In motor racing, the aim is to drive as fast as you can. But sometimes, even when you are achieving your fastest laps, you have competitors right on your bumper. This might force you to drive more defensively to protect your line and position. We look at tips at how to drive defensively and keep your spot.
- Stay Calm and Collected
- First and foremost, be sure to stay calm during moments of intense pressure from the kart behind. Doing so will make you able to think rationally as to what steps to take next in terms of defending your position. Losing your cool will invite a sense of panic and you are certain to make mistakes such as locking up, defending improperly, and worst, spin out and end your day. So if you want to avoid ending your day early, make sure to stay on top of the situation.
- Take The Inside Line
- When you anticipate the driver behind decides to make an overtake on you, make sure to always cover and hog the inside line as this is where drivers tend to go in order to pull off a successful overtake. This is because the inside is the line of the race track that covers the least distance. Furthermore, when exiting the corner, the driver who took the inside can push you as wide as possible. This can result in you having to take a slower line which will slow you down for the next corners. It can also force you to concede and lose the position, each situation being to your disadvantage. To avoid this, make sure you defend the inside, as this will force your competitors around the outside, which is the line that has longer distance and less grip given that it is not the ideal racing line. This results in a more difficult overtake which can help in keeping your position.
- Practice Your Braking
- When defending your position, often it is a battle of who brakes the latest. In doing so, the chance of locking up and spinning out are very high, when braking on the inside where less grip is available. To avoid this, be sure to work on your braking on the inside on a practice day, to see how much you need to alter your braking markers to remain in control. Work on this consistently and you’ll be sure to give drivers a handful during the race.
- Overtakes happen in overtaking zones
- Timing overtakes are one great skill to have. This is because it might not be possible to overtake in every part of the race track. This is why there are things such as overtaking zones. These are zones that drivers often make overtakes to gain positions. Overtaking zones are usually hairpins, slow corner or a sequence of slow corners, and corners that come after a long straight. These are the best corners to overtake because this gives the driver ample time to slow down which can help put the kart in a better position for an overtake. Therefore, when you are at a race track, be sure to analyze the layout and find the potential overtaking zones. Doing so can help you anticipate when a driver may make an overtake which can help you better prepare in defending your position.
- Pull Away
- Without a doubt the best way to defend your position is to not defend it in the first place. If you are able to pull away from the driver behind, be sure to do so. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons. Will I struggle at the end of the race if I push now? Will battling with other drivers slow me down and potentially put me at risk of losing more places? Is it better to battle with drivers or pull away? These are some of the questions you need to ask yourself in order to figure out whether you can pull away or not.
That concludes this article on how to defend your position. Always remember that every track is different, but over defending will cost you a lot of time. These 5 basic tips are essential regardless of where you race, and should enable you to stay in front of your competition more often. If you want to learn more about defensive driving and all things karting, Be sure to subscribe to our Kart Class Champions Program that creates champions! Guided by 18-time Australian kart champion David Sera, Kart Class will take your driving to the next level!