As I’ve told you before, I started my karting “career” by participating in a local league in early 2022. While I’ve had a few hours of practice in go-karts, I never had the chance to race on a wet track. So, I was surprised to race on a soaking wet track in the league’s second race. But, the experience was both educational and exhilarating.
Karting in the rain is the ultimate challenge for any professional racer. Wet driving comes with much less traction, which makes handling the kart very difficult. Also, the wet racing lines are different from the dry ones, adding an extra level of complexity to the kart’s handling.
As you’ll see in the clips below, it’s very frustrating and exhausting to race with minimal handling. You’ll spend the whole race fighting with the go-kart rather than with your opponents.
So, I have a few tips for any of you who will race on a wet track. I’ll also let you know how to end up in the first place like I did on my first wet driving experience which was a combination of preparations and some luck (will be explained why).
Is Kart Racing Possible in the Rain?
In most motorsports, the red flag comes out when there’s too much rain. But that’s far from the case with karting. I still remember watching the broadcast of the F1 2021 Belgian Grand Prix, where a couple of karting drivers hopped on a nearby track, even though it was pouring.
So, kart racing in the rain is possible. While go-kart racing in the wet isn’t possible during a full-blown storm, the race continues in most other cases.
This happens because go-karts are slower than most vehicles in motorsports. In the wet, the karts will be even slower; and there are very few drivers who dare to push the machines to their limits.
Knowing that go-kart races don’t stop during rainfall, you’ll need to know how to drive under wet conditions.
How to Drive Go-Karts on a Wet Track?
Driving go-karts in the wet needs tons of skill and a bit of luck. So, before you try out karting in the rain, you’ll need to know the basics of karting, like how to brake and the optimal racing lines.
Once you’ve got some basic karting experience, you’ll need to learn a new set of skills for wet driving. Taking my experience and some tips from fellow racers into consideration, I’ve compiled some basic tips for wet racing that you’ll need to learn.
Steer with Confidence
One thing that I saw a lot of my opponents do during my first wet race was overcorrecting in the middle of the corner. I also did the same thing, where I would steer more or less in different parts of certain turns. That’s not the right way to steer on a wet track.
You’ll need to find the optimal wet racing line for every corner. Once you know the entry, apex, and exit point of each one, you should ONLY steer your wheel once and take the turn smoothly.
Understand How to Utilize the Throttle Through a Corner
On a dry track, having your foot on the throttle at all times will make you drift your kart, or you’ll end up ruining the go-kart. But, the lack of grip on a wet track allows you to use the throttle to your advantage.
It’s a fact that go-karts don’t like turning in the wet. By utilizing the throttle in the middle of slow corners, you can get the kart’s rear to rotate much better. Essentially, you’ll get the kart straight, which will make you faster overall.
But, there’s one thing you’ll need to keep in mind…
Don’t Overdo It With the Throttle
While the track is different, the basic mechanics of the go-kart remain the same. So, if you apply too much throttle at any point in a corner, you’ll spin around. This is also true once you’re on the exit of a corner because you can easily lose the rear end of the kart.
So, you should avoid applying too much throttle on a wet track, as it will result in a lot of wheelspin, and you’ll lose the rear end. You’ll have to find the part of the track that has the most grip and then apply full throttle.
Braking Correctly Is the Key to Winning
Knowing how to brake on a dry track can be challenging for newbies. But, learning how to brake correctly on a wet track is one of the greatest challenges for every karting racer.
For starters, you shouldn’t apply the brakes while you’re steering into a corner. You’ll end up locking your brakes and destabilizing the go-kart to the point where you’ll go straight into the wall. Also, don’t treat the brake pedal like a button; apply and release it gradually and smoothly.
You’ll need to brake much earlier in the rain compared to a dry track. That’s because you won’t be able to apply the brakes at 100% (you’ll lock them up if you do).
The last thing about braking correctly in the rain is that you should stay off the dry racing line. Rubber and water will make you feel that you’re driving on ice. So, try to be closer to the middle of the track when braking.
Golden Tip: Let Your Opponents Make the Mistakes
Sometimes, you don’t have to be the fastest in order to be first. One of those cases is wet go-kart racing.
As long as you focus on taking each turn smoothly and not pushing too hard, you’ll find yourself fighting for a podium finish. Most drivers push too hard in the wet, which is why they end up spinning out. Let them make the mistakes while you’re there to gain all the positions they lose.
Best Wet Track Racing Lines
Dry racing lines are very different to wet ones. After racing on a wet track, I can assure you that if you take the regular racing line, you’ll slide off the track. How can you find the optimal wet racing line?
A general rule for wet racing lines is that the entry and exit need to be tighter, while you should take a wider approach in the middle of the corner.
Most fast corners have a similar racing line in the dry and in the wet because the kart’s grip isn’t really affected at high speeds. In slower corners, like hairpins, you’ll have to take a different approach.
But, picking a different racing line in each corner is the best way to find the most grip, especially when the track is drying up. That’s because some parts of the track will get dry, so they’ll be more grippy.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to consider your exit more than anything else on a wet track. The more straight your kart is, the earlier you’ll be able to apply full throttle. So, the faster you’ll be around the track.
I’ll include Terence Dove’s video below. While the video was made five years ago, it’s still very relevant, and Terence explains the wet racing lines very well.
Apart from finding the dry spots on the track, you should also utilize the curbs as much as you can.
Using the Curbs
I’ve found that curbs can help immensely in heavy braking zones on dry tracks. When it comes to a wet track, there are two techniques that you can use to ride the curbs and gain an advantage.
In low-speed corners, you should hook the inside wheels on the curbs. This will pull the kart around. The best way to achieve the hooking method is by putting the front inside wheel over the curb. But, don’t go too fast; otherwise, you’ll spin around due to oversteer. You could also use this method in medium-speed corners, but handling the kart will be more difficult.
The second method I used when racing was trail braking in high-speed corners. By using the curbs right after trail braking, you’ll be able to keep a lot of momentum through the corner while also having a very straight line through it. Make sure to let go of the brake and apply some throttle once you’re on the brakes so that your kart doesn’t spin around.
You can also check the video below for more info about trail braking.
Racing go-karts in the wet is the biggest challenge for every karting professional. You’ll be fighting with the kart at all times, so you’ll need to be at your best in order to come in first. But, as long as you take it nice and slow, you’ll find yourself on the podium while everyone else will have spun out.
Stay tuned for more articles just like this one!
If you have any more questions that you’d like me to answer, be sure to contact me or leave a comment below.
FAQs for Go-Karting in Wet Tracks
Can You Race on a Wet Track?
Yes, you can race go-karts on a wet track. Karts aren’t as fast as cars, so karting in the rain is possible, and it’s very challenging, as I said above.
How Do You Drive a Go-Kart in the Rain?
You’ll need to drive smoothly and let your opponents make mistakes. Karting in the wet is pretty hard, and many drivers end up pushing too much. So, focus on driving the wet racing line nice and slow.