Overtaking: Down the inside vs Around the outside
Overtaking is a vital part of racing. The ability to get past one driver on track is an important part of race craft and what makes drivers win races. However, making an overtake is not always easy. Before making a move, the driver must set up the opponent to make the overtake as smooth as possible, otherwise they can gift that spot back. Drivers can assess the pros and cons of making a move in a certain corner, how to go about the overtake, as well the amount of risk involved when making a move. It is important to consider these things because making a mistake might cost you to lose a position instead of gaining, or worse, your day may end early because of a wrong move.
When it comes to overtaking, there are two phrases you will usually hear. One is overtaking “Down the inside”, while the other is “Around the outside”. Both offer their unique advantages and disadvantages and depending on many factors such as grip level, track conditions, and the driver you are looking to overtake, one method could be better than the other. In this article, we will discuss when the best time is to use each method so that you know which one to use when the time comes. For reference on the lines, we will use an illustration and take a corner from Atlanta Motorsports Park Go-Kart track in the USA.
Down The Inside
The Inside Line (Overtaking Down the Inside)
Overtaking down the inside is the typical line that drivers use when overtaking another driver. This is because taking this line provides the most space on the race track for your kart to drive by someone else. As the name suggests, when overtaking down the inside, you are overtaking on inside line of another kart, which means you are at the innermost part of the corner. One advantage of overtaking down the inside is that you will cover less distance than the usual racing line.
However, because you are down the inside, it is expected you will have less grip than the traditional racing line, as there is limited rubber on this part of the circuit. Drivers need to be aware their braking grip will be minimal, so although you’re attempting an overtake, you may need to brake earlier than your normal line.
If you overshoot the overtake on entry, drivers will likely be re-overtaken on the exit of a corner, handing back the position they were trying to gain. Try slow up the speed at the apex, so you don’t exit too wide and can maintain that position.
Around The Outside
The Outside Line (Overtaking Around the Outside)
On the other hand, overtaking around the outside means that you are taking the wider line of the circuit. One advantage of overtaking around the outside is you can brake later because there is more distance to brake when compared to overtaking down the inside. When it comes to overtaking around the outside, drivers need to be mindful that the driver they are attempting to overtake is likely going to move across to that line as they approach a corner. So your space to overtake can shrink very quickly.
The other disadvantage is that the driver in front of you, although they might be driving a defensive line, or a shallower entry, their eyes are focused on the inside of the next corner, not what’s on their outside. So there is less chance they can see you trying to perform an overtake, and this is where accidents can occur.
Keep in mind that by going around the outside, you are also going outside of the typical racing line. This will likely mean less grip on the approach to a corner. We see these types of overtakes primarily on lapped karts that have less speed when driving and have placed their karts in the middle of the circuit.
Every Overtake Is Different
That wraps up the two lines you can use when overtaking, that being down the inside, or around the outside. Remember that each have their respective advantages and disadvantages and to fully maximize both methods, use the one that best fits your driving ability and the drivers you are attempting to overtake.
Also keep in mind that every corner is unique and so is every overtake. Different circumstances and factors will come into play that may deviate from what usually works. Start to learn the traits the drivers you are competing against have, and where their strengths and weaknesses lie. This will help with future overtakes against the same drivers.
The inside is generally the safest place to overtake but is not always possible due to the drivers defensive driving or lack of experience holding a tighter line. I was always explained from my dad, “outside, suicide”, meaning the outside has a much greater risk of an accident, so try only using this line when needed.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to setting up yourself for the best overtaking opportunity, which is determined by many factors as mentioned above. If you want to set yourself for success and take your racing career to the next level, then sign up for Kart Class’ Champions Program! Guided by 18 x Australian Champion David Sera, here you will learn the skills it takes to be a go-kart race winner and champion!