Colin McRae once said, “Straight roads are for fast cars, turns are for fast drivers”. Motorsports, with the exception of drag racing, is not a simple sprint to the finish. Circuits have many corners, all with different characteristics and different ways to tackle each corner, so this article is aimed to help drivers improve their go kart steering. The most fundamental part of getting through a corner is steering as it is the function/action of turning. However, it is certain that you will experience problems such as understeer (lack of the kart’s responsiveness when turning a corner, causing the kart to go wide), or oversteer (too much response from the kart when turning a corner, causing the kart to slide in the rear) which makes fine tuning this skill easier said than done. So, to help, here are three ways to improve your go-kart steering.
- Setup/Tune your go-kart
The most common way drivers approach understeer/oversteer is to adjust certain settings on a go-kart. Using this method enables drivers to try multiple settings in a short amount of time, which is convenient especially if practice on track is limited. The front and rear track width of the kart is the simplest and most minor adjustment you can alter on the kart to change the balance. Adjusting the seat height as well as its position forward or back is considered a bigger adjustment. These settings as well as camber & caster can help in things such as how much a go-kart turns, it’s balance and weight, as well as the chassis flex. Every driver has their preference, so make sure to set up the go-kart to your driving style and not copy the setup of the driver next to you.
- Upgrade or change parts of your go-kart
This method is considered a quick fix. Because while doing this to your go-kart is not the solution to all your problems, this helps you start with a fresh slate and increases the potential of the go-kart. The most common thing go-kart drivers do is change to a fresh set of slick tires. The more grip you have, steering the kart is much easier and the driver can easily control the amount of steering input needed to make the corner. Drivers might want to increase the size of their front hub to help steering, alter the rims the use or change the rear axle due to too much grip. Make sure to check your kart for parts that may be rusty, bent, or possess any irregular characteristics. These are some signs that that certain part may need repair or replacement. Take note that this method has one disadvantage however, which is the fact that parts are by no means cheap.
- Improve your fitness
Fitness is something that a driver can easily overlook. While you may have the newest and best equipment, topped with the best of settings, all of this will amount to nothing if you cannot drive the wheels off the go-kart. Softer compound tires make it more physical on the driver also with the increased g-forces. Improving your fitness is easy to learn, but hard to execute. Staying on a strict diet and sticking to your workout plan or regimen is key to improving your fitness. Consistency is not only found on track, but off it as well! It is also important to make sure that your workouts target the body parts needed to execute the act of turning. These include your hands, arms, and even core for the kart to have good balance.
These are the three ways to improve go-kart steering. Never forget that this is your go-kart and not someone else’s, some prefer a kart that understeers, while others may prefer a looser setup that tends to oversteer. With that being said, make sure to setup your go-kart which can help you achieve peak performance.
Find more information on kart steering in our Champions club program.