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by David Sera

How to improve go kart steering

Written by David Sera

One of the most important elements of driving a go kart is the steering. Steering is what separates the best drivers from the average drivers, so many people have been asking about how to improve go kart steering. Remember, smooth is fast! It’s not simple by any means, and it takes a lot of practice. However, once you get your steering inputs nailed down, you’ll be able to find much more pace than ever before. Today we’ll be exploring some tips for both newcomers and more advanced drivers, so keep reading to find out how you can improve your steering technique in karting. 1. Identify your driving style The very first aspect to your steering that you need to identify is your driving style. It’s crucial for you to identify your driving style. Each driver’s style is unique and has different elements to it. This means that you need to find your own driving style and adapt it to go faster. The two main driving styles are smooth and aggressive. There’s a range of styles in between, but most drivers prefer one or the other. Some drivers have a combination of both, but this is unique and rare to find in a driver. Your driving style is where you feel most comfortable and fastest and is not influenced by your favourite driver. From there you need to match your driving style to other professional drivers and take tips from them. For example, if you have a smooth driving style it’s a good idea to go and study Jenson Button and see how he got the most out of his car. This is best way to develop your own driving style and get the best out of your steering techniques. Smoother drivers generally make less mistakes as there’s less action taken when cornering. Aggressive inputs can be better in certain conditions but if not mastered correctly, drivers will find their kart losing control. 2. Find the racing line The racing line is the fastest way around the track. Some circuits have different racing lines, and your driving style can also influence the racing line that you take. However, it’s always important to stick to the fastest line around the track. Hitting each apex perfectly will allow you to go faster around the lap. However, it’s important to make sure that your steering techniques are accurate. You need to be sure that your steering is smooth and that you stay on the racing line every lap. The less you turn the steering wheel, the faster the kart will drive, so try have one steering input per corner, as multiple can induce both understeer and oversteer. 3. Adjust your set up Once you’ve got the basics of steering techniques down you can get to the more specific areas that will help you to improve your technique and go faster. The best way to do this is to adjust your kart’s set up. There’s a ton of different set up changes you can make, but we’ll be covering some of the quickest and easiest ones below. Change your spacers If you want to fine tune your karts oversteer and understeer one of the quickest ways to do so is to adjust the spacers on your front stub axle. The spacers can be found just behind the wheel rims, and these essentially widen the front track width of the kart. Putting more spacers in behind the kart’s rims will make the front track width wider. Wider track width will give you more front-end grip, which will result in more oversteer as the rear of the kart will be losing grip before the front end. This can be ideal when it rains, as the karts need the additional steer to compensate the loss of grip in these conditions. If you have too much oversteer you can reduce the number of spacers behind the wheel, or even use the 0.5 spacers to get more precision. Narrower front track width will lead to more understeer through the corners. 4. Change your tyre pressures Tyre pressures can be complicated to understand, but luckily, you’re here with us at KartClass! You can adjust your tyre pressures to change how your kart handles out on track. This is a good way to perfect your steering technique. If your kart has too much oversteer (back-end sliding) and you’re looking for more understeer you have two options. You can either lower your front tyre pressure or raise your rear tyre pressure. These have the same effect, which is giving the rear tyres more grip than the front tyres. If you have too much understeer out on track (kart doesn’t want to turn into the corners) you need do the opposite. You need to give the front tyres more grip so that they can help the kart change direction. To do so, you can either raise the front tyre pressure or you can lower your rear tyre pressure. 5. Get help from a coach If you’re still struggling to figure out how to improve your go kart steering, then the best thing to do is get a coach. A coach can immediately spot any issues that you are having, and their knowledge and experience can be transferred straight to you. It’s always a good idea to get a coach, even Formula 1 drivers have their own coaches. Many drivers believe that they are good enough and don’t need their own coach. However, when it comes to learning and developing, the best way to do it is to have your own teacher.