It’s interesting to read peoples comments on what they wish they knew when they started karting that they have learnt over time.
For me, it’s the importance of asking questions from more experienced drivers.
As a kid, I would watch a lot of races and some of these drivers have now gone onto racing in Supercars, Indy Car and Formula 1. But they generally all started in karting, and have the time of day for you when you ask them a question. Whether that be a certain corner, how to get a better race start or what corners to overtake on.
I was fortunate these drivers gave me the time of day, to help me build as a driver and gain confidence.
I think currently, a lot of newcomers are afraid or nervous to speak with people who have been in the sport a long time, but it’s a great asset to learn from if you have the opportunity.
Keen to hear what others have learnt along the way.
Honestly, the biggest thing that I wish I had known when I had started karting was the importance of having a solid support network from dealers and tuners, when choosing a chassis.
I spent a good amount of money on people’s chassis that said they would help me figure out how to set it up, where they had little experience and really just wasted my time before I really go going.
Also, I learned to appreciate the importance of testing and practice, and that I didn’t have to rush to get into races, if I didn’t want to.
The importance of proper kart assembly would be #1 on my list.
I came into karting in 2017 with a bunch of motorsports experience from many different aspects of racing from short track sprint cars to Daytona 24 hour prototypes. The one major difference from every other form of motorsport is how you assemble the kart.
When I got my first kart it was a very old kart but served me well and taught me a lot of useful information on setup and how karts are completely different then cars when it comes to setup changes. However, it was assembled in and rough shape but actually a pretty quick chassis. The main problem I had was I tightened up everything that was loose. Turns out, that stuff isn’t supposed to be tight and many components on a kart have to have flex/play in them for the chassis to work correctly. (Things like the Floor Pan, Front Nerf Bars, Side Bars, Rear Bumper) all play a role in how the kart handles.
So I would say getting some instruction on how to assemble the kart makes a big difference. You can have the best equipment in the world but if its not assembled correctly you are going to be driving a log.
Just my .02
It would have been nice to know how addictive karting is. I really didn’t think getting “gud” at motorsports was a thing I’d be trying to do as an old fart. I am not sure what the arc of the reminder of my life looks like, but attempting to win kart races is likely a part of it. If it wasn’t karting it would be another sport, but boy am I glad I landed here.
Soon after I started karting, and join IKF, there was an article in Karter news describing the use of the EGT. It was written by the people at Bystrom instruments. I’ve never forgotten that article. For the next 20 years I thought of it often. In 1985 I built my dyno. I included an exhaust gas temperature gauge. (EGT) It was so helpful, and proved to be such an asset while racing, I kick myself for not having including it in my race set up earlier.
Stop listening to 15 people telling me how to drive or tune, and don’t over-tune the kart.
This is good stuff guys for someone like me that is looking into the hobby, so thank you for your insight.
A chassis that someone else likes might not be the one for you. A seat that doesn’t fit you perfectly is an instant loser, which is why they’re made in a hundred different sizes.
Any straight chassis will be fast. I bought a new kart for reliability - every wear item has 0 hours on it right now.
Changing your weight distribution is a much larger adjustment than even changing chassis brands and tube sizes at the same time. Move the seat a whole inch forward or back if you don’t like the way it handles.
Don’t bother trying to save money or get an unfair advantage in the powertrain. Cheap old engines are cheap for a reason. Fresh gasoline beats stale, especially in a 206.
That my short self should have been looking at Jr karts for figuring out where to start with my setup and not asking people who were 5’8 +
The recent picture of Yuki Tsunoda’s karts made me realize I wasn’t crazy
Tyler, how tall are you? My wife is 5ft tall running a senior kart but with pedals moved back.
I’m 5’5" with a 27" inseam. I figured out moving the pedals back after about 3 years of not getting good advice toward a solution and struggling with trying to make things work.
People get sucked into watching what ‘others’ are doing and get lost themselves.
90% of the time a stock standard setup will get you close to the pace, say .3 of a second away then it’s up to the driver to fine tune themselves to squeeze out the last bit.
It helps getting knowledge from people who have been in the sport for a decent amount of time. There’s a lot of newcomers that get into the sport looking to make a quick buck and tell you their gear is the best thing on the market.
You need to stay with teams, drivers and kart shops local to you that can offer support all year round.
How much rib injuries hurt
And how good the Bengio is
Two things that I wish I would have done more of early on would be to spend time getting laps at tracks other than my home track, and get more laps in high(er)-grip conditions. By not doing these, a driver really limits his or her self in terms of development.
I see many club racers wondering why they’re not making more progress, and while “get more laps” is the short answer, I really believe that diversifying your lapping environment is right up there in terms of importance.
I wish I’d known that cars would be a bitter disappointment until you spend mega$
I gained more by going down to California from Oregon for the SKUSA PKC series than anywhere else. Its also tough at home when you’re on a level between the whole local group and the national level drivers in the area.
I’ll piggy-back this and add another one…
Don’t be afraid to go out and do traveling races or go against stronger competition. Too many people get comfy being their local track hero and plateau as a driver and as a tuner. The best way to improve is to go out and get your ass kicked by people better than you a few times.
I learned more in my first SuperNats than I did in a full season of regional/national karting. Big competition forces you to step up and dig deep and find things within you.
Exactly. this is why my plan is to just do a lot of practice days this year and focus on a couple of the bigger races in our area.
While my finishes at the two SuperNats I’ve done were low (11th in the S4 LCQ SN19 and 24th in S4 SN20), what I took away from both events was that I was more than capable of running at that level (mid-pack, anyway) but I also had a lot of things to figure out.
If it wasn’t for the last lap pile up between McNeil and Logan I would have been the last driver to get lapped and that was huge to me with all the struggles I had that week.
Practice is good, I used to get in at least one weekend a month, but racing against other racers, well, you probably learn 10 times as much. Nothing wrong with finishing last, as long as you learn something each time you race. It took me 3 years to win my first race. Maybe 4. The Coca-Cola championship race that Herndon California. Fast time, won all 3 heats.