We’ve all heard this from our coach, parent or mechanic, but being smooth is an integral part of driving a race kart fast. This also minimises mistakes while you are driving, which brings about consistency, another important element of winning races. You need to have minimal steering inputs, and allow the kart to flow around the corners so it can accelerate quickly out of hairpins.
There is no substitution to doing laps as often as possible. As a driver, the only way you can improve your race lines, braking points or apexes is by being behind the wheel of a kart and learning. Seat time also allows you to train certain muscles that are specifically worked tirelessly when driving a kart, which are hard to train in other ways. Muscle memory is the only way to develop precision; they say it takes 10,000 hours practice to become an expert so get behind the wheel!
Learn how to drive in the wet
Most people stay indoors when it rains on a practice weekend due to the fact the kart gets dirty, the driver might come off the track multiple times, and the engine will wear out faster. However, if you want to win races and championships, at some point in your driving career you will need to race in the wet weather. When it rains, the rubber race lines become very slippery and therefore slow, due to the limited grip it provides. To be fast in the wet, you have to avoid the shiny rubber line wherever possible, whether that’s going all the way around the outside of a corner or going to the inside of a kerb to miss this rubber. Once you
find the optimal line, you can try this on other corners on the race track to find more time, but this comes with experience.
Be prepared to adapt
As a driver you don’t want to get stuck in the same habits lap after lap. Trying different techniques is one of the keys to being fast. Whether it be a different racing line on a corner, braking later to find the limit, or powering earlier to maximise your exit speed. By doing this, you adapt your driving to suit the conditions on the circuit and improve your times.
Watch other drivers
Sometimes drivers can learn more from watching their opposition in a practice session or experienced drivers in other categories. Learn from what other successful drivers are doing and adopt it into your own driving style. You can also pick up on weaknesses and mistakes others are making, so that when you get the opportunity to race against them, you can target this area!