Home Forums General Karting Discussion Good or Bad for Karting?

This topic contains 23 replies, has 16 voices, and was last updated by  John Barthelmass 3 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #52171

    David Armstrong
    Participant
  • #52172

    Jim Derrig
    Participant

    Unfortunately, the headline and most of the article fails to explain the reason for Fittipaldi’s opinion, which is found in the very last line:
    “A formula car is much heavier than a go-kart and it takes a longer time to move it,” he added. “You need more space; there is a different dynamic.”And this transition, [the drivers] have to understand and respect.”
    This statement is true and has nothing to do with what the headline implies, which is that karting does not teach good racing skills.  Indeed, the comments below the article are filled with the usual twaddle by no-nothings who seem to think the problem is an F3 car is a big step up in performance, when actually its a step down in everything but top speed.  The drivers are used to the hair-trigger handling of a kart, but now they’re piloting a machine with more top speed and carrying more kinetic energy, but which is less responsive in turning and braking.

    That said, I also have to think that the amount of contact allowed in karting, without penalty, has encouraged the type of racing behavior that’s led to the accidents in F3 this year.

  • #52178

    Greg Wright
    Participant

    I read that article a few days ago and there’s no way that it could be considered good for karting. Unfortunately to some extent Emmo is correct, contact is rampant in kart racing and the higher the level the rougher it is.

    I’ve heard too many “coaches” encourage young drivers to bash their way through the pack and the roughness and lack of respect is being carried over when they move to a different category. Kart racers are being taught methods that can’t be used in a “higher” category and that’s what we get as a sport by allowing it to continue.

    Greg Wright
    Rapid Racing Inc.
    Vintage B-Stock Pilot
    "When in doubt Gas it, It won't help but it ends the suspense."

  • #52181

    Anonymous

    Greg, you make some good points. I watched some videos of the Summer Nats expecting to see some great racing. Unfortunately, I saw a lot of beating and banging, blocking, and diving. There definitely was some great racing and driving, but it was scattered at best. For “the best drivers in the country,” I was pretty disappointed.

  • #52183

    Greg Wright
    Participant

    Derek, I want to emphasize that modern sprint kart racing in particular DOES produce some really intense racing. I must have watched some of the same videos and the beating and banging was pretty intense.

    It also appeared that the predominant passing technique was to knock the guy in front of you too deep into the corner and pass them. The good old fashioned “bump and run” method.

    If kart racing intends to continue to be a “stepping stone” (Damn I hate that term) then this type of racing needs to get a new mindset. Of course I’m the one that always felt that kart racing should be a sport that can stand on its own merits.

    I know that some will take the following statement as being against safety improvements but WTH. Over the last 10-15 years sprint karts have become high performance “bumper cars” with all the plastic these days. Has this stepped up the rough driving due to the minimal penalty incurred?

    Yes, yes it has.

    Greg Wright
    Rapid Racing Inc.
    Vintage B-Stock Pilot
    "When in doubt Gas it, It won't help but it ends the suspense."

  • #52380

    Chris Jennings
    Participant

    I think the amount of contact has gone up since the new full rear bumper rule came into play.  Less consequences = more contact.  If you increase the chances that contact will end your race just as much as the person you are planning to shove out of the way then there will be less contact.  IMO

    It is also a matter of experience, respect and race craft.  You generally see good respectful racing towards the front of the field and the further back you go the uglier it gets.  It’s generally the local/regional level racers trying to make their way into the national level scene and are probably used to this kind of racing at their local level.

    Or they drive like a European and think that swerving at you on the straightaway is acceptable.   :/

     

    If you make it towards the front of the pack and drive like an a-hole, chances are you will be dealt with like an a-hole.  Once you learn this lesson, you tend to make smarter decisions.

  • #52386

    Frank Cire
    Participant

    They should never have mandated bodywork in karting to prevent wheel to wheel contact.  Side, front and rear pods are nothing more than bumpers allowing rough driving without any penalty to the aggressor.  Better to have nerf bars inside of the wheel base protecting the driver against intrusion during an accident but leaving all four wheels exposed.

  • #52404

    Greg Wright
    Participant

    Like I said Frank, they have become high performance bumper cars.

    Greg Wright
    Rapid Racing Inc.
    Vintage B-Stock Pilot
    "When in doubt Gas it, It won't help but it ends the suspense."

  • #52427

    Rob Howden
    Keymaster

    These are all interesting point, guys. I’ve often wondered something….can we undo the affect to driving standards by getting rid of the rear bumper ad penalizing heavy for contact from the rear? Or…have we opened Pandora’s box and it will be solely the responsibility of strict race penalties that will clean up the sport?

    I know that most people have zero desire to be a Race Director, but I’d love to try it for a weekend event. I think I’ve been in the sport long enough to be the right level of cynical. I feel that I’d drop the hammer pretty hard to get my position made and clean up the racing. Anyone else feel this way?

    Rob Howden - eKartingNews.com Publisher / Editor - @RobHowden

  • #52428

    Greg Marlow
    Participant

    Rob-

    The racing needs to be cleaned up.  When I race I dont mind some bump drafting, but if it leads to being bumped out of the way then there is a problem.  I think most of the issues are with people that dont have enough experience though.  I cant remember the last time I saw someone penalized for rough driving.

  • #52455

    Greg Wright
    Participant

    Give it a shot Rob, you couldn’t do much worse than what’s already going on. A little tough love and the removal of some “rubber baby buggy bumpers” might get the sport back on the right track. Or maybe not.

    Greg Wright
    Rapid Racing Inc.
    Vintage B-Stock Pilot
    "When in doubt Gas it, It won't help but it ends the suspense."

  • #52458

    Dennis Chappell
    Participant

    I know this is all together different kind of racing (road racing) but. We have been road racing (only)the last 4 to 5 years plus RIGP and our karts have always finished each year as clean as we started the year. This has been with some of the closest racing you will ever see, on the edge of your seat racing. Last lap last corner three wide photo finishing is common.

    The respect for the 100+mph racing is something to see on these tracks. We just returned from our first sprint race in some time and sorry to say I don’t miss it one bit.

    I know this type of racing is not for everyone but we do not worry about all the crazy driving that sprint racing has. Something has to be done and soon or there will be even less people interested in sprint racing.

     

  • #52460

    Mark Traylor
    Participant

    delete

  • #52468

    Paul Hir
    Participant

    I think the better comment/headline,Poor F3 driving standards stem from video games. Because video games defiantly foster sloppiness, I have reaced for many years and played Gran Turismo Rfactor ect.. the dirtiest driving has always been playing video games.

  • #52479

    Chris Jennings
    Participant

    I think it’s both bodywork and race directing.  I remember NTK being very strict on penalties back in my early days and it shaped my mindset that someone is always watching.  Not all calls are perfect, BUT that is even more reason to make sure you leave no reason for doubt on the table when you decide to make a questionable move.   Never one single answer but officiating is a good start.

  • #52508

    Tom Grisham
    Participant

    The real issue is consistency.  Unfortunately, a Race Director can’t see the whole track or all passes throughout the pack.  Often he/she then relies on corner workers, not all of which judge good and bad behavior by the same standard.  The end result is inconsistency.  We race at club, regional and national level events and see the inconsistencies throughout.  I don’t suspect any one person can just fix it, either consistently or permanently.

    Race directors typically threaten a strong hand but usually do not follow up.  After a while the drivers assume it is just more words they are hearing at the drivers’ meeting.  Then, when an effort is actually made to “crack down,” more inconsistencies seem to arise, leading to arguments, bad will, complaining, unsportsmanlike conduct, etc.  Typically the situation goes back to “normal” at the next race with the drivers self-policing and only the most obvious and clear violations being penalized.

    We started with narrow rear bumpers and raced them in the cadet classes with no issues, despite a wide range of experience, ability and aggression on the track.  My vote would be to go back to them.  Otherwise, I feel the most consistent (and thereby arguably the best) approach is to continue to let the drivers self-police, with only clear, obvious and egregious violations that were witnessed by an EXPERIENCED track professional being reprimanded.

  • #52524

    Barry Hastings
    Participant

    Take the bumpers off for cleaner racing…

     

    Of coarse its easier said than done.  The over penalization of any and alcontact would be pretty bad as well.

  • #52849

    Anonymous

    I’ve suggested it before, I will suggest it again…  We all have $300.00 transponders on our karts that we are required to show up to the grid charged and in working order.  Work with GoPro or some other organization to come up with a “standard” BASIC video recording device, strictly mandate it’s mounting position, mandate that it’s up to the driver to ensure it charged, turned on, and ready to go, and make sure it’s $300 or less, just like the current transponder.  It doesn’t need all the bells and whistles of the modern GoPro; no need for HD, or stereo sound, or slow motion, etc (all of which should save money and make more reliable by not having, IE, don’t make it a TOY).  Have a very simple to use on/off switch, a bright, flashing light that indicates it ON.  Dumb it down, just like the transponder.  Build it into an indestructible case.

    No more arguing over who hit who.  Have a protest?  Gather up all video and review. And yes, this will take some officials time at the event to review the video.  Just like it takes the RD’s time now to listen to arguments over events on the track that he/she didn’t even see.  With the “goal” being to improve driving behavior, OVER TIME, one could conclude there will be less contact, because you can’t get away with it, so over time, there  will be fewer protests, taking less time to review videos.

    Probably more reliable than having humans standing in corners trying to keep an eye on 30 karts going flat out in turn one.  Probably less expensive than hiring “more” humans to stand in more corners.

    Have a protest?  Didn’t have your camera on?  No problem:  DQ.  No excuses, no exceptions.

    And yes, it’s asking the karter to spend yet even MORE money…  I remember WAY back in the day, racing with SCCA, when they scored 50 car fields by HAND up in the tower, and we all threw a fit when they wanted us to buy transponders…  in the grand scheme of things, it really didn’t change anyone’s financials when it came to spending $$$ on racing.

    It’s just my humble opinion, and we’ve only been racing karts for a mere 10 years, so we are still newbies…  but I really think this is a viable solution worth looking into.

    Thinking about ramming the guy in front of you for 17th place?  Just remember, you’ve got that camera on the front of your kart, recording it all…

     

     

  • #52850

    Greg Wright
    Participant

    How would the video determine if the trailing driver rammed the leading driver or was he brake checked?

    Greg Wright
    Rapid Racing Inc.
    Vintage B-Stock Pilot
    "When in doubt Gas it, It won't help but it ends the suspense."

  • #53170

    Pete Muller
    Participant

    Well, as good a thread as any to express these opinions…

    To put my take in perspective, realize I started kart racing in 1975.

    Without exception, it’s my opinion that 3 things have taken karting to where it is today:

    1) Sticky tires

    2) Bodywork

    3) Attempting to make it (or call it) a “stepping stone to big-time racing”

    All three of the above have made karting more complicated, more expensive, reduced track time, turned it into a bash-fest, and generally put it out of reach to the “average guy” wanting to go racing.

    I was *heavily* involved in the sport during the time when the above 3 items happened or became prominent, and they took karting so far away from its original intent, it’s really sad.

    Sticky tires not only increased tire costs by 10x per season, they also dramatically decreased the *effective* width of the track, and significantly reduced length of any braking zone (greater traction for braking, and higher corner speeds).  End result? — more expense, and less close racing.

    Bodywork added labor, cost and complexity to building/preparing a kart, and turned sprint karts into bumper cars (and enduro karts into heavier karts that went faster on the straights but were way less fun to drive).

    And finally, attempting to turn karting into something it’s not (a “stepping stone” to whatever) did one thing:  Add Cost.  The people with exceptional talent will make it to big-time racing if they work at it hard enough, with or without karting being a “stepping stone”.  Also, heavy promotion costs money, high-profile costs money, advertising costs money, and karting never was or will be a spectator sport — who pays these costs? (it only takes 1 guess).   “Selling” karting as a “shortcut” to big-car racing does absolutely nothing for 99% of the people at the event (except empty their wallet).

    I lived and raced through the changes in our sport, and saw what the results were.  My view is not only from the inside (karting), but I was also involved in motorcycle racing (and car racing as a mechanic) at a variety of levels.

    Pete

    • #53322

      David Armstrong
      Participant

      Your 3 things well noted, Pete.  I too started in 1975.  I remember you and truck loads of west coast competitors coming to the IKF Grand Nationals at Jacksonville in 1979.

      My question now to the experienced people like yourself is “Can this mind set be reversed?”  If the answer is no, is it time for the non stepping stone, doing it for fun, old guys, to find another hobby?  Yes I said hobby!

  • #53342

    Pete Muller
    Participant

    Reverse it?  Personally, I don’t feel that’s possible.  Probably the main reason is that the number of years that the majority of racers have been in the sport has declined by a significant amount.  When we got into the sport, it “seemed” like the vast majority of people had already been racing for many years — I’d have to guess something around 5-10 years in the sport was typical.

    I believe that number has declined significantly (for the “majority” of racers).  That makes “selling” the idea of taking the sport back to simpler and less-expensive times a difficult sell.  People jump in and out much quicker these days (and have for the past 15 years or so).  They get enthused about the image, the speed, the cutting edge “stuff”, and by the time it hits home that this is really expensive and complicated, they are probably on their way out of the sport.

    Vintage racing has some great attributes, but I see it as more of a “show” and “demonstration event” in some ways (though there are admittedly some people that take it pretty seriously).

    I have some ideas on the direction I would take it “technically”, but once again, this is a tough sell.  I’m not optimistic.

    I will say one thing — I had direct-drive Yamaha kart for a number of years:  hardest Bridgestone tires available, no bodywork (nerf bars and front bumper only), very very simple.  It would lap a typical 45 second sprint track maybe 1 or 2 seconds slower than a fully modern setup on sticky tires with bodywork and clutch.  Without exception, everyone that ever drove it came back with a huge grin and said:  “this is what karting should be” (especially after I told them that my total cost to play with it for about 20 days at the track was a fraction of what they spent on one race weekend).

    Got any ideas David?

     

    Pete

    • #53375

      David Armstrong
      Participant

      Unfortunately, I have no ideas.  I’m just an old guy who enjoyed a hobby.

  • #53388

    John Barthelmass
    Participant

    Out here on the west coast, an organization called F-100 Karters are making inroads toward simplifying and bringing back a lot of the recreational aspects of karting.

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