Just when you thought go-karts couldn’t be any more difficult, lets look at how to drive a shifter kart. Unlike touch and go karts (TaG), shifter karts have a transmission which requires the driver to upshift and downshift over the course of a lap. This transmission is not like a paddle shifter in formula cars as shifter karts use a stick shift. This means that for more than half of the lap, the driver is basically steering a go-kart with much more power, braking strength, and acceleration than a TaG kart, with one hand! Shifter karts are definitely not for the weary, but if you are up for the challenge, here are some tips on how to drive a shifter kart.
- Learn the gears
- Understand 4-wheel braking
- Adapt to the extra power
As mentioned earlier, shifter karts have more power, better braking, and faster acceleration. This extra power is not easy to handle, especially if you are a driver who is used to other types of go-karts be it rentals or TaG karts. So, in order to control this extra surge of power, you must be able to adapt to it. There are many ways to go about this. For starters, increasing the intensity and difficult of your workouts can help better condition your body for the sensations that you will experience in the kart. These can include extra g’s placed on the body, increased difficulty of turning and maneuvering the kart, and the rush of air as you zoom along the straights. Placing yourself on a stricter diet is also something you can do, but nothing beats the feeling of driving the shifter kart itself. Heading to a track to get some laps is always the best way to go about it. But if budget is a concern, the simulator is also a good way to better understand and feel the kart.
These are the 3 basic concepts that you must grapple with as you step into the world of shifter karts. If you want to further expand your knowledge on the world of shifter karts and the KZ class in general, Kart Class has launched a new program called “The Art of KZ”. Together with SKUSA Supernats champion Danny Formal, learn new and advanced techniques such as late braking, flat-shifting, and the ideal carby tune among others, all of which can take your karting career in shifters to the next level!