How to use video data analysis to go faster in a go kart.

How to use video data analysis to go faster in a go kart.

Here’s how I use a Go Pro camera (Amazon) with Vegas Pro video editing software (Amazon) to unlock my speed.

“What exactly IS the fastest way through the track?”

Back when I was running leagues, I would often wonder what exactly IS the fastest way through the track? If I just knew that, then maybe I could repeat it over and over. And the good news is, I found a really easy way to work that out!

Simple, you just record your best laps with a go pro camera and then pull the session up in a video editing package and study that fast lap, frame by frame and step by step.

You would be amazed at what you can learn.

This beats a data logger like Micron or abstract tools like GPS generated charts. The reason is that you can look at the video itself without having to translate into meaningful information.

So I have created a couple of videos to help you out. In the first video I break down how to set Vegas Pro Editing software up to analyze laps. In my second video I take a look where you can get the software and the go pro camera for the best price.

WHERE do you get kart racing analysis gear without spending a fortune?

My favorite Video Editing Package Vegas Studio Pro and Go Pro Camera can be found on Amazon here….

Why I use Vegas Studio Pro for Analysis

As you can see in my video, the best thing about Vegas Pro is the ability to set markers to define your laps. Once the markers are set, you can use hotkeys to select and measure sector and lap times.

The hotkeys also allow you to easily jump between laps and to step 1 frame at a time through your video. This is extremely powerful. That’s because it allows you to see in fine detail exactly what transpired when you gained or lost time.

For example, want to know the exact line of the fastest lap? Just step one frame at a time and look carefully at where your tires are on the track relative to cracks and marks. Pay special attention to the exits of turns because exits are the best way to know if you are slightly on or off the racing line. You can also use exit information when you’re actually on the track.

A word of caution here. DONT try to go cheap with “Vegas MOVIE Studio”. In my experiments the hotkeys don’t work properly, but worst of all it lacks the ability to measure sector times and lap times, which makes it kind of useless. You want Vegas PRO, and either Sony Vegas Pro or Magix Vegas Pro will work.

I have linked to the lowest cost version because you don’t actually need to make videos and edit sound here. You only need to see the video and analyze it. But if you want to go on and create videos the latest versions are excellent. (I actually use Vegas Pro 17 for my analysis and video editing.)

Why I use Go Pro Video for Data Capture.

Go Pro was just about the first action camera around and I started using them before the Hero series was invented.

The important thing about a video capture system is that it MUST be able to capture at least 60 frames per second (FPS). Frame Rate is much more important than video resolution. Some cameras can capture at over 100 frames per second. As a rule ‘more is better’ when it comes to frame rate.

The nice thing here is that even the older Go Pro’s in the hero series can capture at 60 fps.

If you are going to go for an alternative capture device then make sure you have at least 60 fps. Also make sure you get some form of image stabilization because action film can be very unstable.


Take a look at my video for more information about exactly how I set up Vegas Studio Pro for race analysis. You’ll see I use a split screen method so you can compare every lap to your fast lap. It’s very powerful. I hope this allows you to make the most of your Go Pro camera so that your off track sessions can be just as meaningful as your on track time.

10 Mistakes Karters Make that Cost Speed

10 Mistakes New Karters Make that Cost Speed


When I first hit a go kart track I had challenged another driver to a race. Little did I know back then, but this guy had raced for years in the Skip Barber series and had even trained with Bob Bundurant.

At that time I took great pride in my ability to be able to control a car under a slide. I thought this was some kind of skill.

What happened next was a complete embarrassment, the guy began to destroy me and lap me like I was a grandma on sleeping pills.

I was completely confused but amazed, how was he doing this? Why was he able to do this? What the hell was going on?

That began a lifelong journey for me, I was making pretty much all of the mistakes I mention here. But I’m going to save you the years it took me to learn about them.

In this article we look at 10 mistakes that kart racers make when trying to drive fast. There are many things that can slow us down in a kart, but eliminate these and you’ll be much faster in no time.

Mistake #1 Sliding

A cardinal rule of karting is that “Sliding is Slow, Traction is Fast”. There are many reasons why we slide and we will look at some of those here. The problem is that when we slide it practically puts the brakes on the go kart. You could almost say that the ‘anti slide’ design is a safety feature of the design, but it’s actually a design intended to allow a go kart to be faster in corners.

A go kart has a solid rear axle, and that means that both rear wheels must always rotate at the same speed. That’s a problem in corners because the arc travelled by the inside wheel must always be less than the arc travelled by the outside wheel. And so because the wheels are the same size, the left rear and right rear tires go into a battle for control when in corners.

In a standard car this is handled by a mechanical marvel known as the differential. The differential allows each wheel to be able to travel independently of each other.

And so the inside wheel of your car can travel more slowly than the outside wheel. But a go kart can not do what the differential allows and if both wheels are flat to the ground then one of them must act something like a brake, skipping and losing traction.

To facilitate this the go kart is designed to ‘tripod’ or tip over onto 3 wheels, where the inside rear wheel lifts off the ground. This allows the inside rear to spin freely while the outside rear handles traction and rotation of the corner. A go kart is able to go quickly through a turn. because of that inside rear wheel lift.

But now consider what happens when the kart slides. That inside rear wheel that is lifted into the air, all of a sudden, comes slapping down onto the ground. At the same time the kart twists and the rear steps out. The rotation of the kart must now deal with two rear tires in battle because when they are flat the kart wants to go in a straight line, not turn.

All of this effectively puts the brakes onto the kart and it is not uncommon to see a kart come to a dead stop after a slide. It is also not uncommon to hear the engine bog down under load as the kart struggles to complete the turn.

Even a very slight slide is going to place a minor braking effect on the kart and throw energy to the wind. At the upper levels of racing it is often just a battle to see who micro-slides the least as they push their karts to edge of the limits.

Mistake #2 Turning and braking at the same time when under maximum brake.

To facilitate this rear wheel lifting the kart is also designed to shift the weight forward while under brakes and to lift the rear inside wheel off the ground when you are turning slightly.

When under a lot of braking pressure BOTH wheels actually become light. This creates a problem that can take half of your braking power away when you turn the wheel.

Now while trail braking (turning and braking at the same time) is an advanced braking technique, many drivers don’t know how to do it correctly and end up coming into turns way too fast and spinning out of control.

The correct way to brake at maximum force is to lift your head up, lean back, and brake in a straight line. Note how the back wheels become light and effectively lift off the ground when under heavy braking.

Mistake #3 Getting on the gas too early

So now that we have established that sliding is the enemy and why let’s consider what happens when you get on the gas too early. In a nutshell, you slide. 

The reason is because the forward weight bias created under braking needs time to settle the rear wheel down force again. Usually this is handled by coasting for a short while to allow the back wheels to seat themselves.

As a general rule you should wait until you reach the apex (The middle of the turn) before you attempt to reapply the gas.

Consider the kart in the middle of the image here. The rear wheels are still slightly light and effectively without downforce, while in the middle of a turn and before reaching the apex. If you try to apply gas at this stage of the karts imbalance you will induce a slide.

The solution is to wait, and don’t get back on the gas too early. 

Mistake #4 Braking Too Late

There is a common misconception amongst intermediate drivers that the trick to being faster than others is to apply the brakes later than others. Indeed it has the potential to make your straights longer, so why not?

The problem is that it increases the forward bias and jarres the weight transfer violently when you slam on the brakes at the end of a straight. It becomes impossible to maintain control and balance after a certain point.

The best way to brake is to find a moderate point at which you can begin squeezing and slowly increase the pressure with a smooth consistent build up. Then use timing and a “brake point” at which you begin to control your speed into the turn. If you find you are coming in too fast, (because you have a loss of control on entry) then move your brake point forward and brake earlier. If you find you can easily take the turn then you can move your brake point forward.

By dialing your brake point in like this, you can eventually have perfect brake control on every turn.

Mistake #5 Getting off the gas too late

This mistake is somewhat related to mistake #4. Before you can brake you will want to get off the gas. You dont want to be braking and accelerating at the same time either. So at some point you need to make the transition from racing and accelerating to decelerating. Sometimes we have to coast before we make the transition to braking.

In some turns we dont brake, we only lift off the gas and coast for a while before getting back onto the gas.
A common place where this kind of mistake occurs is in sweeper turns. Sweeper turns are deceptive because as you enter them you are at no risk of sliding, but as you get more into the turn the lateral forces build up and eventually you have to release the gas or suffer a loss of control.

But it is often the release of the gas that actually causes the loss of control. This is because as you lift off the gas while in the sweeper your weight shifts forward and the rear wheels lose their downforce. This is the classic case of ‘snap oversteer’ and it is caused by getting off the gas too late.

On the contrary the faster driver lifts off the gas early and as he enters the sweeper for a brief moment. This causes the kart to dip forward and tilt over, establishing firm front and rear outside grip first. Next the fast driver reapplies the gas as others with less experience have to lift and lose control.

As a result the pro travels at full acceleration through zones that others are sliding and scrambling to maintain control.

Mistake #6 Leaning Into Turns

This is a very common problem of new drivers and even some more experienced drivers. As you go through a turn the inertia is going to want to throw you to the outside of the turn, so why not fight it like a motorcycle rider and lean over and into the turn?

There are several problems with this mistake. First the rear inside wheel has more trouble lifting, so we force the rear wheels to stay flat. That causes the binding effect and drag of the rear wheels. It also hinders the kart from gaining maximum roll speed through the turn.

The next problem is that the lateral forces created by your body have a tendency to push the wheels outwards, this makes you more susceptible to sliding.

Here is what happens when you lean out of a turn. You assist the rear inside wheel to lift. You also change the lateral down force so that instead of pushing the weight laterally you push down on top of the wheel. This gives you extra grip.

The important thing to remember though is that you MUST lean out BEFORE you enter the turn. If you start to lean when you are in the turn or going into the turn then usually this is too late, and will upset the kart balance.

So if you are going to lean then do it early, while you are still on the straight.

Mistake #7 Not Knowing and Not Looking Where You’re going

This is a common mistake amongst newer drivers who tend to look either directly ahead or directly at the driver who is just in front of them.

There are always very specific places on the track where you need to focus your attention and your eyes. Those points are your apexes, or the mid points of your turns. You need to know where those points are down to the fraction of an inch if possible.

Mike Smith (US indoor national karting champion) used to be fond of saying, ‘the kart will go where your eyes are looking’. That means if you’re staring at the kart in front of you, and you’re faster than them, you’re either going to hit them or hit what they hit. If you’re looking at the corner, you’re probably going to go around the driver in front of you and not into them.

In the image below the cross hair shows where the apex is for this turn and this is exactly where your eyes need to be. The white line on the track also shows an imaginary path, this is what you literally have to paint onto the track with your imagination so you can drive your wheels over the line. We call this the racing line and it is basically built from the apex and turn in point.

The important thing is to find your apex and to focus your eyes on that point from as early as you can possibly see it.

Mistake #8 Turning in too early or too late.

Another name for this is ‘racing into turns’. This is a common problem among new drivers who are in the ‘racing’ mode. You can imagine the situation, there’s a race on and in the hurry the driver turns in early.

In the image below the red line shows the consequence of turning in early, while the white line shows the preferred line. By turning in early the exit is choked and the driver is out of position for the next turn, which is now extremely difficult to take quickly. The white line driver on the other hand has sacrificed his entry for an accelerated next turn. These kinds of trade offs are considered and made on every track. There is a perfect optimal turn in point at every turn.

Mistake #9 Moving your hands around while in a turn.

This is a common mistake made by drivers who like to “drive by feel”. I often see the front wheels of these drivers flapping around like fish. The only thing I can liken this to is driving a ‘nautical mile’.

Now imagine for a moment that you entered a turn within a split hair of losing traction, you are finely riding the absolute limit of possibility. That is the optimal fastest way to travel a turn. But now what happens when you start quivering your hands around? Those micro movements will displace the weight and push you over the limit.

For this reason you should always look for a way to be able to take a turn by holding your hands steady on one long sweeping optimal arc. You might have to make some adjustments on entry or slowly unwind your exit but the main highest G force portion of the turn should be made and held with one steady input. This will stop you from sliding.

Mistake #10 Trying to drive by reflex and not timing.

Another problem with driving by feel is that the standard human reflexes have about a 200th of a second response time. Even in a relatively slow indoor kart, and a top speed of around 15 meters per second you will travel 3 meters before you can even twitch a response to what you are feeling.

That might as well be a mile off mark. For this reason driving is more about timing than it is reflexes. This means you need to get your bearings early, on straights before turns, and as much in advance as you can.

Always look for ways you can use timing rather than reflexes. One way to do that is to look for marks and markers around the track that you can use for timing. Cracks in the ground, paint and objects on the sides (preferably objects that wont move). This is a cheats way of staying on line, but it works very well.

I remember once while racing in the 24 hour enduro of Charlotte at VLK raceway. I was botching one of the turns every time, and I had a teammate on the radio with me asking “what’s up with that turn?”. I was in the seat for an hour and for the first 15 minutes missed the apex just about every time.

There was just something about that turn that made it impossible to naturally hit the apex.

So I started to time my turn in point by using the tires on the entry as markers. I chose a tire that was somewhere about right and decided I would turn in at that tire. I came through the turn and early apexed. That’s okay I decided next turn I would turn in at the next tire.

Again I came through the turn and early apexed, but not as bad this time. I moved my marker ahead one more tire.

This time it was different, I came through the turn and nailed the apex perfect. I kept my focus on that turn in point marker for the rest of the session and nailed the apex perfectly for the rest of the hour.

That’s how you use timing to beat feel and beat reflexes.


That’s the first 10 mistakes that slow you down in a go kart, that come to my mind. Almost all of them are basically related to avoiding the slide and staying on the driving line. I hope these ideas will help you to find speed on your track.

12 Advanced Karting Tips for Heavy Drivers, to beat Lighter Drivers.

12 Advanced Karting Tips for Heavy Drivers, to beat Lighter Drivers.

I’m typically a heavier driver. In my proudest moment, I ran a full league season against our strongest class of drivers, starting at 30lbs over the weigh in, and miraculously won the season. That was truly amazing because at least 3 of the drivers were ranked in the top 20 US indoor karters at the time. Mind you, I went on a keto diet the night we started the 8 week race season and finished my last race at legal weight, but for 7 of those races, I was over the weigh in.

Anyone with any karting experience knows that even just a difference of 10lbs will essentially rob you of about 0.015 of a second per corner. While that’s not much, it adds up when you have like 6 to 10 corners to deal with. And it really adds up when you’re at like 210lbs racing against a 180lb driver. We had 7 corners in our series so I was running at a 7×0.015 x3= 0.315 second handicap per lap. And our races are 50 laps long!

So how did I pull that off?

Well let’s look at how extra weight in a go kart causes problems and what you can do about those problems.

The problem is acceleration zones and corners. Without getting too scientific about it, basically Newton’s laws of kinetic energy are working against us.

(Stuff it, I have to give you formula, K=mv^2/2. Kinetic Energy = Mass x Velocity squared, divided by 2. This formula tells us how much energy is required to reach any speed.)

The problem is that to reach the same velocity a heavier driver requires the engine to deliver more energy than a lighter driver requires, and the engine can only deliver the same amount of horsepower per second to both drivers. The lighter driver has a serious acceleration advantage. And that means the lighter driver can slide around and will be forgiven. You, the heavier driver, will not be forgiven for a slide.

But fear not, most drivers have no idea what makes a kart slow or fast, and so make loads of mistakes. Your job as a heavier driver is to not make those mistakes, and to approach it with advanced knowledge of your machine and how it works, so you can drive it with control and purpose.

So tip #1 . DO NOT SLIDE!

That means you have to be very accurate with your turn in timing. You need to have very clear marked out turn in points, and you need to hit them with absolute precision, every time. One way to work this out, is to walk the track and find marks and angles from the outside of the track to the apex. You want about a 45 degree turn in point to the apex. Mike Smith the US national indoor karting champ (of 2007 I think) would stand at the apex then count the steps to measure the width of the track. Then he would turn 90 degrees and walk back down the track the same number of steps, then turn around and his foot would be at 45 degrees to the apex. That was his turn in point. At least the starting turn in point from which he would adjust according to how his kart handled.

The way I handled the problem was I got a go pro and I captured my fastest laps from a helmet cam. Then I went home and studied my fastest laps in slow motion and worked out exactly what happened, where I turned in, where I exited. And I took note of marks on the track that lined up with my wheels. Then I could go out and hit those marks every single time.

So Tip #2. Get a helmet cam and study your fast laps in slow motion. 

One of the other reasons people slide is that they are not steady with their hands in a turn. A big part of being steady is just getting your turn in timing right, but it is also making the conscious decision that you are going to go through turns using as little hand movement as you possibly can, once you’re loaded up and going through the turn. You might need to fiddle about a bit on your turn in to catch your balance, but your ultimate goal is to get smooth and steady and to not be wobbling your hands around like you’re trying to counter steer every little bump and slide. I see many beginners driving what I call nautical miles. Like they’re trying to drive over the waves of the ocean. You can literally see the front wheels of their karts flapping left and right as they go through a turn. Don’t do that.

Tip #3, Aim to keep your hands steady and fixed through the greater part of the turn. Do not wobble the steering wheel all through the turn.

Now the best way I have found to achieve this, steady hands and steady front wheels, is to first realize that you actually have full visible access to those front wheels. This is not like a car where you can’t see where your wheels are pointing. A kart is more like a formula one car, you can see where the wheels are pointing! I can’t stress enough how important that is, you need to use this to your advantage.

What you do is put your eye directly on the apex, with the intention of aiming your front wheels right at that apex so you can get as close to it as possible. Remember your goal is not to try and use steering tricks to counter sliding through a turn. Your goal is to have no sliding and just flow through the turn under a steady G force.

So this gives several tips.

Tip #4. Put your eye on the apex as early as possible from way up on the straight, not as you turn in (that’s too late).

You need your eyes on apex early, when you are back on the straights. Looking at the apex too late is the major reason for people missing the apex.

Tip #5. Watch where your front wheels are pointing through the corner of your eye, (while your eyes are on the apex). Then just deliberately point your wheels at the apex, making the minimal adjustment needed to keep them pointed.

When you do this you become very smooth and consistent. You will find you are able to approach corners faster because you don’t break loose as easy or as often. So you don’t need to slow down as much for turns.

Tip #6. Always try to get your kart as close as possible to the apex, every time.

The reason for always being as close as possible is that any distance at all off the apex, makes the track longer. There is pretty much NEVER any speed advantage to being off the apex, and there is pretty much a 100% chance that you’ve made the track longer. How much longer? Well consider a 180 degree turn, if you are 2 feet off an apex, then you have to travel 2 feet further down the approaching straight. Now you have 2 extra feet to travel to get back on line as you go down the exit straight. That 2 feet off the apex, cost you 4 feet of track length, with no advantage in speed. This is probably the number one reason that races are won and lost, the fastest drivers are actually driving a shorter track, while going the exact same speed. So while you still need to get out wide for most turns, in an indoor kart situation you need to be looking at how you can make your turns just slightly tighter than your opponents, without losing traction.

Next we will talk about ‘the bind’, and how it can effect heavy drivers.

Now one of the major problems for a heavy driver, is that an indoor kart has a solid rear axle. This means that both rear tires travel at the same rotational velocity at ALL times. That means that the rear wheels when both firmly planted on the ground want to push the kart in a straight line at all times, even when you turn the steering into a turn. If you try to turn the steering wheel and push a kart in the pit, you’ll see what I mean, it’s like the brakes are jammed on, it doesn’t want to roll. This is known as binding, and it is a major loss of momentum energy. When you turn the wheel the front wheels and the rear wheels go into a fight, and if all 4 wheels are planted down flat and hard, unless the rear has lost traction, the front wheels are going to lose the battle.

This describes what happens when a kart is “pushing”. It also describes what happens to a kart when it slides, because essentially the outside rear tires have lost grip. The loss of grip causes the inside rear tire to slam down, because there is nothing resisting the lateral inertia. And so a kart that has just slid, has totally lost it’s geometric advantage, which I will describe now.

Now the kart is actually designed to deal with the solid rear axle problem by setting the front steering geometry up in a way that causes the kart to twist and tip over when you turn the steering wheel. Kind of. The inside rear wheel (when you are decelerating) lifts off the ground when you turn the steering wheel. So a properly functioning and operated kart is actually on 3 wheels through a turn. One back wheel on the outside, and two front wheels. In this case the solid rear axle, is no problem, the inside wheel just spins in the air. This works best when you are decelerating into a turn.

But if you are accelerating out of a slow turn, that rear wheel is much less likely to lift off the ground, because it does not have the forward weight bias to push the front wheels down and lift the rear wheels. This means that a heavier driver is more subject to an effect that we call ‘the bind’. The bind is where the weight bias due to the effect of acceleration is pushing the rear wheel down before it gets a chance to develop lateral inertia (the sidewards G force you feel in the middle of a turn). The heavy driver is extremely handicapped by the bind, much more so than a lighter driver will be.

So here’s the answer to the binding problem when under acceleration. You have to learn how to, violently and rapidly snap at the wheel when you begin your turn in. The pro drivers call this, ‘the snap in’  technique. It can be achieved in several ways, one way is similar to ‘the Scandinavian flick’ a trick that is used by rally drivers where you kind of initially turn away from the turn to load your weight onto the inside before turning back into the turn to cause the weight to aggressively transfer to the outside of the vehicle. This works best when there is a lot of traction on your track say from built up rubber and the bind is out of control. My preferred method is to over turn the steering wheel on initial entry with a very fast snap at the wheel, and then to release that pressure half way, and then return to a steady mid point. In timing it’s about 1/2 a second total from 1. snap in, 2. recoil, 3. aim at the apex and hold. If you can imagine the weight jarring quickly from one side to the other, which tips the kart up onto 3 wheels, and now you have to catch the momentum or things will get out of control. Mind you, the Snap In is NOT for corners that you are approaching quickly and decelerating into because there is no need to worry about binding in these situations. You should always be on the alert for situations that are causing binding, and thinking about how you an tip the kart over to deal with it.

So Tip #7, learn how to snap at the wheel when you’re accelerating into a turn, in order to tip the kart over sideways onto 3 wheels. This will give the heavier driver roll speed that he would not normally have due to his binding handicap.

Now there is another place where the bind can happen, and that’s on the exit as you accelerate out of a turn. If you have not achieved a 3 wheel tripod effect, then you’re going to bind your exit. You’re going to have to analyze your weight transfer and listen to your engine to know if you’re in this situation because different things can cause it, and it’s not always easy to realize you’re binding on an exit. But lets talk about some of the things that can cause it. Of course the usual culprit is that you’ve slid the rear out, ever so slightly, and you’re slipping a little as you start the exit. It’s hard to catch yourself doing this. But as general rule, the cause is from getting on the gas too early. Well that’s the easy fix, just coast more, and get on the gas later.

When you coast through a turn you maintain the 3 wheel tripod so much easier, and we call this ‘roll speed’. So you should really practice this first because it is very fast. But, it’s not the fastest way to get through the turn, and as a heavier driver trying to beat a lighter driver, now I’m going to tell you something that breaks this rule. But really, you need to master the coasting technique first.

Okay, so the reason we are binding our exit acceleration in the last example is because we are sliding ever so slightly, because we pushed for too much acceleration too early. The problem with pushing for acceleration too early is that the forward weight bias that is created by a deceleration into a turn has not had the chance to settle and return the weight bias to middle or rear. So the back is light and does not yet have adequate down force to accelerate through and out of the turn. This is why we coast, we are waiting for the forward weight bias to return to an equilibrium. But here is the thing, when you are in a turn there are actually many things that will cause the weight to shift forward and rear quicker or slower. For example if you were to hold the brake down longer and deeper, then the weight will stay forward biased longer. If you brake for a shorter distance, then the weight will stay forward biased longer, because you will throw more inertia towards the front of the kart. As opposed to say if you extended your braking distance by say just 3 more feet earlier. You see the weight transition would be smoother and more gradual. That would actually allow you to trail brake into the turn and load the front wheels up more carefully. That actually allows you to roll through the corner more quickly and ultimately it allows the weight bias to return to equilibrium sooner.

So that’s one way, don’t slam the brake hard at the last split second. Think about how that’s going to effect your weight transfer and loads and traction. Your goal under high loads is to smooth and slow the weight transitions.

As another example, now when you turn the steering wheel into a turn, those front wheels act a bit like brakes, ever so slightly, the turning is causing the weight bias to push towards the front of the kart. Now if you release the turn in, the weight bias will gently release back to the rear of the kart. Or at least to the middle. It ever so slightly releases forward weight pressure. That means if you release your steering pressure, just before you begin accelerating, you get a rear downforce bonus at the split second you release steering. That means you dont get the little slide that breaks you loose, and you get to get back on the gas earlier than if you waited and held your steering steady. The trick is that once you have acceleration started, you reapply the steering pressure that you had initially. Do you get it? We call it the 1-2-3 because it kind of happens in a 3 phase process, again it all happens in a split second, maybe a second at most. The acceleration rate by the way is not usually a stomp it’s a squeeze, so you don’t induce slide.

so Tip #8, learn to release steering pressure ever so slightly before you accelerate, and then squeeze the gas and reapply steering pressure. This allows earlier acceleration without sliding.

Now if you understand what we just did, then you’ll understand the next thing I’ll explain to you. Notice that we just caused the rear downforce to return to our rear a little bit sooner by releasing the steering before we accelerated. But there are other more aggressive ways to do this too. I should mention here that the reason we need to have all kinds of different methods is that in a rental kart scene, we have all kinds of different broken karts. Some karts you have to be very gentle with, others you can do aggressive things to them and they’ll grip up for you. You have to feel your way, and adapt as conditions change and tires temps and pressures change.

So the final expert advanced method to induce an early rear down force is to double blip and even triple blip the gas before acceleration. Now this is my favorite trick because it lets me get full throttle way way earlier than normal. As much 6 to 8 feet earlier, and that means your acceleration time and straight length is much longer. This allows a heavier driver to compete with lighter drivers but you have to be very careful not to overdo it and slide anywhere. You are really going to be on the edge here. So I’ll explain what I believe is happening here. You’ll typically see the apex about a kart length to a kart and half in front of you when you start this move. And normally say with a coasting technique, you can’t touch the gas until the front of the kart has reached the apex. You begin by blipping the gas briefly. Now if you were to hold it down, you would slide out for sure. But you don’t hold it, you just go blip(1), release(2), squeeze(3). The whole 3 moves are done in about one second timing. The actual timing you will learn to be able to feel. You’ll actually become sensitive to the weight transition to the rear during the first blip. I can feel it as an increase and change in the feeling of the seat against my back. As that pressure increases I start to squeeze the gas. That first blip throws the weight to the rear, but because we release the gas, the tires just down force and grip up. Now you can squeeze on the power with traction and power out. Be very careful not to slide though, because if you do, you bind, and then any acceleration bonus is cancelled out.

Tip #9, Learn to double blip the gas before accelerating and you’ll be able to start accelerating a kart length earlier than normal, without sliding.

Now we have talked a lot about binding being caused by the dragging of the inside wheels. And here we are talking mainly about indoor karts, which have thick strong chassis’, and are much less flexible than outdoor karts. There is another trick that helps with indoor karts which involves using your heavier weight and strength to your advantage. Basically when entering a corner, you have to push your heal in against the base of the stirrup towards the inside of the turn. So if you are turning left you push your left heal down towards the turn. And likewise if you are turning right, you push your right heal down. What you are trying to achieve is cross tension across the frame. It’s a bit hard to explain why this works, but basically it assists that inside rear wheel to lift off the ground and assists your kart to roll through turns with extra downforce in the places that it is needed. If you do this while on a set of scales in an outdoor kart, you can see the wheel weights change as much as 20lbs from left to right. You have to push fairly hard. It’s pretty unnatural to do this, so it takes some practice but it can really help with karts that are broken and twisted, particularly karts that push and are bound up. For a heavier driver that can be bound up through sweeper turns, pushing in with your heal to twist the chassis can make a huge difference to roll speeds. If you think a bit about what it does, you’ll realize why. Imagine you are pushing with your left heal, and you pushed the front left wheel down on a left hand turn. That would cause the outside rear wheel to push down, and inside rear wheel to lift up. That’s what cross tension does.

Tip #10, Learn to use your heals to create cross tension across the kart.

Now being a heavier driver it is very important how you distribute your body weight in the kart. In short, you have to LEAN OUT of the turns, DO NOT LEAN INTO TURNS. This is so super critical it can’t be over stressed, it should probably be lesson and rule #1. To explain, it goes back again to that solid rear axle, but it also relates to the direction of down force and lateral force on your wheels. Remember that solid rear axle requires us to lift up the inside rear wheel. Otherwise you bind up as the inside rear wheel drags. So it follows that leaning outwards will lighten the load on that inside rear wheel. A 200lb person can easily shift 50lbs from one rear wheel to the other, even if the wheel doesn’t lift off the ground. But now we have to also consider the angle of the lateral forces from that weight. It’s best explained with an image. If you are leaning out then the angle of force on the rear outside tire is more downwards, which promotes traction. But if you are leaning inwards then the angle of the force is more outwards than downwards, in this case you are inviting the kart to slide out. Drivers who lean into turns, are more loose and prone to slide, and then they bind up. Drivers who lean out, have more traction and therefore less slide and are less likely to bind up. It takes some practice to get used to leaning out, because you have to resist the urge to fight inertia, but once you have it down, it’s very natural. Note also that when you lean out of a turn you DO NOT LEAN OUT WHEN YOU ARE IN THE TURN, LEAN OUT WELL BEFORE THE TURN IN, WHEN YOU ARE ON THE STRAIGHT.

Tip #11. Lean OUT of turns, DO NOT LEAN INTO TURNS!!!! IMPORTANT.

My last idea is to be very mindful of how the weight transfers from front to rear when you release the gas from full throttle. This is important for sweeper turns, or fast turns where you basically enter at top speed and hope to fly through. Often in these turns you find the kart going into a slide at the apex and just not able to hold full throttle through the whole turn.

The slide we are talking about here is known as ‘snap oversteer’. It is caused mainly by the shift in weight from the rear to the front as you get off the gas while you are at maximum inertial load in the middle of turn. The release of gas lightens the rear and back goes into a drift.

In these cases people usually get off the gas WAY WAY too late. It seems counter intuitive, but you usually have to get off the gas way early, WHEN YOU ARE ON THE STRAIGHT or just ever so slightly after turn in. That seems way early, you have no risk at all of sliding on the straight, what gives? The reason is that releasing on the straight causes the weight to shift forward BEFORE the turn in. As the front wheels bite down and you start the turn in you can now reapply the gas, and you can stomp down fast and hard. The whole kart geometry has changed from being flat biased in the rear with a middle biased center of gravity, to lifting the inside wheel and establishing the correct 3 wheel bias for roll speed, the slight drop in velocity on entry tips the kart forward and over as you turn in. Now if you have leaned out correctly and early, and you are pushing in with your inside heel, the center of gravity will create downforce and grip on the outside wheels. Now you can push full throttle through the whole turn with no risk of sliding and no need to release the throttle. Again your eye is on the apex, and you are aiming your front wheels with a steady hold of the wheel. Sections like this are usually where I pick up a lot of time on other drivers as I watch them lose traction every time they lift up.

Tip #12. If you are sliding pr binding in a turn that should be taken at full throttle, blip off the gas, when on the straight, just before turning in. Blipping off the gas creates forward bite and tips the kart over, releasing bind. This increases roll speed, and traction.

Final word.

The trick is to be very mindful about how shifts in the weight are caused by getting on and off gas, or by steering input, and how these might create slides when at full loads, and then to think about what kind of geometry might be in play at that time. Then you can think about what you can do to change the geometry and weight distribution in advance. You will find that things like trying to make adjustments to your body position when you are in a turn already is probably too late. Note also that many of these tips involve manipulating the weight transfers to give you the ability to hold the gas down full when normally you cant.

These are actually not only tips for heavy drivers, they’re tips for any driver. The good thing is that lighter drivers are usually not effected by bind and sliding as much, so they don’t work on it as much. But for heavy drivers, getting these things perfect are really your only hope of evening the odds. The good thing is that when race time comes and ballast is added you will dominate your weight class.

10 advanced go karting tips to go faster in an indoor go kart

10 Advanced Go Karting Tips To Go Faster In An Indoor Go Kart

Tip #1 Don’t Slide.

Just get it in your head now, SLIDING IS SLOW. Sorry to break it to you, because it’s a lot of fun, but sliding and stomping full throttle through a turn like a Dukes of Hazard rerun, is going to get you into an accident and passed by any above average driver. Every slide is going to cost you between 0.100 to 0.500 of a second per corner. Sliding through turns is the number one thing that makes newer drivers slower.

How do you not slide?

So as a general set of rules.

If you are sliding on the entry. You came in too hot and fast. Slow down.

If you are sliding on the exit. You probably got on the gas too soon, wait wait wait and coast to the apex.

Wide Slow Entry, Tight to Apex, Wide Fast Out.

We go wider, so we can carry more momentum from one straight to another, it’s a basic way to lower the G forces on the tires so they can have more grip.

But why tight to Apex?

Tip #2 As close as possible to the apex, every time.

The apex is the very middle of the corner and you want to travel as close as possible on every corner. Now this is a bit of an advanced idea because ultimately this is what sets the fastest drivers apart from the faster drivers. That being said, it’s also what sets the slowest drivers apart from the slow drivers. That’s because slow drivers drive down the middle of the track. Lets say for argument sake that you are on a 180 degree turn, and you are 2 feet off the apex when you are in the middle of that turn. Now there are only 2 ways you could have got to that point, you either made the oncoming straight 2 feet longer OR you turned in early and drove a straight line towards that point.

Let’s take the first possibility into account. Now you’ve made your incoming straight 2 feet longer, now the only way you can get back online is to make the exit straight 2 feet longer as well. By adding 2 feet to your apex, you just added 4 feet to the total track length. Even if you maintain the same speed and curve as the fastest driver, you’re still going to arrive at the finish line 4 feet behind, and all from a single corner. Do this on another 5 turns and you’re now 24 feet behind the fastest driver in a single lap, while travelling at the same speed.

Now the second possibility, that you turned in early. Remember that the whole purpose of a corner is take a kart that is travelling in one direction, and completely turn it around and send it the other direction. You have to do this while maintaining as much of the energy and momentum that you entered the corner with. Now the tighter the corner, the more energy is going to be scrubbed away, so steady wide corners allow you to carry the most momentum, in and out. As you get more advanced the width of corners becomes a fine tuned trade off, but as a general rule, wide turns win races. So basically when you turn in early, you’re forcing the kart to rotate within a tighter circle because you will kind of drive straight at the apex and then do all your rotation on the exit. This will be slow, so not only would you have made the track longer, but you are also going to be slower through the turn, which means you’re losing a lot more than 4ft in this turn. It’s much better to spread your rotation out over a wider area and that means turning in, not too early and not too late, but just right. Which means, you need to perfect your timing.

So it’s not about reflexes! How do you perfect your timing?

Tip #3 Find marks so you can time your actions perfectly.

So this is how we perfect our timing. We use some kind of mark on the track to determine our brake point, our turn in point, our let off point. We even look for marks on the exit that we can judge our last turn for accuracy. Using cameras on your session is a great way to handle this, because you can examine in slow motion marks on the entry and exit of corners during your fastest laps. This will give you targets that you can aim for every time. Basically in an indoor kart you have view of your front tires at all times, so you can use this to point your wheels at targets, and line them up with targets. And the primary target for speed is the apex, which brings us to the next tip.

Tip #4. Eyes on Apex, early and always.

The most critical point on any corner is the apex. You need to be as close as possible every time. Now the expert drivers are going to be within a centimeter of the apex every time, and quite often you’ll see their tires hitting the walls of the apex. If you’re even off by 2 inches, you’ll lose feet of track every lap.

So how do you do it? You look at the apex early from way back up on the straight. Now you still have to use marks to time your turn in and your brake points, that’s fine, you just do it with your eyes on the apex and watch for marks out of the corner of your eye.

Many pros turn their head towards the turn in advance, which allows them to see down the inside of the corner, in case people come diving in. But the head turn in allows you to get oriented for the apex well in advance and as he corner approaches there will be a point at which you are not looking out the corner of your eyes, but directly straight ahead. This is your turn in timing mark. It’s a little different then lining up your tires with a wheel, crack or mark on the road, but it’s a very effective and consistent method for timing your turn ins.

Another reason you want to look at the apex early from back up on the straight is that no matter how fast your reflexes, you still have about a 1/5th of a second reaction time. If you find yourself looking at a brake point, applying the brakes and THEN turning your head to locate the apex, then it’s too late you can’t possibly be smooth and steady and direct and on. Once you find the apex, then you have to start controlling the steering and.. sorry you’re going to miss it by miles. This is probably the #1 cause for newer drivers to miss the apex even when they’re trying to, they did not have their eye on it early enough. That’s usually because they were looking at the kart in front of them instead. And that’s a mistake that will cause you to be only as fast as the guy in front of you. When you catch up with someone, don’t look directly at them, look at the apex instead.

Tip #5 Don’t lean in, Do lean out of turns.

This is a bit of an advanced tip and it has to do with the mechanics of the standard rental go kart. The reason is because karts are made to go faster when they are rolling with their weight biased towards the outside of a corner. When you lean in towards the center of the turn, you actually create a braking effect on the kart. This is all a very technical thing and you can go and research about solid rear axles and how leaning in causes a braking and sliding effect. It actually reduces your traction and acceleration when you lean in, and improves your traction and acceleration when you lean out. Now the thing is, again you have to lean early, you don’t want to wait to the last minute because you’re going to mess up your balance and timing. And the thing to remember is that balance is everything. Perfect balance means you can increase your roll speed through a turn, which means you can push the limits and go faster without losing control.

So how else do we achieve balance?

Tip #6 Steady hands, don’t wobble the steering wheel when in a turn.

Now in the very middle of the turn you are likely to have the highest G forces and the only thing keeping you from sliding is the down-force on those tires. The problems come when people try to adjust their steering in the middle when under maximum load. The other thing intermediate and newer drivers will do is change their acceleration and braking in the middle of a turn instead of keeping it steady. The more steady you can keep things then the more traction you will have because as the weight rocks around left to right and forward to back, you will only have as much traction as your weakest moment. Once you lose it, you’re in damage control. So how do we do this?

When you have a perfect turn in point and get your timing perfect, there is a kind of set and forget process. You set your turn in, the weight shifts a bit, you steady it, maybe with a little counter action to balance out. Then you get ready to hold steady through the turn and ride it out.

If you turn in too early you wont be able to do this, you’re going to have to add more steering input as you go through the turn, particularly on the exit. If you are doing this, then you are definitely slow.

If you turn too late you might have to miss the apex completely or keep adding more steering input on the entry than you need.

Ultimately once you reach the apex you want to be either holding steady or releasing the steering pressure (preferably). Because if you are releasing steering pressure then you are accelerating.

This is the typical process of slow in, fast out.

Tip #7 Head up, lean back for hard braking zones.

This tip really makes a difference for shortening braking distances, and is especially helpful when passing. It is common for newer drivers that are racing to lean forward more and more. The problem is when you do this you take downforce away from your back tires and you become loose. John Kimbrell the multiple US indoor national champion, always pushes his seat all the way back and leans back, no matter the kart. As you become more experienced you will be able to tell a difference when you lean forward and backwards with your braking and your cornering.

That being said, sometimes a kart is really bound up, and it wont accelerate out of turns. In this special case you want to try and lean forward to get the weight off the rear so the kart will not drag out of turns. Usually though a kart that drags out of turns is because you got on the gas too early and did not allow the weight to stay biased towards the front enough to roll through the turn. Remember when you get on the gas the weight will shift to the rear and if you have not completed the turn fully the rear axle, being a single solid bar will push both rear wheels to the ground at the same time. In this case the kart will start wanting to go in a straight line, because the axle is solid and both wheels must travel at the same speed. Now you are in a situation where the front wheels want to turn and the larger rear wheels want to go straight. They will fight, and often the rear wheels being larger will win.  If the rear don’t win, then either the inside rear wheel will drag and spin, or the outside will drag and brake. Either way, this is a situation where you are slow because the rear wheels are dragging the kart down.

Tip #8 Sharp and Snappy inputs when entering turns under hard acceleration.

For slower corners with hard acceleration on entry.

This is the kind of corner where you haven’t had time to get up to full speed and you’re still accelerating, it’s usually one of a complex of turns. In this case it’s a very different situation because your weight is going to be rear biased, and the front wheels are going to struggle to steer. You wont need to brake for this kind of corner. Instead of being slow and steady and soft, you actually want to be snappy and jerky with your inputs. You will want to jarre the kart into and through the turn but you do NOT have to worry about getting on the gas too early because the back will not be light. The back only get’s light when you are entering a corner under high brake pressure. So be mindful of the difference.

Tip #9 Slow and steady inputs when entering turns under heavy deceleration.

For fast corners with hard braking on the entry.

Don’t rush in too fast, try to brake a little bit earlier, softer and steady without jamming on the brakes hard. Just give yourself a couple more feet than you think you need. If it’s a heavy braking corner, then brake in a straight line and don’t try to brake AND turn at the same time. As a general rule try to coast into the turn once you have completed braking, and give the kart time to re-balance and settle the weight back down into the rear. This settling is important because if you jam back on the gas too soon and too hard, you’ll go into a slide. As a general rule, wait until you have reached the apex before you get back on the gas. You can stomp as hard as you like then.

The main idea here is that you want your weight transitions to be slow and steady, you want the inertial pressures to build up slowly and steady. Ultimately you want to attain a point of balance where you can hold steady through the turn and make the most of your rolling speed.

Tip #10 Be mindful of how the weight shifts from front to rear and side to side, maintain balance, and you maintain traction.

Now we get to the really advanced stuff that you can work on for years. The ultimate driver is very mindful of all the things that can shift the weight of the kart. Subtle effects can cause slides when you are under maximum loads. Take a sweeper for example, these are usually very easy turns to get into, you just blast into them at full throttle, usually from a straight. The sweeper is a large corner with slowing down needed, or is there? Often at the very peak of the sweeper it just gets too much and you pass the limit of traction. Knowing this most drivers will let go of the gas and give in. The problem is as soon as you let go of the gas under maximal load, your weight will shift forward just slightly. But that’s all that’s needed under maximal load to create a slide every time. A lot of drivers think this is normal. But often it is not, the expert drivers do not slide here. How do they manage it? They know that modulation is probably needed in the turn, so they modulate their throttle on the straight before the sweeper, even though there is no chance whatsoever of losing traction on the straight. You see the weight shifts before the turn, lifting the inside rear wheel up lightly. The front wheels bite down and the rotation into the sweeper starts in earnest. Then they the expert stomps on the gas and accelerates into the sweeper with an enhanced outward weight bias that raises his outside down force on the tires. They then drive full throttle through the section that everyone else slides in. This is how the expert is mindful of the weight transfer and subtle ways the weight shifts around under maximal load. You see any input will shift the weight, be that brakes, gas, steering, and the movement of your body.

So the tip here is that when you are analyzing your sessions and thinking about where you are sliding a little, think about what you are doing to move the weight around in the kart. Come up with a strategy to create the weight distribution that you need for optimal traction and control. It’s not always easy to implement these strategies because they often seem counter intuitive, you will find yourself accelerating when you are usually letting off the gas. This is what sets the expert record crushers apart from the above average drivers.

How to use Weight Transfer to Increase your Speed in an Indoor Go Kart

How to use Weight Transfer to Increase your Speed in an Indoor Go Kart

Weight Transfer is probably the last thing you will develop a sensitivity to when learning how to be competitive in a go kart. It’s one thing to be aware that there is an advantage to managing the shifting of the weight, quite another to make use of it consciously. It took me years, but I’m going to save you years of head scratching and give you the secrets.

The problem is that our reflexes are not really fast enough to deal with changes in inertia. I mean the average person has a visual response time of about 0.250 seconds. We see something happen, it enters our brain, gets converted into some kind of neural pattern, we concoct a plan to deal with it, signals shoot down our nervous system and we execute the plan. Then we gather input from our actions, visual, audible and tactile, another plan is concocted and we shoot more signals down the nervous system to the controls. By this time another 0.250 seconds have passed. So 0.500 seconds have passed between situational awareness and the beginnings of adaptation.

So how far do we travel in half a second?

Just 22 mph is about 30 feet per second. You’re going to travel about 15 feet in half a second.
Even at just 2.2mph you’re going to travel about 1.5 feet in half a second.
That’s pretty slow, and 1.5 feet is an eternally long distance to be off line in a go kart.

If you are 1.5 feet off a line, or late to a turn in, off from an apex, you are WAAAAY off pace.

late and off apex
IF you turning in 1.5 feet late, and maintain the exact same arc (because you’re travelling at the exact same speed), then you would add 1.5×2=3 feet to the length of your track. Whatever the case, you’re going to add length and time to your lap time.

So reflexes can’t possibly be what the top drivers use to maintain consistent laps that are within 0.250 of a second of each other on EVERY lap.
And it also can’t be what you use to manage weight transfer.

So what’s weight transfer about? How do we manage weight transfer?

First of all, let me give you a little secret here, the primary tool in the expert drivers toolbox, is timing.

The more perfect your timing, the more perfect you are going to hit your marks. And really that is the secret to being online and it’s also the secret to managing weight transfer because weight transfer is part of having a consistent plan for how you are going to navigate the track.

How is that? Well weight transfer is NOT something you manage by the seat of your pants when you are in the moment. I’m not sure if that is a surprise to you, but for the longest time, I thought that’s what it was all about. But it’s not.

Managing weight transfer really happens off the track, when you’re analyzing what is happening after the fact.

Managing weight transfer is all about having a technical awareness of the geometry of the kart, and being able to model in your mind how the inertial mass is being shifted and displaced as you go through different sections of the track. Then, knowing how the weight is being shifted in your model, you work out how that is affecting the traction levels and grip through those sections. Invariably that’s where time is gained and lost, from loss and gain of traction.

So managing weight transfer is all about modeling the effects of inertia and this usually happens in analysis, while off track.

Now it is possible to do this somewhat while you are on the track, and it makes a huge difference to your ability to be adaptable to new conditions and different karts. But usually the answer to a problem section of the track doesn’t come until you’ve got off track and thought to yourself, ‘what the hell is going on here?’. Some of my biggest ‘ah ha!’ moments have come when I examine slow motion helmet video, frame by frame, of my fast laps. Often I will examine a corner where I was exceptionally quick for some mysterious reason, and ask myself, ‘why was this fast?’. At this point I start to model in my mind how the inertial displacement is unfolding and what I am doing that is causing this, and how I might repeat it. Quite often I realize the answer and driving inputs change for that section.

By driving inputs I mean this. There are many ways you can shift the inertial mass of your kart around, here is the arsenal of your weight transfer toolbox.
Acceleration (blips and pulses on the gas)
Deceleration (throttle let off, coasting, slight frontal down force)
Coasting (gentle and gradual re-centering of weight displacement)
Steering input (left and right displacement – but also when under load of a turn, forward and rearwards weight displacement when you increase and decrease steering input)
Brake input (jarring frontal down force)
Body position, (leaning forwards and backwards, head up, head down, leaning left and right, hopping in seat)

Sometimes giving an input that does not seem necessary at the time can give you an advantage in RPM, or traction, and both.

Lets consider parts of the track where you might often lose traction, or where it is easy to lose traction.

A brake zone where you come in hot and often lose traction.
If you find the back gets loose under brakes. Well there’s always the suggestion that you’re just braking too hard and too late, and so lighten up a bit and brake earlier. Often the problem is related to trail braking, where you are turning and braking instead of straight line braking. Our suggestion to newbies is to straight line brake and don’t brake and turn the kart at the same time, this means you brake earlier and straight, then let up and coast into a turn, and wait to get back on the gas at the apex. But for an expert driver, trail braking is definitely where you want to be. The thing that makes braking more effective in a kart is to lean far back in your seat and lift your head up high and back in the seat, because it adds downforce to your rear brakes (and you don’t usually have front brakes in an indoor kart). Doing so can give you a surprising boost in traction. This is managing weight transfer to a degree. You’re shifting weight to give you an edge.

But in the above scenario your modeling of the shift of inertial weight, shouldn’t end there. As you enter a trail brake scenario, the bulk of your inertial mass starts to move from the front center to the outside front wheel, while your rear wheels get light. If you are ever to get out of this turn with any kind of advantage in acceleration, you need to think about how you’re going to transition the inertial mass back to the rear wheels and how you will return down force to the rear of your kart. This is invariably why you tend to slide in these corners, because there is no down force in the rear.

Consider a turn where you came in under brakes and need to accelerate to get out of it, and you tend to slip a little as you go through the turn.
The easy and natural fix for this kind of problem is to wait wait wait after braking as you go through the turn, coast, coast, coast, and get on the gas later, typically at the apex. This works, full traction, and no slide. And this is what we tell newbies to do, because we know it’s just timing, and it will absolutely work. But this is not what the expert drivers do.

Note that the weight is loaded up to the outside front of the kart. Now note all the tools in our arsenal. There are several tools that can shift the weight from front to rear. Releasing brakes, releasing steering input, coasting, acceleration, and blips and pulses on the throttle. They will all displace the weight to varying degrees, some more aggressive than others. Note that the most aggressive would be to just accelerate, say by pushing your foot to the floor. But this wont work, because the back is light, so the back will just slide out from under you. So the next thing you can do, is blip and pulse the throttle. It turns out, if you do this on the entry of a turn, for a split second, you wont slide out of control. In fact you’ll push the weight back to the center and rear of the kart, and you’ll gain rear traction. From this point you can squeeze on the gas and be accelerating out of the turn, a full kart length earlier. The blip technique I just described we came to call ‘the double blip’ because you apply the throttle in a 1 and 2 motion.

There are other tricks you can use to finesse the weight transfer to the rear wheels, like in some instances it helps to release the steering pressure slightly as you apply the gas. If you find yourself in a loose kart, say during the cold of winter, you can try to add this as well. Some drivers don’t pulse the throttle at all, they just use a release of steering input to assist the rear loading, then they reapply steering input as they come on the gas and pass the apex.

Consider the sweeper. I have a whole article dedicated to the sweeper here

A sweeper is corner where you can enter under full throttle and can usually power all the way through.
The standard trap of a sweeper is where you chicken out under load and release the throttle in the middle of the turn, this shifts the weight forward and makes the back wheels light, and you invariably go into a slide. This is known in racing circles as ‘snap oversteer’ and is a rather fundamental lesson in weight transfer.

As I outline in that article, the trick to the sweeper is to manage your weight transfer by causing your weight to initially lurch forward on the entry by letting off the gas just before you turn in. This allows the front wheels to bite. Then you stomp back on the gas and hold everything steady all through the turn. Without this set up, the kart will often slide out and break loose in the middle of the turn.

So all throughout these examples you should be picking up a pattern here. If you have a problem you need to be asking, ‘okay, what is my weight transfer doing? what am I doing to cause this?” And whether you have a problem or not, you should be asking, “what is my optimum weight distribution going to be in this situation, and what can I do to help achieve this?”. Where you answer these questions correctly, is where you gain an edge over the other drivers on the track. And that’s going to take mental visualization and modeling in your mind.

Lets look at some other scenarios.

Consider a very slow turn where you need to accelerate all the way through it, from start to finish. This is where you run into problems with the solid rear axle, and binding. The problem is that the solid rear axle wants to turn both wheels at the same velocity and when the kart goes through a turn the inside circumference is always shorter than the outside. If your weight is rear biased, because you are under acceleration, and you have come in flat to the ground, the rear wheels are going to go into a battle. Basically your inside rear wheel will act like a brake, and it will fight your engine.


So what can we do about this? Well go karts with solid rear axles are designed to tip over onto 3 wheels when you turn the steering wheel. This works better when the kart is slowing down, than when the kart is accelerating, because the inside front wheel is designed to push down, while the outside front wheel lifts up. When you are decelerating and turning the forward weight bias causes the kart to tip over onto 3 wheels and the inside rear wheel pretty much lifts into the air. I call this ‘The Tripod Effect’. But when you accelerate into a turn, from a very slow start, all your weight goes to the back of the kart onto the solid rear axle, you can lose steering control, but usually it just puts the brakes on and you don’t really realize it, because it seems like the kart engine is powering away and accelerating. You’re often slow, and you don’t know it.

So there are several things in the weight transfer toolbox to assist the tripod effect. In a particularly bad kart, that tends to ‘push’ that is, you turn the wheel and it just wants to go straight, you can jab on the brake slightly to throw the weight forward and to force frontal down force. If you have to do this, you’re going to be slow anyway, you have a junk kart, but it’s often going to be faster than just trying to drive through it.

The first technique that we offer to new drivers is to just release the gas a split second before you turn the wheel in. This causes the front wheels to bite down and tips the kart over. Then you reapply the gas and drive through the turn. This is usually quicker, but doesn’t always get a good lift.

My favorite technique for managing this situation is the ‘snap in’ steering technique. This is where you aggressively and quickly snap the wheel into your turn, with the goal of throwing the kart up quickly onto it’s outside wheels, you can often do this, without lifting the gas at all. To execute it, you kind of over steer your input way beyond where you would want your natural steering input, then you release the steering input back to your ideal. It plays out like a quick 1, 2, 3. You then rely on the lateral inertia to hold your kart up in the tripod position. I used this technique to give me an edge back during the Oregon State Championship, it freed my kart up all through the infield giving me a huge edge. I used a regimen of weight lifting off track to build the strength needed to sustain the ‘snap in’ during the 30 minute race.

Sometimes it is advantageous to lean forward in a kart. I discovered this once while watching a video of driver who pulled off a freaky fast lap. He gained his magical moment in a chicane. A chicane is a complex of turns that create like an S in the track as it leads onto a straight, it’s usually used to slow the track down a bit. Now normally he leaned back through the chicane and leaned out relative to the entry of it, but he was chasing a very fast kart that had twice his horsepower, and for some reason he sat up on this particular lap and threw his head forward as he exited the chicane, not only that, instead of leaning out when he entered the chicane, he leaned in. That’s very odd, it seems the very opposite of what we would expect and it was the very opposite of what he did usually. When we examined the delta for his time through the chicane, he had picked up 0.100 of a second in that section. Well well? why did this happen? We wondered. When we modeled in our minds what could possibly be going on it started to come together.
First it became evident that leaning out on the first turn, was not helping him at all, it was better than he tried to set his weight up for the exit of the chicane, because the displacement of his weight from left to right while navigating the middle of the chicane was too unsettling. He might not be in the optimal position for entry, but being in the optimal position for exit gave him an advantage as he pulled onto the straight. So we learned there that leaning into a chicane in prep for the exit is the key to a fast chicane. Next his head thrown forward put his weight more towards the front of the kart and off the rear of the kart. This would give him bite as he turned into the final turn and onto the straight that followed and would free up any potential binding that might happen because of the weight transfer from the left rear to the right rear. The exit wasn’t enough to induce any kind of slide, instead he had rear binding problems that were retarding his ability to accelerate out of the final turn. So leaning forward gave him bite, and freed up the bind. After this examination we both started doing this in this section, and it was a consistent 0.100 seconds for us every time. We were in different weight classes at the time, but we both won our racing seasons easily. Little secrets like this in every turn gave us the edge.

So hopefully by now you have an idea of what it means to manage weight transfer to your advantage. It’s all about modeling in your mind how the shift of the inertial mass of the kart is affecting the handling of the kart. You can model to fix problems, and you can model to imagine the theoretical optimal weight distribution. With this in mind, you can concoct unique and optimal tactics for each turn.

With that I will leave you with a problem to ponder. Let’s say you have drawn a random rental kart and upon driving it, you realize that it wants to veer off to the right. What could possibly be causing this? And so what would the optimal place for your weight be? You can be sure that one of those wheels is dragging against the others when you try to drive in a straight line. Taking away down force for that wheel is not going to solve the problem, but it will give you a better time than if you just left things be.

The trick to winning an indoor racing season is that you just need to be able to drive the junk karts better than everyone else can drive them. Weight transfer will give you that edge.

How to Stop your Indoor Go Kart from Sliding in a Sweeper turn.

How to Stop your Indoor Go Kart from Sliding in a Sweeper turn.

If you find your kart sliding in a sweeping turn, (a long steady turn of maximum throttle from entry to exit) even if you are breaking loose slightly, then you’re losing time to the guy who makes it stick.

So you need to start thinking about WHY the kart might be slipping at that spot. In racing parlance we’re about to enter the realm of ‘weight transfer’. The first thing to ask is, “what is your inertial mass doing?”

More precisely, ‘is your inertial mass shifting about? (of course it is) and what are you doing to cause it to change?”

What is inertial mass? Think of it as the direction of force on your kart. Under deceleration the inertial mass is biased towards the front, and under acceleration your inertial mass moves towards the rear. But there is also down force which exerts itself on your tires and is a combination of the total mass and your center of gravity.

The first rule for increasing traction in a go kart, is LEAN OUT of a turn, DONT LEAN IN
If you lean into a corner then you move your center of gravity towards the inside wheels, this lowers the downward pressure on your outside wheels and raises the downward pressure upon your inside wheels, this in turn creates an increased lateral (sideways) g force on your outside wheels. This effectively creates a lower center of gravity, and with less down force on the outside wheels and an increased lateral pressure the kart is more inclined to slide, than it is to tip over.

Direction of force relative to rear wheels due to center of gravity.

The counter to this is that as you lean outwards you shift your center of gravity over your outside wheels which lowers the lateral g force on your outside wheels and creates more down force, because it effectively raises the center of gravity relative to the outside wheels. This effectively increases the grip. So we might only be talking the difference of a few pounds, but when you are at the limits, this makes all the difference between being able to ‘stick it’, and ‘busting loose’ such that you have to deal with a slide.
With respect to leaning, you want to lean out BEFORE you begin the turn, because you want the lateral shift to happen while the inertial stress of the kart is neutral, which means lean while on the straight. If you lean after the turn in, it causes a shift in the inertial mass AFTER the tires are loaded, and that is a good way to bust yourself loose too. Some drivers place cushions in the side of their seats to stop their inertial mass from sliding around in the seat for this reason.

So while leaning out before all kinds of turns will help, it is not so much the ‘positioning’ of your inertial mass that causes or fixes sliding in a sweeper, the real enemy is the ‘changing’ of inertial mass while you are in the middle of navigating the turn.

A very common cause (but not the only cause) for sliding in a sweeper is Snap Oversteer. This is a condition where the back wheels break loose (usually slightly) in the middle of a turn. Particularly a turn that *should* be able to be taken at full throttle. Lets call this sliding area the drift zone. The primary cause for snap oversteer is a shift in the inertial mass that causes the tires to lose traction. And the number one culprit for this shift in the mass, especially in a sweeper, is releasing from full throttle while in the middle of a turn.

The key here is not THAT you lifted the throttle, its WHEN you lifted the throttle.

Here’s several ways that karters of various skill levels try to handle this situation.
Novice karters just keep their foot planted and ride out the drift zone, losing all kinds of control. They’re terribly slow even though they feel fast and create congestion out of the sweeper.

Intermediate drivers feel the drift coming on and THEN release the throttle to regain control. They experiment with timing for reapplication of power because if they try to get back on too soon, they drift more. Eventually they find their sweet spot and they can get through without sliding. So they basically use a coasting technique.

Advanced drivers pre-empt the drift and back off the gas slightly early BEFORE the drift zone, maybe going through the drift zone at 3/4 throttle to maintain control. They’re not coasting, they’re throttle modulating. It’s a bit quicker, and it’s really hard to execute.

Expert drivers blast through the drift zone at full throttle with no slide or slip whatsoever.

So how do expert drivers do it?

Well first of all, lets examine why the drift happens in the first place.
Snap oversteer is basically the consequence of the mass or weight of the kart being redistributed in the middle of a turn when the wheels of the kart are under maximum load. The redistribution causes a loss of down force and / or an overloading of the tires ability to hold traction.

While mass redistribution can happen in many ways, such as having unstable and shaky hands, the most common way that mass redistribution happens is when you let off the gas while your tires are under maximum inertial load.

That’s a bit counter intuitive to most drivers, surely letting off the gas slows you down and gives you more control?

But consider what happens to your weight distribution in the following scenario.
1. You come down a straight at maximum speed and hold your throttle at full power as you turn into your sweeper. No problem at this point, no slide, almost no lateral (sideways) pressure. Your center of mass is basically centralized but starts to slowly move to the outside center as you enter the turn.
2. As you enter the mass stays centered and your load starts to build up on the outside wheels. No problem holding traction at all at this point.
3. Now you start to approach the zone that the kart starts to get loose, usually somewhere near the apex. You’ve ran this corner many times, you just KNOW it’s going to get loose right up ahead. You’re almost halfway into the sweeper. So what do you do?
Most drivers will get off the gas.
But consider what happens next.
As you release the gas, the kart slightly decelerates and your centralized inertial mass starts to move forward. This causes the down force on the rear wheels to lessen and the forces on the front wheels to increase. Now in some vehicles (with suspension) under such conditions the front wheels might break loose if under maximum load, but in a kart what typically happens is the rear wheels lose their grip and back begins to step out. You just CREATED the very thing you KNEW was going to happen, by letting off the gas.
What you actually did wrong, was that you let off the gas, TOO LATE!

“Okay, no problem!”, you say. “so I’ll let off a bit earlier and maybe control my throttle through that zone”. Now you’re thinking like an Advanced Driver. So you change your strategy and at about a quarter of the way through the turn you back off the gas, and sure enough you are able to get through with no slide by modulating at 3/4 power through the trouble spot. This is REALLY hard to do consistently, especially in inconsistent rental karts, so I really have to commend the drivers that can pull this off. But guess what? You’re still going to be creamed by the Expert Driver.

All right, so here’s the secret. Let off BEFORE or AS you turn into the sweeper. “WTH??! thats waaay too early”, you say. Well I know this probably seems counter intuitive because you have absolutely no threat of losing control way back at the start of a sweeper, but let me explain what this does.

First of all, immediately after letting off and turning in, like within a split second, you want to stomp hard on that gas and hold it down hard with no intention of letting up all the way through the sweeper.

So here’s what happens to the kart in an ideal world.

As you let off the throttle, the mass that was centralized before now moves forward slightly and causes extra down force on your front tires right at the moment of turn in. This causes the front tires to BITE on the tarmac and the rear inside wheel becomes slightly lighter and causes the kart to tripod onto 3 wheels. This has several advantages, first it raises your center of gravity and distributes it BEFORE the tires are under any load, so there is NO chance of a sudden overloaded mass redistribution and displacement in the middle of the turn.
Next, because this strategy assists torque in the chassis, which assists the tripod affect, the solid rear axle lifts the inside rear wheel, allowing the kart to roll speed without bind.

But that’s not all, provided that you are leaning out and not leaning in, BEFORE you turned in, the chassis torque creates extra down force on your outside tires, which means you not only have extra roll speed, you also have extra traction. That’s because a kart that is in a tripod configuration has a different center of gravity than a kart that has slipped out. Consider this, if a kart has slipped out, then it has no outside traction, and in that case the rear axle plants BOTH wheels flat to the ground, and a planted inside rear wheel in a turn can only act like a brake. That’s because the circumference traveled by the inside wheel in a turn, is ALWAYS less than the circumference traveled by the outside wheel. Remember that the solid rear axle means that BOTH wheels must rotate at the EXACT same velocity.

The tripod affect is extremely important in a kart, because it frees up the inside rear wheel that is on a fixed solid axle. The steering geometry of a go kart is specially designed to create this effect, so that under optimal conditions only the outside rear wheel is touching the ground. You want this, and you want to lean out to help it.

The next thing you need is a pair of steady hands that hold your steering at a single angle and input. No shaking of the hands in the middle of the turn. or at least through the zone of highest g force. Shaky hands will redistribute your weight and upset any kart at maximal load. There are several things you can do to assist this. First have a consistent turn in point, use a mark or some reference on the track. You want a single hand movement through the turn, so if you find yourself adjusting the angle of the wheels through the turn, adjust your turn in point forward and backwards until you find the sweet spot.

Next, keep your eye focused on the apex, no matter what is in front of you, train yourself to observe everything you need to observe through your peripheral vision, while your eye is focused on the apex. The general theory goes that the kart will go, where your eye is looking, so look at the apex. This is important because when you look at the kart in front of you, you invariably end up driving like the kart in front of you. When that happens, you might have been quick enough to catch them, but now you’ll stop doing what made you faster, and start doing what makes them slower. This is a common trap.

Next use your peripheral vision to your advantage by focusing on your apex while you peripherally watch where your inside tire is actually pointing while you are in the turn. Point your inside wheel directly at the apex. This allows you to make adjustments for various changes in track conditions.

When you get it right, there will be almost no hand movement once you have initiated turn in. There will no sensing and correcting of inertial sway from left to right. You’ll just be balanced, steady and loaded with no slip. That’s how you get steady hands.

Finally DONT LIFT OFF THE GAS until you complete the sweeper. This is because any lifting of the throttle when you are under maximal load will shift your weight and upset your traction. And that lifting of the gas IS the essence of what creates the drift of snap oversteer.

Okay so one more bonus tip here. Many indoor karts have a foot stirrup that you can push your heel into, just below the brake and throttle. This stirrup allows you to create cross tension through the chassis. Cross tension allows you to change the down force slightly through the kart. I have tested this on scales in a flexible outdoor kart, and just by pushing your heel into the left front stirrup you can create a extra 10lb to 20lb weight on the left front AND right rear wheel, at the same time. Push on the right front stirrup and you create the extra weight on the front right and rear left wheels. It’s interesting how it creates down force across the diagonal of the kart.
The idea is to push your heel in the direction you are turning. So a left sweeper needs your left heel to push into the stirrup. Remember to keep it steady throughout the turn, don’t release, because you don’t want to upset the balance.
So what does this do for you? This assists the tripod effect on the kart, and releases weight, pressure, bind and drag from the inside rear wheel. Cross tension also gives you extra traction on your outside wheels.

The short version of this is. If you want to go full throttle through a sweeper then create a throttle lift off point before you stomp on the gas full throttle, and keep moving your lift off point earlier and earlier until you find the sweet spot that allows you to push full throttle all the way through that sweeper without sliding. The sweet spot is almost always way back on the straight before you even turn your steering wheel, and never when you are already loaded up and into the turn.

My Favorite Kart League Racing Experience

My Favorite Kart League Racing Experience

The racing that I didn’t compete in.

Through conversations with my racing friends, it often comes up where we talk about our favorite moments in racing.  In many cases, it’s a moment here and there, but rarely does it become an entire race.  Today, I’m going to tell you of such a race and if you’re one of my racing peers, then you’ve heard this before.  I often talk about this “favorite” race of mine because there’s so much to learn from it. 

How we came into this racing league late …

I’m going to start off with this race isn’t so much about me, but instead about my son, Senna.  Senna enjoys racing and has started racing at the age of eight when SyKart allows for kids to start racing.  Senna and I had been going to the track for a year or so enjoying our practices whenever we could get away.  Sometimes we could get races in a couple of times a week to a couple of times a month.  Senna also plays club soccer and as some of us know, that sport takes up a lot of time and unfortunately a lot of time away from the track.  It just so happened that Senna’s soccer practices were on the same night as the junior racing league nights and with an expensive bill for soccer, that was the priority at the time.  So we opted to sit out a season of junior league races.  At the end of the soccer season, however, there were a couple of weeks where Senna could race in the final two races of the league season.

Starting our race from last position …

We showed up for the second of the last race and while Senna had not been a part of the spring racing league, the competition amongst the racers was closer than expected.  Only a couple of points separated several of the kids at this point in the season.  Now my son, Senna, who hadn’t raced all season comes in out of nowhere and is going to disrupt the points.  Several of the parents were upset and didn’t want Senna, a ten-year-old at the time, to race because it was going to upset the points.  Some parents knew Senna and welcomed him in.  Other parents didn’t know him and were furious that he was even allowed to race this late in the season.  Fortunately, the management there knows of Senna’s racing abilities and quickly put the upset parents aside stating that he had every right to be there and that he had raced in league races before. 

… the front runners were faster and there was a gap that was forming …

Senna got into the kart and we strapped him in. Unfortunately, Senna had to start in the last position for a couple of different reasons.  One is that we missed qualifying and the second is that he hadn’t raced against this group of kids before.  However, he knew the drill and knew what to do.  Now, normally Senna and I run comms and I can give him real-time feedback on the things he’s doing right and wrong out there. However, when it comes to league racing, we don’t run comms because people get upset and think we’re cheating. So I just let him go out there and “figure it out” (that’ll be a blog for another time).  As the race started, Senna quickly made his way through the pack of about five or six kids.  The front runners were faster and there was a gap that was forming that Senna had to make up for.  Fortunately, he was putting down the fastest times and was making up time pretty handily. Senna found his way up to the second position and was really putting pressure on his friend Enzo.  There’s an old saying in racing that, “you can drive faster to catch someone but passing them is something different.”  Senna got to experience that first-hand. 

Senna leads Junior Racing League in the final race of the season.
Image Courtesy of RacingForBeginners.com

The event became all about race craft

Now on to why this was my favorite race.  Once Senna had caught Enzo, Senna had to figure out how to pass him.  Everyone could see that Senna was trying different things in trying to pass Enzo. There were attempts on passing on the inside, the outside, in the middle of the corner, after the corner, over-under passing as well as under-over passing.  You could tell that Senna was thinking out there and “trying” different things. More importantly, things that I had not taught him yet.  It was amazing to watch his mind at work.  During all this cat-and-mouse driving and with Enzo doing well to block, the third and fourth-placed drivers had made up over a half a lap gap on the two and then was starting to put the pressure on the two of them.  With one lap to go, Senna went in to make a dive on Enzo to make the pass.  However, Senna knew he wasn’t going to be able to make the pass on the inside and over broke to avoid hitting Enzo.  During this whole time, Senna raced cleanly and made every effort to not make any contact with his competitors (later on in higher-ranked leagues, Senna will discover that others will easily spin him to get past him when they can’t).  With the failed attempt at the inside pass on Enzo, Senna had lost all momentum of the kart, and second place soon became fourth place and that’s how the race finished.

After one of the best races of the year

Dejected, Senna sat in his kart a little bit longer than the others before working his way to the crowd.  The funny thing is that the kids were very sportsmanlike and all the kids were happy and congratulated one another.  Some of the parents who knew Senna was also very excited for him and the show that he put on.  The other parents who didn’t know him though were still complaining and wondering why he was allowed to race and now their child had missed out on some points. Many of us though, were reliving the race that we had just watched, and several of the track workers and other racers had said that was the race of the week, if not the year!  You could tell that Senna was not in his normal mood and that he was as “professional” as he could be.

From disappointment to discovery

When we got to the car, he broke down and started to cry. I let him have a moment and then I asked him why he was so upset?  He responded with, “I didn’t win.”  After what seemed like a minute of silence and him crying, I began to laugh.  I pointed out some key breakthroughs that he completely missed out on during that race.  One, he started at the back of the pack.  Two, he made his way up to second place and he was fighting for the lead. Three, he was “thinking” at full speed and trying to find a way around Enzo.  Four, he raced cleanly and didn’t wreck anyone.  And last, I asked him, “at the end of it all, did you have a good time?  Meaning did you do the best you could and enjoyed with all the discovery?” Still somewhat sobbing, he shook his head yes in agreement.  I confirmed with him that I was in no way upset with his placement for the day. This was a very important day for him in discovering that there’s more to racing than just driving fast.  You also have to build your race-craft. 

Lessons learned from the race.

As a parent and a coach, I am a little happy that he was upset that he didn’t win. This tells me that he wants to fight for the lead and he wants to win. Winning is not everything, however, it’s good to try for the win and to never give up. Also, I reminded him that he’s not a “paid” driver, nor a “professional” driver and it’s experiences like these that will make him a better driver. It’s better to learn this stuff now, than later when a paycheck, a professional drive or connecting with a sponsorship is on the line.

The journey gives meaning.

I replay this race in my head all the time.  I really enjoy him winning but this race was probably one of the most important races for him and recognizing that there’s way more to racing than being upfront.  Being up there is only half the fun, whereas getting up there is just as thrilling.  Some people find it odd that my favorite race of his is one that he didn’t win.  I guess it depends on what you define as winning.  With Senna learning so much about racing in that one race, I’d take that over any of his other wins.  However, one could argue that one of the main reasons why he has won as many races is because of the lessons he’s learned from that one race.

The evolution of a new racer.

On a side note, Senna went on to win the final race. Further upsetting the points and several of the parents who protested against him racing so late in the season. The following racing season, Senna went on to get pole in every race, except the last race, and won every race. That final race… that’s for my second favorite race of his and for a different blog.

Guest Blogger: Bernie R. – Coach


How to go around bends fast in a Go Kart

How to go around bends fast in a Go Kart

Imagine you had a magic trick to make your straights longer and your corners shorter. You’d be able to hit higher top speeds, no matter which kart you drove. Also, you’d be able to go through a bend faster than others. This article has the perfect tip for public rental karts where some karts are just slower than others. This trick will allow you to make up the difference.

I’m going to describe a throttle modulation trick that lets your kart hit higher top speeds down straights and through turns.

Terminology of racing corners

Wait up for a sec, let’s get some terminology out of the way first.

The racing line mapped onto a satellite image of a race track. Note how we come out wide on entry, come down close to the center (the red dot at the apex) and then come out wide on exit, using all of the track. The Red dots mark the ‘apex’ , note how some apex are in the middle of the corner, while others are early or late.

What is an Apex?

Check this satellite image of a race track, the racing line has been painted over the top in yellow. We travel this track in a counter clockwise direction. The red dots are the Apexes or the middle points of the curve of the corner.

What are Early and Late Apexes?

Note that the apex are at different positions in the corners. The term ‘Early Apex’ means a center point that is before the middle. A ‘Late Apex’ means a center point past the middle. A ‘Middle Apex’ or ‘Mid Apex’ is in the very center of the curve.

Note how on some corners the apex is in the middle of the turn, while on others the apex is past the middle point or what we call ‘Late’. Yet on other corners the red dot is before the middle of the turn, this is what we call ‘Early’.

Why are early and late apexes important?

The need for an early, middle or late apex depends on where you want to be on track for the next turn. For example on the ‘Late’ corner (pictured and labelled ‘Late’) we have a sharp right hander which leads into a left. We don’t want to apex this left too early because it tend to throw us wide on exit, and this will cost us time.

We also don’t want to enter the left hander from too far to the right of the track, because this will cause an early apex. To compensate we sacrifice exit speed on the first corner (right handed ‘Late’ corner) and allow ourselves to exit mid track in prep for the next left handed corner.

Considerations for Corner Entry under brakes.

Let’s think about what happens as you go through a typical corner under brakes. Usually you have to slow down first, this causes all the weight to shift to the front of a kart. Now keep that point in mind as we go through this because weight shifting is the key making this trick work.

Now because the weight shifts forward the back gets light, and this takes your rear traction away. Losing rear traction makes it difficult for you to get back onto the gas. That’s because if you try to accelerate before you have rear traction, (rear downforce) you will slide. And as a rule, sliding is slow.

To fix this problem my advice to new drivers is not to accelerate too early. I tell them, “wait until you reach the apex before getting on the gas again.”. This is a sure fire way to avoid sliding and to maintain maximum traction through a turn. It lets you approach a turn at maximum braking power, then gradually transition through the middle of the turn by coasting to the apex. When the front of your kart hits the apex, you can get back on the gas and rocket out.

This will be fast for a newer driver, but it is not the FASTEST way through a turn.

How to make your straights longer and hit higher top speeds.

Okay so we know that under brakes our weight has shifted to the front and we have diminished rear traction as we enter the turn. This is typical of a high speed turn that requires straight line braking. To compensate we are delaying our acceleration so that our rear can gain downforce again. So here is the trick.

BLIP THE ACCELERATOR before applying the acceleration.

Blip once. or blip twice. THEN Squeeze slow and smooth back onto the accelerator.

By blipping on briefly you achieve several things. The short burst will momentarily return power to the rear of your kart and balance it out again. But by coming off the gas instead of holding it down you will stop the power and the kart will be able to grab traction before it starts to slide.

Now here’s the magic of this. Because you now have traction you can get back on the gas earlier! And because you can get on the gas earlier your acceleration zones are extended. This is why we can say your straights are longer. The advantage to this is that you can reach a higher top RPM and higher top speed.

When applying this trick, after some practice, you will feel the weight of the kart shift towards the rear. It becomes a timing thing. I usually count in my mind, “one and squeeeeeeeze”.

You can experiment with this and try different techniques.

The goal is to allow yourself to get back onto the gas as early as a kart length or more earlier.

Conclusion, introducing the “Double Blip”

So what we have described is what we call around our local track, “The double blip”. The idea is to give yourself a quick short burst of power before you try to re-apply the acceleration during the exit of a turn. Give it a go. I’ve used this trick for years to dominate the racetracks that I visit. It works for me, and will work for you.

How to Set Up Dual Eccentric Pills on your kart

How to Set Up Dual Eccentric Pills on your kart

In outdoor karts Eccentric Pills are used to adjust the caster and camber of go karts. Indoor karting will eventually lead you to driving and setting up your own outdoor kart. This article examines 16 point eccentrics. Similar rules should apply to 4, 8, 12 point eccentrics.

Eccentrics have an offset center point allowing you to offset the kingpin as you rotate the top and bottom pills. Not many people really understand them, and the information on the internet is scarce. I will try to fill in the blanks.

 Typically these pills are considered to be Caster and Camber adjustments only, but they are actually much more than that as you will see, and they can seriously mess up a kart or bring it magically into alignment. 

 For this reason it is recommended that if you are fairly new, you should only touch your pills in the event that you have a serious problem and need to fix it, because as a new driver your biggest gains are going to come from mastering the line and refining your driver. Pill set adjustments only really start making a difference in lap times when the driver is consistently within .500 of the fast lap time. 

So as a rule of thumb, get your driver right first, and worry about the kart second unless it is totally jacked up and you need to fix a bent and broken kart.

There are two ways to use them.

 1. Zero pills where you have a center pill on the bottom, and then use only one on top (or bottom). This allows for an easier to conceptualize modification of your camber and caster.

 2. Dual Eccentrics top and bottom. This is my preferred way of using eccentrics and the most confusing so we will discuss this method.

 Throughout this guide I will use the following terminology to describe pill positions.

 If you look at the picture above, I show a 16 point eccentric pill set. Note that the northmost position is labeled as #1 and the positions go clockwise to #16. 

 When making pill adjustments we will usually need to make changes to all 4 eccentrics on the LF and the RF top and bottom so I will refer to these as LF[1:1] and RF[1:1] for left front and right front.

 Left Front represents the kart from the drivers perspective so it would be the front wheel closest to his left hand.

 The first part of the number (seen as “[1:” in the [1:1] ) represents the top pill position and the second part of the number (seen as “:1]” in the [1:1]) represents the bottom pill position.

 So if you see RF[2:16] This means to rotate the top pill counter clockwise from position #1 and to place the #2 hole in the place where the #1 hole used to be. So rotate 1 click CCW. Then rotate the bottom clockwise one click to move the #16 hole into the #1 position. LF[1:1]RF[1:1] would mean to set to North Neutral position where both top and bottom are set to position #1.

Note also that the #1 position is furthest from the center hole, and that the center hole is off center. This allows for a total displacement of each kingpin of 3 mm in the north/south axis and 3mm in the east/west axis. If applied equally to both wheels that means we have a total potential displacement of 6mm to the track width and relative length of the kart. This is enough of a range to create a serious displacement of the kart, so be careful.

Now if for example if we were to rotate through the 16 neutral positions from say [1:1] to [2:2] it would have the effect of moving the king pin forwards, upwards and outwards all at the same time. 

Now you can’t move to [2:2] on both sides of the kart and remain balanced because you would be moving both sides in the same direction. Instead if you move the left front to [2:2] then you must move the right front to [16:16]. Now your track width has moved a total of 0.75mm and your kart wheel base has become 0.75mm shorter. Meanwhile your caster and camber has stayed the same, while your ride height raised just slightly.
For now that is inconsequential, but if you had to repair or adjust a kart that had lost it’s squareness, this is a great tool to have in the toolbox. You can adjust your squareness, without affecting your camber and caster and dial out tendencies to pull left and right, which can also remove drag from your straightline speed.

Finding neutral.

Dual Eccentrics allow for a total of 256 possible settings (16 top and 16 bottom). Of these 256 possible settings, 16 of them are actually neutral. Neutral means they do not try to change the caster or camber. They are the positions where the top and the bottom exactly line up.

This table shows the 16 neutral positions for the Right Front (RF) and how they affect ride height and track width in Millimeters. It also shows the corresponding LF setting for neutral and gives an estimate for the total width displacement of that position.

In this diagram red shows the bottom pill setting and black is the top. You can reverse this for the left and right, so on the left side the red would be on top and black on bottom.

[2:16]-0.7502.250[16:2]00.000        -1.125-0.375+2.625

From this you can see that you can make height, width and length adjustments just using the pills, which can be very handy for straightening out a bent kart.

Using Neutral Quadrants. 

I find the easiest way to think of the neutral positions as starting points, and use the North, West, South, East most position as quadrant starting points depending on what you want to achieve.

North Quadrant – How to adjust Camber only….

Note in this picture, North Quadrant (Q1) starts at position[1:1] and we would place both sides of the kart into north Quadrant. This neutral position is great if you want to make camber adjustments. Because moving the top pill +/- 1 click will rock the king pin top left and right. Then you would make equal counter movements on the bottom to keep the king pin centered and to retain your caster. Note that the following settings all have the same caster. Note that if you number all your pills from 1 to 16, and then place them together on top and bottom, you can then make your camber adjustments by rotating both top and bottom the same amount. IE 1:1, 2:2, will actually move the top and bottom in opposite directions. Because of this the width adjustment top and bottom cancels each other out, and the kingpin rocks left and right on a center point.


If we continue instead of negative camber adjustments, we make positive camber adjustments.


As you can see, there are two settings that will rock the kingpin in or out, but one of them has a higher / lower ride height than the other and one can make the kart longer or shorter..

East Quadrant is achieved by going to [13:5]. This has the effect of moving the center axle holes into the left most position. Note if we were to use East Quadrant on one side, then we would have to use West Quadrant on the other side. But if we use North or South Quadrants then we use them equally on both sides.

Effect on width. Note also that if we use East Quadrant on the RF and West Quadrant on our LF then we just made our total kart length 1.5mm shorter than North Quadrant and also decreased our front track width by a total of 3mm. We have also raised our ride height by 1.5mm. In effect we have raised our center of gravity and should give the kart more bite and downforce. We have also reduced scrub radius so this should make the kart more eager to rotate.

East/West Quadrants – How to adjust Caster Only.

East/West  Quadrants are where we would go to make micro caster changes. From this position we can rock the kingpins forward and backwards. Starting at RF[13:5] we get..


Checking and adjusting squareness using eccentrics.

If you only tweaked one side of the kart, then you would make one side longer than the other. You would also need a longer tie rod on one side of the kart and you would need to re-adjust all your steering alignment. 

You could use the pills in this way to square up a kart that does not measure straight. Karts get bent all the time, typically a hit in the rear will bend the longitudinal struts that hold the rear bearing cassettes. These are made to be flexible like shock absorbers, but they also hold the bumper so if they get hit at an angle they are at risk of bending. When they do, your kart will show one side gets longer than the other, or one side is higher than the other, and it will start to pull left or right. Especially if you take your hands off the wheel. You can either get it on a rack or scales, and then bend it, or make emergency repairs using pill adjustment. 

Sometimes even after getting the wheels evenly flat, you are still bent with one side longer than the other. You can then use the pills to dial it back in.

 First to check straightness, you would take a magnet and place it on the front center of the rear axle, then get a metal tape measure and place it on the magnet to lock it to the front of the rear axle. 

 Next measure the distance from axle to kingpin top center on each wheel. Note that when you change your magnet to the other side of the axle that you want to make sure to be the exact same distance from your bearings to the magnet on each side.

 To be square you want the distance to be identical.
Now check the distance to kingpin bottom, you also want these to be identical. You will find here if your steering yoke has been bent and tweaked.
If you are short on one side you can now use a neutral pill setting to make each side longer or shorter.

In the same way your steering tie rods should be the same length when at dead center. If they are not, you can use your neutral pill settings to lengthen one side of your kart. Even though this can have the effect of changing ride heights, width and length, I have found quite often that these adjustments actually bring all in line together as you would need. Something to do with the fact that the kart was probably in line at first, and after the bend, the height, length and width were all affected.

Which neutral to use?

Whether you start from North Quadrant, South Quadrant , East or West, doesn’t really matter in the scheme of things. And how you choose to go is up to you.

Some things to keep in mind though when dialing in the pills.

Lower ride height will lower your center of gravity and tend to give the kart more lateral force, less grip and make the front weight seem lighter under load. It can slow the weight transfer speed like taking a bar out might do. And it can help to reduce hop in a high grip situation. The lower ride height settings also lengthen the wheelbase, so they contribute to slower weight transitions and smoother slower rotations.

Higher ride height will raise your center of gravity and can help with an entry push giving you more bite on entry. It can help to fight a slide in the rear on exit, due to over steering. It can give you more grip in low grip situations or the wet. The higher ride height also makes your total length shorter, making your kart more darty and wanting to rotate faster. Which can make the rear more sensitive to slide. It will speed your weight transfer up.

A Quick Idea to Improve Kart Stability in corners

A Quick Idea to Improve Kart Stability in Corners


Correct hand position can make the difference between being stable and consistent and all over the place. But what IS the correct hand position?

Correct Hand Position

Over the years I have noticed many drivers use different techniques to manage their steering and body position. Some pull at the steering some push, some lean in and others lean out.

Now as for hand position some people say your hands should be at 10 and 2 on the steering wheel, but I find in a rental kart you’re not always able to reach this far because the seat is set so far back. For this reason I set my hands at 9 and 3.

I think the important thing is that you’re consistent because I have seen some drivers who are very fast who set their hands at 8 and 4, take Adam Kellerman for example, who is arguably one of the fastest indoor kart drivers in USA.

Now when you consider the actual geometry and mechanics of the kart, I think there is a clear optimal method to position yourself for corners and braking. When steering, Pushing with the outside hand, should be more favorable than pulling with the inside hand. So hands above 9 and 3 should win.

The reason it’s important is that we want to help the kart chassis flex (although indoor karts tend not to flex much at all). The idea is to bring the inside front wheel down and to create cross tension between the front and rear wheels. This causes the kart to have better traction.

Is it a huge advantage? Probably not, but a lower inside front wheel and lower outside rear wheel gives you a small advantage that will add up over a session. And everything adds up.

So what are your thoughts on this, where do you hold your hands?

What can I work on to be faster in a kart?

What can I work on to be faster in a kart?

Drunk Vs Sober

Over the years I have considered at depth, what makes the difference between the fastest kart racers and the rest of the drivers? One afternoon a thought came to mind…

Here’s a question for you.. “What is the difference between a drunk driver and a sober driver?”

How about …

  1. Balance
  2. Timing
  3. Reflexes
  4. Judgement
Why are drunk drivers less capable?

These give us 4 strategic dimensions to work on your kart racing.

  1. Improve Stability and Balance through posture and mechanics.
  2. Improve Timing, through track awareness and timing techniques
  3. Improve effect of bad reflexes through track awareness, timing and racing lines.
  4. Develop race craft through tricks and techniques to passing. (better judgement)

Now that we have some targets we can think about exercises that we can develop to work on each area. Note that not every dimension requires us to be on the track. We could work on timing and balance in a numerous ways. If you get creative you can really open your possibilities.

Accumulation theory

There are many subtle little tricks we can learn to develop small advantages within each strategic dimension, these little advantages accumulate to become an overwhelming edge that bring consistent speed and position in race situations.

I wont go into detail on each dimension but if you are looking for areas that you can develop to improve your ability then these are 4 areas to begin.

I will say, how you sit, how you turn, how you use the steering and brakes. How you try to use timing instead of reflexes, how you use your eyes and how much you try to prepare in advance and pre-empt the track ahead. All of these things accumulate into an accumulation of advantage.

This makes the difference between driving something like a drunk driver vs driving like a well balanced driver who knows in advance what is coming.

See you on the track.

How to avoid the mistake of sliding in a Go Kart

How to Avoid the Mistake of Sliding in a Go Kart

Fixing up Sliding & Drifting

Sliding: It looks cool, feels fast, but the truth is, it is slower than molasses and is a sure fire sign of an inexperienced racer.

Fix the slide, and it’s the surest way to beat all your buddies, qualify for advanced status, and challenge the veterans for fast lap honors.

Added Bonus! This applies to real cars as well.

Why is slding slow?

Indoor karting is all about managing a very small amount of energy, because you have very little horsepower in your engine you can only build your energy up slowly. Once you have momentum you have to bring that energy into a turn, carry it through the turn as you rotate the kart and then make use of whatever you have left on the exit of the turn. Every little bit makes a difference because if you can save energy in a turn then you need less energy to get back up to top speed.

Sliding throws your energy and momentum away in the turn.

After a slide, on the exit of the turn, you have to kind of start all over again building up your momentum energy.

If you slide, fast drivers will just drive around you like you are parked still, and in many cases a slider WILL be parked still.

There are 3 types of slide.
1. The Entry slide
2. The Middle slide
3. The Exit slide.

Just about all drivers are guilty of losing speed at some time to these three types of slide, even the pros. But here’s what you need to know to fix them.

By Entry, Middle and Exit, we are talking about corner phases.

In the image above we are approaching from the left and exiting on the right. 

It is important to start thinking about how each phase also has an optimal assigned purpose, and although they seem obvious they have profound consequences on your ability to be fast.

Goals for the Entry.

Our assigned purpose is to SLOW DOWN! We do NOT want to also be doing anything in the middle and exit that causes us to slow down, we want ALL decreases in speed adjustment to happen in the entry phase.

Goals for the Middle turn.

 Our purpose is to Balance, or to get control of the kart and spread the forces evenly between the front and rear tires. This will let us maximize the momentum and lock the kart to the ground without sliding. This sets us up for the next phase. It is not so much about acceleration here, as it is about balance, many pros only coast through this phase and wait wait wait for balance before trying to accelerate out. Remember if you are doing it right, you are already at the limit of traction here. 

Goals for the Exit.

We want to be doing things to Accelerate us. As a base line, until you get the hang of it, you should wait until you have passed the very middle “apex” of the turn, which is about when you pass the middle of the inside bumper, before you start to apply the gas. Do this and you will always be balanced before you accelerate. And Don’t rush it! Squeeze on easy and steady.

Fixing The Entry Slide. This is a slide that begins on the entry, it might carry on through the middle and into the exit, but it begins on entry.

On Entry we need to SLOW DOWN. Seems obvious right? But it is NOT just braking, there are actually several things things you can do to slow down, whether you know it or not, many drivers ALSO do these slow down things in the other phases of the turn, and this is where the mistakes begin that lose you speed.  These are ALL the slowing actions…

  1. Braking 
  2. Letting off on the gas 
  3. Turning the wheel MORE into the turn, (includes wiggling your hands when IN the turn)
  4. Sliding the rear

Note that each idea has different degrees of slowing potential, so the transition times can be gentle or violent. And in general we want our transitions to be precise, but smooth and gradual, and where possible as gentle as handling a vial of anthrax.

So in an ideal situation, ALL your slowing actions happen in the ENTRY phase of the turn.

For example “Turning the wheel MORE into the turn”, you only want to be adding steering when you are in the entry phase, if you are adding more steering in the middle and exit phase then you are making a mistake that is slowing these phases. If you think carefully about what you are doing in turn where you seem to be slow, you can find these mistakes on your own.

The second goal of the entry is to get your kart SET for the turn, in an optimal way. In almost every situation, with very very rare exceptions (which won’t matter until you are seasoned pro), you should be LEANING OUT OF A TURN – NOT INTO A TURN! And you do this on the straight before the entry – NEVER after you have turned the wheel in, always before. Take my word for it, it’s critical to speed in an indoor kart. There are very real reasons for this that any pro can explain to you.

If you slide beginning on entry, it almost always just means you are coming in too hot, or braking too late. Generally here we mean your rear wheels are sliding. It is possible that your front wheels are sliding too, but generally this does not happen until mid turn.  It’s the same cause though, coming in too hot. So start slowing down earlier!

The fastest deceleration will happen in straight lines, so in general if you want to brake late and more effectively, you should look for ways to brake in straight lines BEFORE you turn the wheel. You have rear brakes so lean backwards when you brake to put your weight on the rear – YES it makes a difference – the easy way is to lift and keep your head up high when you apply the brakes.

Fixing The Exit Slide. This is a rear slide that begins on the exit, after a stable entry and a stable mid turn entry.

Before we discuss the middle slide, we will look at the most common error, the exit slide.

Exit slide almost always means you are getting on the gas too early, but it can also mean you are offline and turning in too early. In general though, with even a little practice we can make any line stable with the right foot and hand work, so the exit slide can be a little deceiving when you are chasing the last .100 seconds. Even being slightly off line you can still qualify if you fix this one, you just won’t beat the fast guys until you fix the line.

So if sliding on exit, the first thing to try is to just get on the gas later. And the next thing to ask is, “Should I turn in later?”. You will know if you need a later turn in, because the other drivers will seem slow on the entry but pull away from you on the exit while you are still stuck trying to turn.

If you find you can not get full throttle until you are way past the middle of the turn, then you DEFINITELY have a bad line. You need to turn into the turn later, so delay your entry a bit and wait a bit more before you turn in. Start by deciding EXACTLY where you will turn in, and make sure you can hit that spot consistently. Then make adjustments, if you think you need to get on the gas earlier, move your turn in point forward by about 3 inches at a time, until it feels right.

Remember now you might need to slow down on the entry a little bit more to make it work. Don’t let that bother you, as any pro will tell you, the secret trick is to be SLOW IN and FAST OUT. As you will soon learn, fast in and fast out, generally doesn’t work, because it places you too close to the limits and messes up the balance and transition phases. Fast in-fast out strategies are very inconsistent and unstable, and the regular mistakes result in catastrophic loss of speed. Also the only way to make fast in fast out work, is to drive a big wide sweeping line, which makes the track so much longer, that you never make up for the time lost. That’s when you experience the feel of drivers pulling away from you in turns while you are still stuck rotating in the turn.

Fixing the Middle Phase Slide. This is a slide that begins after you have slowed, are approaching the apex and getting ready for the exit.

Take note of the shape of the driving line in our diagram, note that it arcs more in the Entry, then it opens out in the Exit phase and is almost straight in the exit. This is the classic slow in fast out line, with a slightly late apex.

Remember TURNING INTO a turn slows you down a little, so TURNING OUT should speed you up a little. Note the shape of the arc through the middle, it almost holds steady through the middle, without increasing, while it starts to open at the apex.

If your entry was stable and you start to slide in the middle, it could be several reasons, but generally it means you did not get set up for the turn early enough, and you are still trying to make radical inputs. 

In general you should be all set by the middle, and not need to be slowing down or speeding up, or changing lines. You should be holding steady and either coasting or making very very very subtle movements to maintain control and balance.

The reason coasting the middle works so well, is that during your entry phase a lot of the weight is thrown to the front of the kart, which makes the rear of the kart light. You have almost no traction at all in the rear, if you are doing things right. By coasting, the weight gently returns to the rear wheels and evenly distributes between front and rear wheels, giving you maximum rubber to carry the turn. As you begin to release the steering input more weight shifts to the rear and front pressure drops and the rear tires are given downforce to accelerate you out.

Hit the gas too early, before that weight has balanced, and you lose the back end (slide). OR another type of problem can happen, called the push, because the back plants and the front gets TOO light, you lose front steering. OR another problem called the BIND, where the back wheels plant – the weight shifts rearward and all four wheels fight causing a braking effect as you try to accelerate out. SOLUTION: Be patient – wait for the balance.

As you become a pro, you will learn to develop ‘the feel’ to be able to push the limits, and there definitely *tricks* that can be taught to cheat the balance, but it all begins with mastering the balance in the middle through coasting first.

Review of kart sliding problems and solutions

                              – BRAKING TOO LATE    – SLOW DOWN EARLIER

                            – ADJUST YOUR SPEED EARLIER**

                        – OFFLINE – APEX LATER

Remember the purpose of each phase
Entry = slow down
Middle = Balance
Exit = GO GO GO

Advanced TIP: Middle slide often happens because we are able to get into a corner with stability, but then in the middle suddenly realize we need to make an adjustment. Already being at the limit, even with a slight throttle blip or fractional twitch of our steering, we lose traction slightly.  If you find consistent mid turn instability, begin by asking yourself what the adjustment is that is causing it, and then resolve to do that adjustment earlier, even if you don’t think you need it yet. You almost always find after this modification to your line that you get more acceleration through a turn. This will really help you in a sweeper turn.

If you find Indoor Karting fun, and want to learn from the best drivers, come and jump into the racing leagues, they’re open to all skill levels and you are guaranteed to get faster.

FAQ Frequently Asked Questions about Indoor Karting

FAQ Frequently Asked Questions about Indoor Karting

How much weight can a go kart hold?

I’ve seen public rental indoor karts handle drivers up to 400lbs and possibly more. Rental tracks usually don’t like allowing drivers much over this weight because things start to break but usually if you can get into the seat, they’ll let you drive it.

Can you wear glasses go karting?

Yes you can totally wear glasses inside a helmet, even with a head sock on. The only problem is that sometimes they can become misaligned and you might need to adjust them.

How fast do indoor go karts go?

This would depend on the length of the straights at your indoor karting track because the small kart engines need time to spin up to top speed. This also depends on how much horsepower your tracks karts have. The standard combustion indoor karts by Sodi have 6.5HP, 9HP and 13HP engines. Some tracks have elevation to deal with too but not a lot of indoor tracks have this problem, most are flat. Straight sections of indoor kart tracks range from 50 meters to 150 meters. Sometimes those straights are connected through fast corners and this allows the karts to reach higher top speeds.

Rarely have I seen a kart go over 40MPH, more often they peak at around 30-40MPH. A lot of tracks use rev limiters and restrict their karts even further. I believe Sykart in Oregon is under 30MPH while Victory Lane in Charlotte might actually get above 40MPH because they often have very fast and long track sections that allow the karts to get up to speed.

Is go Karting hard?

I wrote a quick article about this here. The short version is that karting is easy and drivers of all ages can have fun at an indoor track any day or night of the week.

Is Go Karting Fun?

Karting is one of the most fun things you could ever do. I wrote more about this here.

Can you flip an indoor go kart?

The lack of power and 100% surround bumpers of indoor karts make the likelihood of flipping an indoor kart pretty low. But after observing some 10,000+ races I have seen some rare situations where indoor karts have come close. In most indoor tracks there are safety bumpers around the karts which protect the wheels from touching each other. This goes a long way towards protecting the karts from flipping.

In one rare situation I saw a session where 6 karts came side by side in a wide area of a track. The track progressively narrowed and one of the karts became pinched down onto the wall. The kart tipped over sideways and then flipped up on a pole finally coming to rest at almost 90 degrees to the ground. It did not flip, it did not roll over, but it stood upright while the driver sat strapped into the kart until a worker could come over and lift him down. Nobody was hurt and we all had a good laugh.

So in spite of how rare it might be, I think there are rare situations where it is remotely possible, and maybe a 1 in 10 million event.

How fast can a 9hp go kart go?

The 9hp kart can reach a top speed of about 45 MPH but in order to do so you need a straight section about 20 seconds or more in length. If a track only allows about 5 to 10 seconds then it’s more typical to see top speeds under 35MPH. It really depends on how much time you allow the kart to get up to speed.

Does go karting hurt?

Karting does not usually hurt and there is usually enough safety equipment like helmets and padding available. You are usually fully enclosed and protected by bumpers. However, there are always maniacs who can turn a fun day into a dangerous situation and being slammed in the side at 40MPH when you’re at a dead stop can break ribs, and easily dislocate ribs and deliver neck injuries. These kinds of injuries are most definitely painful. Be careful on an indoor track, and make sure to follow all safety guides if you don’t want to hurt yourself and others.

Is karting physically demanding?

I had a friend once who started karting just so he could lose weight. He dropped almost 50 lbs. Now while a 10 minute session wont wear you out totally, you’d be surprised at just how much energy it takes to actively race a go kart. Don’t jump in a kart if you don’t want your clothes to get wet and sticky from sweat, its pretty demanding, YES.

Does go karting Burn Calories?

Go karting will burn many more calories than just sitting in a chair. Especially if you’re trying to race competitively. It is not uncommon to be completely out of breath in a 30 minute session and in longer sessions I have seen drivers unable to hold their head up from the G forces. How many calories? I can’t be sure but I would say at least 300 per hour and possibly 400 if you’re a larger person and fighting G forces. Karts can hit up to 4 G’s and can easily hit 2 G’s in turns, those extra G’s put your body to work.

Is Indoor karting a sport?

Absolutely yes. Each year drivers from all over the world gather for National Indoor karting championships, regional championships and international karting championships. Karting is a fantastic sport for drivers of all skill levels and I encourage you to look for local racing leagues near you.

What do you wear under a go kart suit?

Some drivers wear shorts and jeans, or just underwear. Some drivers wear safety equipment like a rib protector. Take for example this K1 Rib Protector on Amazon a very common choice.

Is go karting a good date idea?

Honestly, unless your date is an amazing driver, go karting is probably not a good date idea. The reasons are that you’re not together on the track and its a very competitive environment. You neither want to be beat by your partner and nor do you want to beat then at anything. It’s also a very dirty environment. I have not seen many dates go that well at the track. Especially if this is your first time in the environment, you are both going to be very uncomfortable and intimidated.
But hey, there are going to be those who loved it and found it exciting, so test your partners sense of adventure. Just be ready for a tense time.

Is go karting like driving a car?

Go karting is much like driving a car, up until the point it becomes a race. And the thing is, when you hit an indoor go karting track, it is absolutely a race. This is where things change, because if you are slow, you become like a pedestrian walking around a Nascar track. You’ll likely get hit and bumped by faster drivers, so you need to develop some humility.

Do indoor go karts have front brakes?

No most indoor karts only have rear brakes.

How do you go on a go kart for beginners?

Its fairly straight forward, one foot for accelerator, one foot for brake, 2 hands on the steering wheel. Head up, and face towards corners (so you can see who is inside you). Go and Stop and you’ll be fine. Check your local Google Search for an indoor kart track near you, just jump in and have a go, you’ll be fine.

Are indoor go karts rear wheel drive?

Yes indoor karts use a rear wheel drive system where both wheels rotate at a uniform rate because of a solid rear axle.

How do brakes work on a go kart?

Indoor karts have a rear disk brake system that squeezes 2 pads against a rotor. The rotor will slow the rotation of the solid rear axle. Many modern braking systems disable the accelerator when you are applying the brakes to avoid safety issues for the driver and to protect wear and tear on the engine.

What engine do indoor go karts use?

The most common indoor karting engines for Sodi karts are the Honda 6HP GX200, Honda 9HP GX270 and the 13HP GX390. In some locations throughout the world Sodi uses 125cc two stroke engines. the Engec Brushless is another common karting engine for electric karts.

Do go karts have a clutch?

The most common indoor karts have automatic clutches so you do not need to use a manual clutch.

How long is a go kart race?

Most standard karting sessions are about 10 minutes long. Racing leagues can run endurance sessions of 20 to 30 minutes. In some national events there are special races that go for 12 to 24 hours long and involve relay teams.

Do indoor go karts have gears?

99.9% of Indoor rental karts do not have gears. There are some exceptions though in the world because some use DD2 two speed racing engines.

How do I get good at indoor go karting?

Practice. Go to a track more than once per week and race 4 races per visit. Read my articles and you’ll get good in no time. But Practice, Practice, Practice. Get your ‘seat time’.

How do I start go karting?

Just look up your local indoor track, and visit with a drivers license. They should have helmets and all the safety gear you need to get started. Take your own helmet and some good sturdy clothes if you have them.

What is a shifter kart?

A shifter kart has gears, and is not usually used for indoor kart rentals. They are very fast and very powerful.

Do you need sneakers for go karting?

You don’t need sneakers, but you don’t want open toe shoes. So Sneakers are great for karting.

Is indoor karting safe?

Indoor karting locations are under a lot of pressure to make sure that their rides are safe. For this reason karting locations use helmets, seat belts and large seats and bumpers to protect the passengers. One of the most common karts is the Sodi, take a look at one here.

Is go karting scary?

Go karting can be intimidating at first because a race track can be very foreign and there are people barking orders at you and waving flags at you. It can seem like it’s just another bumper car race like any Disneyland ride but it can become serious racing very quickly. Once you have done it a few times, it’s no more scary than your first day at school.

Do go karts have traction control?

Karts don’t have modern computerized traction control so you can drift them out, however karts don’t like to slide and have a tendency to slow down and bog when they slide out. So while the traction control is not on purpose they do have a limited traction control by nature of their mechanics.

What does trail braking mean?

Trail braking is a n advanced braking technique where you both turn the steering wheel into a corner while braking at the same time. Normally the safe way to brake is in a straight line. The problem happens when you turn the wheel because there is less traction when you steer. That’s because a kart likes to do one thing or the other, you can turn or you can brake, but when you ask the tires to do both, they get over worked. The most advanced drivers use trail braking because it allows you to go very deep and fast into a turn but it’s not something easily managed by beginners.

Can you wear glasses go karting?

Absolutely just slip the glasses on after you have put on your helmet, they should stay in place just fine.

Shout Out to Bernie at Racing For Beginners

Shout Out to Bernie at Racing For Beginners

If you’re looking for another website for karting advice on your journey to excellence, may I recommend my good friend Bernie and his son Senna. Bernie goes through the motions of being a dad with a kid in karting and has great perspectives on challenges of coming up through the ranks and coaching a young one with talent.

Bernie is a friend of mine who frequents my favorite track Sykart Tigard Oregon. He has come a long way with his son Senna, who by the way handsomely smoked me on the track the other night. LOL. Go Senna!

So here’s an article of his that talks about the voice within that we have to contend with when we’re trying to get our race on. Sometimes that voice is on our side, and other times it’s our worst enemy. Bernie puts together a great article.

Anyway, I hope you like his site as much as I do.


Bernies site has great advice for parents with kids in karting.