Where do you look when racing?

I’m having a bit of a struggle on where to look. Because I’m having a challenge whether I look at the incoming apex in front of me or behind of my competitor. Any thoughts?

Pretty much every coach or driving school in the country in any driving discipline will tell you to look as far ahead as possible, and always look for your next mark.

Approaching braking, you should be looking far ahead to find the braking point. Once you’ve spotted it, you should be driving to it and then looking to the apex. Once you’ve got the kart pointed to the apex, you should be looking to the exit.

Looking at your competitors bumper guarantees you miss your marks and if he makes a mistake, you will do the same. It’s common to see guys drop a wheel or drive off and the kart stuck right behind them also drives off, because the following kart is too focused on the kart in front of them, not their reference points.

You need to ‘look through’ the kart in front and visualize where your reference points are.


TJ is certainly right, however you kinda have to do both. The more seat time you get the better you get at this. You have to look at the track and your points to have the speed, but obviously have to watch your competition so you don’t run over them :rofl:, also watching for mistakes so you can capitalize on them.

For sure. Keeping an eye on your competitor should be passive/peripheral vision, hunting down your marks should be active. The same type of vision you use to keep an eye on your speedometer in your car while you’re actively watching the road ahead.

Ricky’s right, it takes some practice to juggle those two kinds of sight while driving fast.

Humans are not reliable narrators when it comes to eye strategies and fixations points. Without an eye tracker it’s nigh-on impossible to gauge where someone is looking from what they tell you. There are certainly patterns in fast drivers (looking a little further ahead etc…) but it’s not well understood how they get there or whether it’s ubiquitous or whether it eye strategies changes and develop depending on certain things. Sometimes there’s observation biases going on etc…

There’s not been a huge amount of eye-tracking research outside of sim environments. I’ve written a fair bit about it. Advanced Eye-Strategy in Highly-Skilled Race Driving – Alan Dove | Race Driver Performance Analyst That was a fair few years ago and would probably need complete revision.

Thank you for your replies, been practicing it earlier seems kinda hard but I will cope. I even tried it on my way home on my motorcycle🤣 Ride safe y’all

I spend alot of time looking behind me… lol

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Watching if the leaders are going to lap you is hard on the neck… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Ooh one of my favorite subjects!

Not at the bumper of the guy ahead of you. Well, not all the time.

I think it’s best to keep looking actively all around. Don’t fixate in anything. I tend to sight the kart ahead of me, look through him, look for corner ahead, etc. I try to keep eyes active and moving.

What I dont want is to get behind the kart (reactive). This happens when you are fixated too much on the near-term forwards view. Conversely, if all you do is gaze far forwards, you will get “ahead” of kart (and start missing apexes since you aren’t locking them in).

So active it is. I check guy ahead, look through/past him to approaching corner, then back to check him, etc. the informed mind tends to do a very good job of letting you know where the near traffic is relative to you with brief glances back to the near term.

Edit: TJs point about peripheral, passive vision is spot on. The kart ahead is referred back to regularly but is mostly covered by your brain tracking it through peripheral. It’s kind of similar with apexes: you don’t stare at the apex as you drive to it, you sight it on entry, but move your attention forwards to your desired exit.

One of the things I was taught when learning to autocross then road race is that you go where you’re looking. Like others said… look down the track to where you want to go. Obviously you need to take traffic into account. Looking ahead makes it easier to stay ahead of the kart too. Here’s a bit from a few years ago comparing Kevin Magnussen’s eyes vs someone learning to be fast in a sim. The good bits start at 3:50.

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I would say on a road bike you have to be looking everywhere all the time, not really what we do on a kart. The hyper-focus of racing is not a good technique for the road, however, looking farther down the road is. If you are newer and concerned about being in the way of faster karts just hold your line, the fast karts will know how to get by you as long as you are predictable. If you have unpredictable moves that will likely cause problems and bent parts. If you are competitive and defending positions look for ideal spots to look back where you can spare the focus such as after hitting the apex you were so focused on and straightaways before the braking zone are two good places.

At the chics on the spectator balcony :joy:


You should already be looking at the exit if the apex is incoming, at your turn in you should be switching to focus on exit. I know I’ve plugged it a lot but I’ll shamelessly plug @terencedove book master the art of kart driving. He has a whole chapter on where to focus

My good friend was doing a wsk cup and in a long turn at franciacorta there was a big crash and he didnt look as far forward as he could and he didnt get to brake in time and he went right in to the crash at 110km/h and broke his arm and rib. I think he got a hell of a lesson and he will allways look as far ahead as he can!


I have had several drivers with the same issue. Never looked ahead enough and drive straight into avoidable crashes all the time.

Especially on starts, the last thing I always tell my drivers when we are on the grid is to look as many rows ahead as possible.

Open public lobbies on LFS back in the day were always fun. You’d do around 25+ races a night and it’d often be carnage at the start. :slight_smile: Would love to know if that ever helped me.

You guys have spectators?

Well yeah. We pay them :joy: but yeah

Here is link

starts are usually the toughest for me on where to look, as i’m rarely front row, and the further back in the grid, the tougher it gets. when everyone is packed in tight, you sometimes can’t see that far ahead. pretty much, at all the tracks i race, you’re mostly up to speed and you barrel into a left hander at the start. potential crash fest. if i’m towards the front, not usually a biggie, but pea pick, or if i didn’t qualify well, i’m concerned. i’ll look as far ahead as i can. in one instance, mentally, i didn’t really prepare myself, or something, but the guy two rows up from me drove straight off the track, and both myself and the guy directly in front of me followed him right off. i think i had moved my focus back closer to myself, and it bit me.

after the start, though, looking ahead as has been mentioned. and i also like to take that fraction of a second to look directly at where i want my kart’s inside front wheel to go in a turn, especially if i’m not in traffic. i agree, you go where you look, and taking that fraction of a second, for me, can make the difference as to whether i go where i feel is optimal, vs, being a foot away from what i think is optimal.