Home Forums General Karting Discussion Ask TJ Reply To: Ask TJ

TJ Koyen

Hey Jim,

Thanks a lot! To be honest we were hoping to finish the season better but we’ll take it.

And thanks for giving me something to talk about haha.

First question regarding motors: I would say it depends. I know that I have had both situations. I have run for teams where I owned all my engines and I have run for teams where engines were supplied to “team drivers” that were “proven”. Guess it depends on what class and what team you’re driving for/working with.

Second question regarding tuners: I don’t know, I would say I’m your average guy who has been in the sport 10 years or so (2015 will be my 13th year) and me and my dad have always done the tuning to our kart. Anyone can read up on tuning and go test for hours on end and get the same knowledge base as the paid tuners who work for the teams. There are some REALLY knowledgeable guys out there who go above and beyond just spinning wrenches that are worth spending the money on to have them work for you. Guys that will give you chassis advice, driving advice, engine advice all in one place are pretty valuable. I think you’ll find most of the good tuners who are wrenching for teams ARE guys who have been around the sport for many years who were once serious wheelmen themselves. I wrenched this past year at a regional series for a really great young driver and had a ton of fun. A lot of the national drivers work for other people on their off-weekends.

Third question: Almost any kart can be driven to the front by a competent driver. There are karts that handle differently or work differently, sure, but if you took 10 different brand kart frames, painted them black, and laid them up against the wall next to each other, it would be hard to tell much difference between the geometries from 5 feet away. Having gained some experience on different brands over the past few years, I can say that each of the 4 brands I drove for in the past 3-4 years all were capable of running up front, and we did so on each brand. But the Merlin has a different feel than the ART which feels different than the OTK product. I felt like all season last year on the ART we had a shot to win at every race, until my ribs would inevitably pop at some point during the weekend. The Exprit we had before that also kept us up front all season. And the Merlin before that gave me a couple Grand National wins so I think that one probably worked well too. Just like there are tons of driving styles out there, there are also a few different ways that karts work to get around a corner too. Some karts are very front end positive and need a stiff front bar because they do all their work on entry. They turn in great and then spring off the corner. Some karts aren’t as twitchy on turn-in, but are softer and will roll more speed through apex and roll off the corner more freely. I’ll let you test and figure out which kart does which! It’s true that maybe one driver prefers a kart over another, as it suits his driving style better.

Hope that helps or at least gives you something to chew on.

Driver/Coach/Wrench : Innovative Performance/Exprit
Owner : Oktane Visual - www.oktanevisual.com