How to Win Your Go Kart Races
Are you tired of your same buddy always bragging after winning the race? Maybe you want to impress that special someone by showing off your mad racing skills? Whatever your reason, we’re here to help you up your racing game. Today we’re going to discuss some tips and ideas that will help you drive faster and navigate the track better. We will also identify some very common mistakes that most newer (and even some experienced) drivers tend to make, which might be slowing you down.
1. Be a Smooth Operator
We understand you want to go fast, Shake-n-Bake style, like Ricky Bobby. But you also need to be in control of your kart, especially when you are coming into tight turns or on a more crowded track. The best way to maintain control throughout is by driving smoothly, continuously through your race. By steering smoothly, you’ll be more likely to take optimal angles and lines across the track. This also means not waiting until the last minute to apply the brakes, but rather starting a little earlier so you can handle turns like a pro. Speaking of braking…
2. Brake Like a Pro
Generally speaking, you’ll want to brake when you’re going in a straight line. When brakes are applied while turning, it makes it much more likely that your tires will lose traction quicker and easier. This can slow you down much more than you think. And don’t think you need to race into every turn at full speed like a maniac either. As stated above, control is the name of the game, so start applying your brakes early before that actual turn, so that you’re able to fully release them and accelerate through and out of it. You’ll be surprised how much quicker you can race when doing this.
3. Don’t Lean In
Although it might feel natural, don’t lean into turns as you approach them. Leaning in will position your weight over the inside turning wheels, which is exactly what you want to avoid! This makes it harder to straighten out when you come out of the turn and will slow you down. Instead, keep your body centered over the middle of the kart, and then you can even lean out a bit as you’re coming out of the turn. Always try to accelerate fully in a straight line after a turn.
4. Use the Entire Track
The wider you approach a turn, the easier it is to come close to the apex. The closer you are, the faster you can handle the turn and continue on your way. This is why you’ll see the best racers using the entire track as they race as well. There’s no need to stay hugged to one side the entire time. Using the entire track will help you go faster, drive smoother, and race more efficiently. As you get more familiar with the track, you’ll begin to see the most optimal lines to take around each bend and stretch. All of this will help you win your go kart races and be the coolest guy or girl in town.
5. Drifting and Sliding Isn’t As Cool As It Looks
Yes, it looks badass in movies, but unfortunately that doesn’t translate into the real world of racing, especially with go karts. If your kart begins to drift or slide, that means your wheels are losing their traction and grip to the track. Not only do you begin to lose control, but it also slows you down like crazy. Ideally, you want to be right on the edge, maintaining the fastest speed you can, without losing your tire traction. This is why we recommend braking before the turn, so that as you enter the actual turn you can begin to accelerate again and then shoot past your competition as you come out of the turn.
6. Overtake and Pass Correctly
The reality is if you want to win your go kart race, you’re going to have to learn to pass other drivers. This is something that can take some practice as you get more comfortable on the track. Just like cornering, this should be done smoothly and efficiently. No need to be aggressive and possibly cause someone to get injured. Usually, you will want to attempt to pass someone on the inside of a corner. This will force your competitor out of the racing line while giving you a shorter distance to travel. Pointing your bumper to the inside when taking the corner will give you the inside racing line. Then make sure to accelerate out of the turn as quickly as possible to maintain the lead.
7. Avoid Collisions
This should go without saying, but don’t bump, or even worse- crash, into other drivers. These aren’t bumper karts, their high-speed racing go karts. You’ll also want to avoid hitting the barriers of the track too. Anytime you bump into another object, it’s going to slow you down. And even worse, it could cause damage to the karts or even injury to yourself or another driver.
8. Relax and Have Fun
And finally the most important tip – have fun! Keep your hands on the wheel at all times, but don’t grip it so tightly that your forearms are burning after a single race. You want to race in a focused, but relaxed and positive mood. After all, go kart racing is all about having fun. Avoid feeling angered or stressed, as that will cause you to overthink things and/or make poor decisions on the track. Be competitive, but not over aggressive. Because at the end of the day, the racers who can drive most efficiently are the ones usually winning their races. So take a deep breath, have a laugh, and then get out there and win your next race! And if you want to up the ante even more, try Combat Karting, where you get to battle your competitors MarioKart-style. This adds a whole new dimension to the race.