WD40 and 2.5 gallons of non-ethanol fuel—I am picking up my kart from a local shop here tomorrow who is getting the kart race ready.

One final thought… make sure you tightens the bolts down after changing tires. Everyone has gone on track with a wheel not bolted… once.

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True. It is not all positive. Having spun both I still think that is less troubling than sliding backwards through the grass at 90mph in car trying to remember how far away the wall is. Backward on the track with cars barreling at you is not much better.

I did spin at lucas oil in one of their little formula cars. It’s a much longer, drawn out thing as the energy cycle is so bloody long. Was a good experience, though!

(They are coming to NJMP again and it’s on sale… 1500 bucks… https://lucasraceschool.com/tours/njmp-july7-b2d/ )

Ditto. I threw one at a corner worker once. He was not amused

Since I have not been able to find torque specs for Karts, seems like nothing has a spec besides motor stuff…any tips on how tight to tighten?

Actually, I’ve never done that in 10 years of karting, BUT I created a checklist and put in a bound notebook, checking the kart every time it goes on track when I started.

I got into the habit of doing a safety check, every single time I use the kart, to a point that I get nervous if I haven’t checked everything off.

So fingers crossed. :wink:

I meant that sometimes in the haste of getting to the pits a wheel gets missed entirely! That being said my pit boss really really did not like the clients tightening their own bolts because power tools.

Eventually though we earned his misplaced trust. If using a power tool be careful to not crank em down hard at the end. Go gently the last bit.

Mark French of Full Gas Motorsports, put together a video a few weeks back regarding the difference between practice and testing. This video might have some interesting things in it for you.

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