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The Art of Overtaking

Having good race craft is perhaps the most important skill any driver must possess. The ability to consistently make the right decisions and good strategic calls whilst being able to adapt to the high intensity of kart racing is essential. One of the best examples of good race craft can be seen in a driver’s ability to overtake other drivers on track. To execute the perfect overtake, a combination of factors such as confidence, the corner you are about to drive, your competition, and which side of the track you’re attempting to overtake on, come into play. In this article, we will teach you what it takes to make a good overtake on track.

 

Know The Track

Aside from finding out your brake markers and when to brake, knowing the track is important as it helps you find out potential overtaking opportunities. Keep in mind that every track is different. For some, overtaking is possible almost anywhere on the track, while for others it may seem more challenging as there are fewer and more limited overtaking spots.

It is also important to know what comes after that overtake to help you prepare. This can help you not be vulnerable to possible moves like switchbacks or your opponent being able to overtake you after you made a move. Timing is also an important factor when it comes to overtaking.


todd road circuit
Turns 1, 5, and 7-8 are good overtaking opportunities at Todd Road

Know Your Opponent

Over the course of a race, it is important to analyze the driver in front of you whom you plan to overtake. As with every driver, there are parts of the track that they excel at, and others where they seem to struggle. By finding out these weak points, this can help you set up your opponent for a potential overtake. Once you’ve planned your overtake, total commitment is required!

For example, if you know that the driver in front of you struggles in the last corner before the main straight, then it means you must prioritize getting a good exit off that corner as this can help present an overtaking opportunity after the main straight.

todd road turn 1
Turn 1 at Todd Road is a great spot for an overtaking opportunity.

Applying Pressure

It is important to make sure you always make your presence felt. Make sure you apply pressure on your competition wherever you can. One way of doing this is by staying as close as possible to the driver you wish to overtake. By doing so, you can force them into a mistake, which can lead to an overtake a few corners later. If you start to see the driver in front looking over their shoulder a lot, this is a sign they are nervous, and more mistakes might take place.

Pulling a dummy or fake overtake can also mess with your competitors mentally. Making unpredictable moves can make them question when or where you are going to execute your overtake.

overtake image
Stay as close to your opponent as you can.

Take The Risk

We’ve all heard the iconic statement, “If you no longer go for a gap that exists, you’re no longer a racing driver”. To this day, that statement holds true. If you know in yourself that the move you make has a good chance of succeeding, then make the pass. It is easy to let fear, and doubt consume your mind. However, that’s what practice sessions and all the precise calculations were for, which is this very moment. Now, all you must do is make it happen!

Exit Is Everything

It is one thing to do the overtake, and it is another to keep your position on track. After making the move, make sure to get a clean exit off the corner, so that you still maintain your position after exiting the corner. At the same time, getting a good exit out of the corner helps to not leave yourself vulnerable to being overtaken once again. You might need to check up your speed on the apex, to not allow the other driver to switch back that position. But with any mistakes made, this presents another opportunity to learn from it so in the next instance, the same thing doesn’t happen.

That wraps up the art of overtaking. Here, we learned the basics, what you must keep in mind, as well as what to do before, during, and after the overtake. If you want to take your racing to the next level, sign up to our race-winning Champions Program! Here you will learn advanced overtaking techniques, how to pressure your opposition and methods to help take your driving to the next level.

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