Today we're discussing how to drive consistently in go-karting. Now, it's super important to be able to knock out a fast lap because that might set you up the grid in qualifying if you can pull out a tenth or two on a particular lap. But realistically, when it comes to racing, we want to be consistent. So that might be driving one or two tenths slower but being able to do those 10 laps in a row, can win you more races.
That means we're making less mistakes and we're minimizing opportunities for other drivers to get past us. Now, consistency is all about hitting the same markers each lap. For some drivers they might have a visual marker, whether that's a tire barrier, a painted line on the track, a certain part of the curbing that identifies to the driver, that's when to hit the apex or that's when hit the brakes.
We want to concentrate on trying to have a visual marker rather than focusing on, let's say a shadow. That's really going to be an issue with different times of the day. So straight away it's like, you know what? There's a shadow over the track. I'm hitting a certain point; I'm braking at that shadow. An hour later, that shadow's gone. Now suddenly, the driver's a bit lost, and they’re backing off earlier and losing two or three tenths in that corner. So try and disregard any shadows. You might be able to use them for that one session or for a couple of laps if it's working in your favor, but don't get set on using them often.
The next component to being consistent is by maintaining our concentration. If we're constantly looking behind or worrying about other drivers, we start to lose focus, and then those markers are harder to find because we're not concentrating as much. We're not looking ahead into our corners. Then what happens is, if we're looking over our shoulder, oh crap, there's our braking marker. Now we've overshot the corner. Too much speed on the way in. Oh, now we've missed our apex and that's where mistakes creep in. Now, generally, and if this happens with myself, even after 25 years of racing, you make a mistake in the next corner, you want to pick it back up. So then you try 110% to the next corner. What happens is you're likely to make another mistake, and so that flow on effective mistake, mistake, mistake, 3, 4, 5, 6 tenths may have gone past that one lap, and then you're chasing your tail.
Then you're starting to get nervous in a race, then you start to look behind more. Then you're having to over defend because there's someone on your bumper because you've made more mistakes, and it's that real negative flow on effect. So getting back to concentration, it's having visual markers so that you can really concentrate on, where to brake, where to accelerate and where to apex, and just trying to mimic that from lap to lap. Then you start to visualize those points. So in between sessions, you've finished a run, and you want to start to visualize those points.
You start to program your mind about what you're going to do the following session. Now, with our consistency, it's obviously about trying to do at least three laps within one 10th of a second. If you're able to do that one blinder of a lap, that's great, but it means that the kart is possible to do those multiple times.
As we're making our way through with experience and going into those bigger races with more experienced drivers and possibly better drivers than us, it's super important that if you can do it once, you've got to remember what was happening. So what were you doing? Were you ducking your head more for the lap or were you braking a little bit later or possibly braking less so carrying more speed into a particular corner.
It's really trying to back yourself in. Once you feel confident in the package that you're driving is to really try and push that limit more, and then remembering what you did so you can do it more often as well. That's the key when it comes to consistent laps.
Qualifying you can be on the extreme edge on a particular lap, but when it comes to racing, you might have to drive at 95%, but being able to drive it lap after lap.
I hope these tips have given you some advantage the next time you go to the track. If you need no more information on kart racing kart setup, driving techniques & mindset, then be sure to visit our Champions Program where we level up your racing knowledge.