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How to overtake in a go kart

Today we're going to be discussing how to overtake in go-karting. So we're looking at some strategies for safe and effective overtaking, but also how to read your opponent's moves. Now when it comes to racing, it's good being the fastest kart and qualifying on the front row, but realistically, motor racing is all about racing your competitors. That means overtaking other drivers and knowing what strategies you can use to pass those drivers.


The first objective to overtaking is we need to be close to our competitors to make the overtake. It's all good and well being two kart lengths back and thinking, you know what? I might pull this overtake off, and sometimes you might be able to. But the chances are, when you're coming from too far back to make an overtake, you are likely to make contact because you're having to travel at a lot faster speed to get passed that kart.


You might be entering the corner at five or 10kmhs faster, then suddenly, the other driver can't see you because you're too far back. They turn in, you are traveling at too much speed, contact is made, and the chances are that two karts are involved in the crash. When you're attempting an overtake, try, and sit as close as you can to the rear bumper. Don’t pull out too soon to make an overtake, as the driver in front, if they look around, can defend that position before you get alongside them.


You want to try and make it as late as possible entering the braking zone. Just before the braking zone, you're on the bumper, you pull out towards the inside, it's always the safest spot to be looking to overtake, and then once they brake, you try and brake one kart later.


The reason we want to overtake on the inside, is that's where the driver who you're overtaking is going to be looking. They're not going to look to the outside, because there's nothing out there. If their vision is looking towards the inside and you are trying to put your kart in that position, into their eye line, then they're more likely to give you some room.


Again, if they can see you in their peripheral vision and they turn in, that's going to be side to side contact and generally the outside kart comes off worse than the inside kart. If you're at their bumper and you're trying to overtake, they can't see you there, so they're more likely to turn in.


When it comes to the best spots to pass on the track, the straights are generally the safest and the easiest to overtake. You've got the most amount of time on the straight to get a slipstream to pull out and get alongside the driver you're trying to pass. The braking zones are where you can make that overtake stick a lot easier. So, you pull out, brake one kart later, and the overtake should be completed.


If you're not braking into a corner, unless you've got a lot more speed, it's going to be hard to overtake. Just be mindful of that when you're trying to overtake in spots that the momentum that you may lose from not completing the pass, it might then slow you down and ruin your chances of passing on the following corner.


When we're trying to read our opponents moves, if you race a particular competitor a lot, you start to get an understanding on which corners they're good at, and where they may be making mistakes.


You start to learn the characteristics on what that driver does because each driver has their own style and then you're starting to learn where they're strong, where they're weak, and you want to try and take advantage of their weaknesses.


You can learn just by watching them from the sidelines. You might not be practicing in the session, but you might watch a session and go, you know what? Young Jacks struggling at this one corner. When I race him the next time, that's where I'm going to be trying to overtake. So, learning when you are not on the track is super important, because then when you do get the opportunity to race these guys, the chance of you overtaking these competitors and making it stick are more likely.


We hope these tips benefit you when it comes to your next session on track and your upcoming races for how to overtake in a Go-kart. These are the safest ways but try overtaking on the inside where possible & getting in the eye line of the kart you’re overtaking.


If you need more help with your race-craft, we have tailored programs to help your kart racing needs. From kart setup, to driving techniques and mindset, Kart Class has the necessary tools to get you to the front.

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