Driving a go-kart is one thing, but setup and tuning is another. The ability to maximize the potential of your kart and one’s driving by adjusting the go-kart in a way that suits you best, is not something to be scoffed at. It can get confusing and complicated at times, especially if you are just starting your racing journey. However, if you keep in mind these 5 tips, you will always know how to setup your kart.
Know your basic adjustments
There are many parts that make up a go-kart, with most of these parts able to be tuned to compliment your setup. But while these parts can be tuned, some either have little to no effect, are too tedious to setup, or even both. On the contrary, there are parts that can completely change the feel of a go-kart and/or are convenient to setup. These are your basic adjustments. Some examples include your seat position, ride height, front and rear track width, as well as caster and camber. If you are a beginner and just getting started in the world of tuning, these basic adjustments can help you get the ideal set up much easier as you continue to pick up knowledge on go-kart setups. Furthermore, as you advance your career and tinker with other parts of the kart, you will still see yourself using these basic adjustments in changing conditions.
With so many settings on a go-kart, the possibilities are endless. There are times when you think you have the perfect setup, but turns out if you adjusted a few more things, then the setup would have been just a bit better. That is why, with so many things to try, it is your job to experiment with multiple setups! Now I’m not saying you should try every setup under the sun that is possible, but rather create setups that theoretically suit you and try all of them until you have concluded that a certain setup is the “best”. Another way to go about this is to have your baseline setup. From there, you make the necessary adjustments which you believe can improve the performance of the kart. Eventually, you will reach a point where you feel that the go-kart cannot go any faster. With that in mind, you have achieved the one setup that suits you and it’s recommended to start there at any new circuit you attend.
Understand your go-kart
So how exactly do you understand your go-kart? Well, it starts with your ability to communicate what is happening on track. To understand your go-kart means to understand what needs to be done depending on what the kart is doing. In other words, is the kart understeering, oversteering, bouncing or just lacking all round grip. The next step is to become one with your go-kart. In other words, being able to connect with your go-kart is one step closer to maximizing performance. This process begins even before you step on the racetrack as knowing the technical aspects of your go-kart is a good start. When taking it out for a drive, take note and observe how it feels parallel to your driving. How do the brakes feel? Is the kart too stiff or too loose? Knowing the answers to these questions can then help you make the necessary adjustments to improve your lap times.
Use a setup sheet
A setup sheet is a sheet where you can keep track of your setups. A setup sheet is essential as this is where you note the changes you have made to a go-kart as well as the changes you have felt in the go-kart when driving it. If you are currently participating in a race, this is beneficial as you can thoroughly analyze how a setup was achieved, what changes can be made, and which setup suits you best. However, keeping a setup sheet also benefits you in the long run. Because you take note of your setups, preparing your go-kart for future races reduces the hassle as you are already familiar with the process. Furthermore, if you are racing in a circuit that you have previously raced on before or a circuit with certain weather conditions (i.e. Rain), having a setup sheet can give you a head start on your opponents because you already know what to expect, and what must be done. Fortunately for you, we have created a setup sheet that you can download for free and use the next time you’re on track!
Setup your go-kart accordingly
Last but not the least, it is important to setup the go-kart based on the given circumstances. What worked last time may not work this time. There will never be two races where the conditions, factors, and circumstances are exactly the same. There will always be something different that requires a change in setup. No matter how small or big a change, this can be the difference between first and second place. While it may be easier to simply follow your setup sheet, always remember that the setup sheet is simply a guide to assist you in setting up your go-kart. At the end of the day, the driver makes the difference, not just on track, but off it as well. Therefore, setup your go-kart not based on what usually works, but rather what is required of the given situation.
Those were 5 tips for setting up your go-kart. Overall, these are very basic and general tips that only scratch the surface that is go-kart setup. If you want to further expand your knowledge and get a head start on your opponents, then you are in luck! We have now created a Kart Setup Program which discusses what adjustments to make to your kart, depending on the conditions. This program goes in-depth and takes the guesswork out of tuning for many mechanics and their drivers.