Wednesday, May 25, 2005

If You Want to Win Karting Events....You Need to Know How to Brake

How to Earn Your Title as the Karting 'Last of the Late Brakers
How do I learn to brake like those flash Super 1 karters?

This is where you're going to get the answers you need. And in my usual tradition I'm going to give you nice'n'easy step-by-step instructions from Terence Dove

Braking like a Karting Superstar

One thing I used to marvel at as a young kart racer was the way top class drivers used to drift into corners like they were effortlessly floating around the circuit. Then I would try it out myself and completely mess it up. I had no idea why they were doing it or how to do it, just that it looked cool.

Trail Braking- It Looks Cool but What's the Point?

The reason why drivers have the rear of the kart sliding into corners is because they are using a technique called trail braking, which allows you to brake a bit later and deeper into a corner. So, the point is that you can get around a track faster by braking later without losing exit speed.

Here's how to do it:-

First you need to understand a bit about how kart tyres work. If you imagine that a tyre can only provide so much grip, let's call that 100% grip, then you would want to use 100% grip for maximum braking, then 100% grip for maximum cornering speed. Normally you will brake for a corner, come off the brake, turn in and then accelerate away. Generally people will tell you that braking and turning together will cause you to spin, because if you are using 100% grip for braking, there isn't any left for cornering, sounds like good advice right? Well it's not as simple as that because there are parts of a corner between hitting the brakes and the apex when you can be turning and braking at the same time. If you visualise this situation then you will understand how it works.

Imagine you are belting down the straight into a tight corner, you brake a bit later than usual and you still need to slow down more as you reach your turn in point. You know you will spin if you are still hard on the brakes when you turn in, BUT you still have to turn in!
Here's what you do, you come off the brakes a little and turn in, the cornering grip required of the tyre isn't maximum yet because you aren't turning very sharply at the early stages of the corner, let's say you are using 60% of your grip- That leaves 40% of your grip to use on braking.
So you can carry on braking into the corner, gradually easing off the brake as you turn more sharply. What you will find is that you will be blending your braking into the corner with your cornering and then blending in the throttle as you exit. If you are looking ahead as described in a previous lesson your mind will be way ahead and you probably won't even notice how cool you look to spectators!

This technique does require practice, and you will probably spin a few times, but it is definitely worth the trouble because it means you will become a genuine 'Last of the Late Brakers'. And doesn't every racer want that title?

Popdex Citations

Karting in the Wet. How to Win Wet Kart Races

How to Become a Karting Rain Master.

How to learn to love karting in the wet and whoop everyone else.

Karting in the wet is the ultimate way to learn how a kart works, and how to become a super-sensitive kart driver. The other great thing about the wet karting is that it will magnify any driving problems you have, so you can spot them easily and nail them straight away.
When you get the hang of these techniques you will be laughing, because the first rule about wet karting is that nobody else knows what the hell is going on. Half the karters on the grid won't have a clue where to brake, so you'll be out-braking all of them.

Ok, let's get into the details of karting in the wet.

First off, driving in the wet is completely different to driving in the dry. Pretty much at every circuit the fastest racing line is different, and frankly quite weird and counter-intuitive. Why? Two reasons.

1) Similar to most circuit racing, the dry line is covered in rubber which is a bit greasy when wet- therefore the less used parts of the track which are cleaner have more grip.

2) The way karts work requires you to take a very late entry into a corner.

I am going to talk about high speed corners, mid speed corners and low speed corners separately.

Low speed corners

Let's say the first corner you encounter is at the end of the straight, and it's pretty tight. First thing you need to do is brake, and you need to learn the latest braking point the same as you would in the dry. You may even find it isn't much different to the dry braking point. So you already have an advantage over all the fools who won't practice karting in the wet.
The key to braking in the wet is getting the tyre to bite without locking, you need to be super-sensitive and you need to be quick to release braking pressure when you feel the wheels about to lock.

Turning in
Karts don't like to go round corners in the wet. And to get them to turn you need to get the inside rear tyre off the ground, or the damn kart will just run straight on. Here's the technique:
Brake a little later than usual, and plan to run wide and deep into the corner. Turn the wheel to full lock in a really purposeful aggressive way. You want to almost surprise the kart, in a split second you go from a straight wheel to full lock. The kart will almost ignore you, then when you lose enough speed it will bite and turn sharply. Normally to encourage the kart to turn you can lean forward to the outside front wheel. By now you are so deep in the corner you will be on the cleaner more grippy part of the circuit, and have better traction to accelerate away. Once the kart has turned you need to sit back to get weight over those back tyres for traction. Carefully feed in the throttle to avoid wheelspin.

High speed corners.

Karting in the wet is about traction....lose the wheelspin
Understeer in fast corners in the wet is quite nice, so just drive the kart through the corner nice and smooth. You shouldn't need to lean forward or do anything drastic with the wheel. Just make sure you get all your power down and avoid wheelspin. The line shouldn't be a lot different to that in the dry.

Mid Speed Cornering

This is where you will need to use a mixture of techniques. Usually there will be a different racing line for the wet, normally a wide line is preferable. You will probably need to be aggressive on turn in, but a faster corner may need a less aggressive approach. You may need to lean to the outside front wheel, but maybe not. I know, I'm being vague. This is why you need to get out on a wet track and I would strongly advise that you get a driver coach to watch you in the wet.