March 16, 2017 at 10:24 am #79327
This is kind of a hard question to ask but here goes. After doing some practicing, my cornering feels really fast. It is a very smooth arc, it feels like a perfect semi-circle, I don’t know how else to describe it. A lot of times I run out of traction in the front or barely have enough when I get on the gas in mid corner (after the weight shifts). I understand the next level is more on the edge with constant counter-steering adjustments. Is this right or am I way off?March 16, 2017 at 12:04 pm #79328
I’m no expert. But there is some very recent advice out there from some of the best that I’ve shared below, where you’ll find one very important and consistent talking point – minimizing the steering inputs…
From David Cole’s latest On-Track article:
“One piece of input that Boswell had for me was to slow my hands down and provide less input into the wheel. He compared me to driving a dirt car, turning the wheel multiple times through a corner rather than a consistent, smooth process from entry to apex to exit.”
From David Sera’s latest Deadly Kart newsletter:
“To be a smooth driver, you need to be aware of the steering inputs you are making and ensure it’s minimal on flowing corners. This will enable the kart to grip to its full potential and your mistakes will be minimal.
When holding the steering wheel, a 9-3 hand placement is the safest option. Also straighter arms when sitting in the kart will minimise the inputs placed on the wheel.”
I’d suggest it’s easiest to understand how this applies on a real fast (no lift) corner, where most of us at some point have added too much steering input and caused the kart to suddenly transfer weight, turn violently, and scrub huge speed, etc.
Where it’s harder to really understand for the less experienced guys (and even seasoned guys like me have a hard time applying it) is probably on the slow, tight corners. In order to get around these corners, you need to get the correct amount of steering input combined with good timing thereof, especially on initial turn-in, to get the kart to jack and unload the inside rear tire properly, or else the kart won’t handle properly, often leading to chasing chassis setup, when the handling issues are actually due to bad driving. Too much input, and you get loose… too little, you push. Beyond that point, you want to remove steering input very smoothly. Basically, it’s a fast, but smooth initial turn-in (get the kart to jack), followed by a very smooth and consistent removal of steering input (allowing the kart to roll around the corner and to settle the rear back down smoothly without robbing horsepower), while also being mindful of when you get back on the throttle (if it’s too early and with too much steering input still applied, you’ll scrub speed). For a slower corner, minimizing input doesn’t necessarily mean that the steering input is the same throughout the entire corner (feeling like a perfect semi-circle might not really be best), rather that the process is very smooth right from the transition from straight to initial turn-in, on to the removal of steering input.
The reality is that without any visual of what you’re experiencing and not knowing the profile of the corner(s) you’re talking about, it’s nearly impossible to say whether your traction issues are driver-induced (poor steering, braking, throttle inputs, or line selection), or chassis-induced, or some combo thereof.
However, in my experience, as well as based on the advice above, I would disagree completely with your idea that you want to be constantly counter-steering.March 16, 2017 at 12:51 pm #79333
If you’re pushing coming off the turn try narrowing the front track width.
FAA certified jet engine and aircraft technician,
Nicholson Speedway class champion 2001,
Yamaha KT100 Service Center,
41 years karting experience
March 17, 2017 at 12:49 pm #79387
- This reply was modified 1 week, 5 days ago by Walt Gifford.
Rob- I am doing what the article says. Somehow at Sonoma I got a really well setup Kart for me. I was giving very little steering input and great weight transfer. Part of it was the seat was a perfect fit. But I watched a youtube video with a Kart pro with an onboard camera and also a accelerometer analysis of Shumacher’s driving. Their tires are on the edge of traction. The tire would break free and they would do a small quick counter steer so the tire would catch again. Schumacher’s steering looked like a jagged line. But it is also hard to tell in the pro Karter onboard video if these were just bumps translating into the steering wheel. But I think there is something to this.March 18, 2017 at 8:46 am #79419
I think the best driving style for anyone depends a lot on the physical talents they have. If you have Schumacher-like talent, you can likely go faster by being slightly “over the edge”, which is what I think you were describing. For the rest of us, backing off a bit will pay better dividends! Not to mention less crashes…
Bill MMarch 20, 2017 at 7:19 am #79466
There shouldn’t be any counter-steering. You should be putting in an input, holding it until you feel the chassis load up, and then basically straightening your hands out at apex and letting the chassis unwind off the corner. That’s a really basic way to put it, but that’s how you drive a modern kart.
Contemporary kart chassis have tons of grip and mechanical weight jacking. Any touch of the wheel results in a very abrupt change in weight distribution and front end geometry. Moving the wheel as little as possible is the goal. And of course, then you have to take into consideration each individual corner. Every corner has different pavement transitions, grip levels, bumps, cracks, radii, widths etc. Some corners require more aggressive input and some require less. Here’s a video of me at a SKUSA Pro Tour (national-level) race a few years ago, where you can see my hands: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsokNeq_gXE
Driving quickly is about managing all your inputs and coordinating them with what you’re feeling from the tires to use all traction available at all times.
I’ve been trying to post this for a few days but my account was messed up…
Driver/Coach/Wrench : Innovative Performance/Exprit
Owner : Oktane Visual - www.oktanevisual.com
March 20, 2017 at 4:33 pm #79499
- This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by TJ Koyen.
Best advice I got when I was a kid just starting to race. “Keep the steering wheel as straight as possible as much as possible”.March 21, 2017 at 5:36 am #79511
A Schumacher video won’t provide a whole lot of help. It’s so old that the chassis designs have changed, and the driving style is too advanced for a beginning driver.
As far as line goes, if it feels like a perfect arc, you’re probably apexing too early. In general, the apex of your turn should be later, so that you can get on the gas sooner and utilize more of the straight after the turn.
For the grip issue, along with changing your driving, it seems like the kart may be binding up and keeping the inside rear wheel on the ground. If this is the case, you may want to narrow the front track width.
As far as driving goes, counter-steering is always bad. Any time you turn in the opposite direction you scrub speed from the kart, slowing down. You want to focus on being smooth with your steering inputs, and only having to make two movements through a turn: turning in and straightening out. Driving on the limit, it’s not easy, but the more seat time you put in the more comfortable it will feel and naturally it will come.March 22, 2017 at 11:56 am #79598
It really comes from Rental Kart racing where I am on the edge and hitting my lines well, and then someone sliding a lot and not following the racing line easily passes me. Or I look at track records and someone is a whole second faster and I am, and I am trimming tenths. Feedback like “they are just a better driver” is not satisfying. I weigh 218 (going down) so it just may be simply weight, and when I lose it, the mystery will be solved. Still, in one of the chicanes, someone who said they were a kart racer, was quickly turning left just before turning right into the S. This looks like a technique I want to try and see if it works on this particular corner. Maybe I just have a intense curiosity other people don’t.March 22, 2017 at 12:31 pm #79599
It really comes from Rental Kart racing where I am on the edge and hitting my lines well, and then someone sliding a lot and not following the racing line easily passes me. Or I look at track records and someone is a whole second faster and I am, and I am trimming tenths. Feedback like “they are just a better driver” is not satisfying. I weigh 218 (going down) so it just may be simply weight, and when I lose it, the mystery will be solved. Still, in one of the chicanes, someone who said they were a kart racer, was quickly turning left just before turning right into the S. This looks like a technique I want to try and see if it works on this particular corner. Maybe I just have a intense curiosity other people don’t.
A little flick like you’re describing is a very valid technique in certain corners. Like I said, every corner requires something different. Generally, you want to keep the wheel as still as possible, but some quicker corners could require a quick flick of the wheel.
This is probably less prominent in actual competitive karting where the tires are softer and the karts are completely adjustable. In rental karts, often the kart isn’t set up completely perfect, the tires are old or harder, and it takes a little more aggressive driving style to get them to work properly. You have to throw around a rental kart a bit more. There’s more finesse to driving a proper kart probably.
Driver/Coach/Wrench : Innovative Performance/Exprit
Owner : Oktane Visual - www.oktanevisual.com
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