The Racing line is known as the shortest route to take around a circuit. It is also the line that involves the least steering input which is beneficial to save time (more turning of the steering wheel equals more time lost). However, the line you take around a circuit will always differ, and change based on factors such as weather, tire wear, grip level & track temperature. In this article, we aim to tackle the basic racing lines around a circuit and the importance of adapting to the conditions to find the fastest way around the track.
Dry LineThis is the most common line that drivers use. If the weather presents dry conditions, or rain that is not enough to stick to the track, the dry line is always optimal.
Let us take this basic corner (left hand turn) of Todd Road, Melbourne for example. As you can see, the line starts with the driver on the on the far-right side (As seen in point 1). From there, the driver gets on the brakes and will then aim to hit the apex, which is usually in the middle of the corner (As seen in point 2). After hitting the apex, the driver will then slowly get on the power and maximize all the track available on the outside as they make their exit (As seen in point 3).
There is also an easy way to find the optimal line, and that is by locating the rubber laid out on the track. As drivers continue to take the dry line, rubber falls off from the tires due to eventual tire wear and degradation. When the rubber falls, it stays on the track, providing grip. And as more rubber comes off the tire, a line is visibly formed, which is known as the dry line. So, if you are ever having difficulty in finding the racing line, let the rubber on-track guide you.
As the name suggests, when it comes to tracks that are wet, taking an alternative driving line may provide additional grip.
If we take the same corner again and instead demonstrate the wet line, we can see that there is a massive difference in how the driver tackles a corner. Usually, using the wet line involves avoiding the traditional dry racing line. This is because, in wet conditions, the dry line provides no grip, causing wheelspin and a loss of traction. Therefore, heading into the corner the line shows that the kart must be in the middle of the track as this is where the grip can be found (As seen in point 1) entering the braking zone. Afterwards, a lot of turn in must be applied for the kart to hit the very late apex (As seen in point 2). When it comes to the wet line, a later apex is used to get a better exit off the corner. For the exit, like the dry line, you must use all the track on exit before eventually returning to the middle of the track (As seen in point 3).
Experimenting Different Lines
Despite the guide to dry and wet lines provided, it is important to know that every track is different. Aside from weather conditions and track temperature, the track itself can also present factors that force you to adjust your line. Banking, camber, track surface, bumps, and even the sequence of corners are just some of the many things that can change the way you drive around a circuit. Furthermore, with the continuous evolution of motorsport, specifically in the development of karts, some drivers opt to drive the dry line instead of the wet line, even in damp conditions. At the end of the day, it all comes down to feeling and comfort. By continuing to drive the track and experiment with different lines, you will eventually discover the line that will take you around the track the fastest.
If you want to take your racing to the next level and learn more about race lines, apexes, steering inputs and more, sign up for our Kart Class Beginner Program! Here you will learn advanced techniques and methods that you can take to any new circuit.