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Demystify Go-Karting Race Lines | Kart Racing Tips

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Identifying where the race line is on a circuit, is critical to the amount of grip a kart will have when cornering. As more and more drivers circulate on one line, the rubber from their tyres gets laid onto the circuit which forms a darker black line. This is line that you want to look ahead for and place your four racing tyres on.

Treat it like a video game, where they show you the correct line to drive, once you can spot the difference between the darker line, compared to the lighter coloured section of the race track, you can place the kart in the best spot. A lot of drivers starting out, tend to turn in too early, so what happens is that not all four tyres are on the racing line, and they don’t have the same grip as the more experienced drivers.

I try to explain the racing line to drivers I coach as “glue”, as the rubber from your tyres and what is already on the circuit allows the kart to stick to the track. So the more you can stay on the “glue” the easier it is to corner. When a race track has been greeted by the rain, it can typically wash away any rubber on circuit, so as a driver searching for the darker rubber line, it isn’t visible. This is why it’s important to take mental notes and have a track map drawn up that you can look back on from previous sessions.

It is wise to watch karts on circuit before you drive, as this will give you a better understanding on which is the ideal racing line before you hit the race track. Once drivers put their helmet on, they can forget things, as driving a kart around corners can happen quite quickly. That’s why I recommend where possible, to write down notes, fill out a track map and watch other drivers. When watching all types of motorsport, the racing line fundamental stays the same. So the sooner you get an understanding, you can take this all the way through your career.

The racing line will get thicker at larger events when more karts are circulating on the same line. This is good for us as a driver as it increases our chances of staying on the correct line around a corner.

Lastly, I would prefer to see drivers slightly inside of the dark rubber line, than outside, because if we drive into the corners with too much speed we can slide to where there is more rubber. If we are already placing two wheels on the outside on the racing line, it won't be as forgiving.

race lines
Race Lines diagram