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What makes a kart grip up?

In kart racing, keeping the engine RPM (revolutions per minute) high when cornering allows the kart to release on the exit of corners and provide good acceleration. If your kart has too much grip there can be multiple causes, but in this article, we will touch on a few of them to help you tune your kart next race event.

It’s critical to have your tyre pressures in the optimal window so they provide enough grip throughout your on-track session. When the tyres increase in temperature too quickly, this creates a slide effect, and you will notice your times start to slow down the more laps you drive.

If you can have the kart peaking in its performance around 80% into a race, this gives the kart a chance to reach its maximum performance. The last 20% of the race, it’s up to the driver to just try maintaining the speed rather than keep pushing and overheating the tyres more. If you notice the tyres with severe graining, that’s a sign over the tyres overheating and it’s advised to lower the pressures accordingly.

Another area that makes the kart over grip is too much weight to the back of the chassis. Now this can be achieved in a couple of ways (A lot of lead ballast bolted to the rear of the seat & the seat being too far back).

If you’re a light driver, and need to add a lot of lead ballast, it’s recommended that you evenly balance the weight. The heaviest weight should go underneath the crutch area of the seat, then try offset the engine weight by bolting the next weight to left side of the seat. If you need to add additional weight, try one on the back of the seat & then try get the next weight on the front of the chassis between the pedals. This balance will be much better than just bolting all your lead to the back of the seat and experiencing too much grip.

Taller drivers can get stuck with being cramped in a kart and are forced to have the seat back just from a comfort standpoint. But positioning the seat too far back (or over the rear axle) will enhance your grip by not allowing the inside rear wheel to list as easily. When there is no inside wheel lift, the kart will want to understeer, and this generates more grip. Karting needs to be comfortable when driving, but this can come at the expense of performance if not fitted in the correct position.

The softer the compound of tyre, the more grip the kart will have. If you find yourself driving on a soft compound tyre, you will need to use a lower tyre pressure and change your driving style by using more ‘roll-time’ rather than trail braking, or hard braking techniques.

Drivers can’t get stuck in their ways when it comes to driving. When the kart isn’t handling to their liking, they need to try adapting to the kart and conditions, so the kart doesn’t grip up too much.

It’s important for drivers to get a basic understanding of when the kart is gripping up so they can make the right adjustments to their chassis. Our Kart Setup program provides users with the information on when to make certain setup adjustments depending on the conditions.

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