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5 Mistakes That All Novice Karters Make

Learning the ropes in karting? Let us guide you through the most common pitfalls so that you can nail those lap times.

There are few sports as thrilling as karting. It’s fun whether you’ve been once, or hundreds of times, and part of the thrill is being allowed and encouraged to go as fast as you can – something that's very rare these days!

Driving a kart, however, is very different to driving your everyday car, and there are some common mistakes which will hinder your speed. Avoid these traps and you’ll be sure to beat your friends – or even create a solid base on which to build your motor racing career.

  1. Moving your hands on the wheel

Unlike in a car, karts have very sensitive steering, so keep your hands at the ‘quarter to three’ position at all times and don’t let go. Not only will this give you more precise control over the kart, but you‘ll be able to react to slides much faster.

  1. Braking too softly

Kart brakes act on the rear wheels only, meaning braking like you do in a road car simply won’t work. The best way to brake in a kart is the opposite to on the road: you should hit the brakes hard initially so they almost lock, then as you get closer to the apex of corner, gradually and smoothly release them. For more advanced drivers, try researching ‘trail braking’ to help you find those last few tenths.

  1. Turning in too early

One common thing you often see from both novices and more experienced drivers is turning into corners too early. If you find yourself sliding wide on a  corner exit, or you think you are losing speed out of the corners, try slowing the kart down a bit more before you turn and aim for a later apex. If you get the entry right, you should be able to accelerate at the apex of the corner without running wide at the exit.

  1. Not using all the track

The track is defined by the white lines and kerbs. You are allowed to use as much of the road as you like, so utilise every centimetre to go faster. The wider you can make each corner by being at the circuit’s edge on entry and exit, and getting right on the apex, the easier it will be to carry more speed.

  1. Steering too aggressively

In a kart, precision is the key to being fast, and being smooth makes this much easier. A lot of inexperienced drivers will turn the steering wheel sharply, causing the front to slide – this is known as understeer, and the kart will feel as if it wants to go in a straight line. When turning a kart, apply the steering smoothly and gradually so you don’t surprise it. Imagine there is a cup of water in the kart that you don’t want to spill. See how smoothly Jenson Button turns into the corners in the GIF below? That’s what you’re aiming for!

Source:  RedBull