As I continue on with my journey in go-karting, I’ve tried to maximize my chances of winning every race I enter. Most of the time, I listen to what other racers have to say, and I try to figure out how to go faster on my own. So far, I’ve learned a series of tips when it comes to go-kart racing, and I decided to share some of them with you. But, before I go on, there’s something important that I need to mention.
Winning a go-kart race isn’t always a matter of skill. If you end up racing with someone who has 20 years of experience while you’re racing your second go-kart race, you’ll probably lose. However, there are a few things that you should avoid and others that you should learn, which should help you win most of the races you enter.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some go-kart racing tips.
Go-Kart Racing Tips
I tried to compile a couple of tips for beginners and some for more experienced go-kart drivers. Here’s what I have discovered from my time go-karting and from what I’ve been told by other racers.
- Learn the track that you’re racing on
This is easily one of the steps that most drivers forget. Even if you’re the best driver on the planet, if you don’t know the track that you’re racing on, you’ll end up in last place in no time.
Each go-kart track has a unique set of turns and straights. This means that you’ll need to study the layout before you hop on your kart and race on the track. But, if that’s not possible, you could always be at the track a few minutes earlier and learn the track from inside your go-kart.
Learning the track that you’re racing on is essential because you’ll need to memorize every corner and every barrier. During the race, you’ll have to think about passing your opponents and setting the fastest laps. So, if you don’t know the track, you’ll spend more time focusing on learning it rather than passing your competitors.
So, take the time to try out different lines on each corner and see how the kart reacts to each line. That way, you’ll be able to make a split-second decision on a race, which might get you a place on the podium.
- Learn how to use your weight as an advantage
Many people tend to forget that go-kart racing isn’t the same as car racing. Your weight matters much more in go-kart racing because it’s a significant percentage of the total weight of your kart. So, you’ll need to understand how to utilize your weight to gain an advantage.
Generally, when you’re taking a corner, you should try to place your body in the opposite direction of the turn. When you’re turning into a corner, your kart is unstable because of the forces that are placed on it. So, by placing your body on the opposite end, you’ll manage to stabilize it, and thus you’ll be faster.
That being said, while I was doing that on the track recently, I was told by one driver that I should focus on keeping my body on the center of the kart rather than the other said. Scientifically, this can be beneficial since it allows the go-kart to be more stable on the apex and exit of the corner.
- Do not drift your go-kart
I’ve already talked about the effects that drifting has on your go-kart. But, I can’t stress how important it is to not drift your go-kart.
For starters, drifting your go-kart will make you much slower through corners. This happens because you’re making the go-kart oversteer, which in turn makes it lose a lot of speed due to the friction between the tires and the tarmac.
But that’s not the only thing you’ll have to worry about. If you can’t control the oversteer of the kart, you’ll end up on the barriers, and you’ll not be able to finish the race, let alone win it.
Also, when you drift a go-kart, your tires get worn out really quickly. If you’ve ever seen an F1 car locking up, you’ll have heard that the loss of grip is tremendous. So, imagine what happens when you drift a kart; the rear tires get obliterated, and you lose much of your grip, which will make you slower.
However, if you’re racing on drifting karts, you should go ahead and drift as much as you can since this is how you’ll be faster than your opponents. But, in regular go-karts braking correctly for a corner will help you gain some valuable seconds.
- Learn to use the brakes efficiently
When it comes to braking, a lot of novices think that it’s bad for speed. And, that’s partially true. If you brake way too early for a corner, you’ll lose all your momentum, and you’ll be passed by every other driver.
But, this is why you should learn how to use your brakes efficiently. This means that you’ll need to know when and how to brake. I recently talked a lot about go-kart braking , so I won’t go too in-depth about it here.
The basics of braking efficiently are simple. You’ll need to focus on braking smoothly on the straights. There are certain corners that will require you to brake while you’re turning. In such cases, you should apply light pressure on the brake pedal so that you don’t lock up your wheels.
Generally, as long as you brake on the entry of a corner and start accelerating after the apex without losing the rear end, you’ll be miles ahead of your opponents. You should also look for particular points on the track, which will help you remember where the braking points are. But, this has to do a lot with the racing lines you should follow. Speaking of which…
- Learn the different lines on a track
You’ll always hear about the optimal racing line when you start karting more professionally. However, many drivers forget to mention the other karting lines that you can take.
The optimal racing line is the one that you should follow when you’re going for the fastest lap. It’s the ideal way to take every corner so that you lose as little momentum as possible. Basically, the racing line is the shortest (read fastest) way to go around the track.
That’s all well when it comes to qualifying for a race, but it gets more complicated when it comes to the actual race. Apart from the optimal racing line, there are the inner and outer racing lines.
The outer racing line is the one that allows you to keep most of your go-kart’s momentum, but you have to take turns wider. As a result, you’ll go slower since you’ll take a longer way around the track.
The inner racing line is the exact opposite of the outer one. You’ll have to achieve much lower speeds, but it’s the actual shortest way to go around the track.
As you race on a track, you might find different racing lines that suit you best. The key is to memorize all of them so that you can utilize that knowledge when it comes to overtaking your opponents. And, speaking of your opponents.
- Learn to pass your opponents
This is by far the most difficult thing to understand when it comes to go-kart racing. Unless you’re the fastest one on the grid, you’ll have to overtake some drivers when you’re racing. Many drivers usually go down the inside line hoping that the opponent doesn’t turn in, putting both drivers at risk.
There’s no correct way to pass an opponent. But, you should always look for a gap that the opponent has left and keep an eye on their kart simultaneously. From my experience, if the driver has left the outside line open, I’ll try to overtake them from there while I always keep an eye on where they are compared to me.
In reality, the only legal way to pass your opponent is to be faster than them. To do that, you’ll need to follow a better line than them, so you’ll have to brake late and accelerate early without spinning out. One way that usually works for me is a dummy overtake from the outside. I make the opponent think I’ll overtake from the outside, but I actually dive on the inside.
These are all the tips I have for now. Hopefully, the more I get into the professional karting world, the more tips I can give you. Don’t forget to have fun on the track, even if you don’t come in first place!
Stay tuned for more articles just like this one!
FAQs For Winning Your Next Go-Kart Race
How do you win a Go-Kart race every time?
Unfortunately, no tips can guarantee that you win a race every time. But, if you follow all the tips I mentioned above, you have a pretty high chance of always chasing a podium finish.
How do I get better at go-karting?
Practice makes perfect. By practicing regularly, you’ll get better at go-karting in no time. If you use some of the tips I gave you, you’ll become much better at go-kart racing as well.