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The Karting Classroom - Understanding The Racing Line

Updated: Jun 5, 2023

If your looking to beat the track record or perhaps you're simply wanting to smash your personal best, whatever your reasons for wanting to go that little bit quicker, nailing the proper racing line is fundamental to a faster lap. Unlocking lap time is about looking at the track and working out what lines you have to take.


Here's a fun fact: to have a fast lap time, you don't need to rush at every corner. It's about smoothly driving through a combination of corners. You may speed through one corner super-fast, but if it makes you go slower on the next one, then it will take you longer to finish your lap.


THE RACING LINE

The racing line is like the secret path on a track that will give you the fastest lap time. While everyone has their favorite way to drive, there are some key points that stay the same.


There are four main points to remember:

  1. The braking point: This is when you stop accelerating and start braking. Different corners need different braking points. Look for special markers on the track or wall to remind you when to start braking.

  2. The turn-in point: This is when you start to turn your steering wheel into the corner. Just like the braking point, find a marker that reminds you when to do this.

  3. The apex: This is when your kart is closest to the inside of the corner. To be a great racer, you need to understand the apex.

  4. The exit point: This is when you finish the corner and start thinking about the next one. You might also be able to speed up here!

All these points are important, but the trick is to connect them smoothly to master the racing line.


KARTING TECHNIQUES

Every track has three main types of corners: sharp corners, long fast corners, and complexes, which are a group of corners close together. Each of these needs a different approach.


The goal for long, fast corners is to try and reduce the angle of the corner as much as possible, which keeps your kart moving faster and in a straighter line.


For sharp corners, you want to get around the apex quickly before speeding off.


Complexes need a unique approach because they have multiple corners close together.


HOW TO FIND THE RACING LINE

To explain, let's use a simple right-hand turn as an example:

  1. As you get closer to the corner, move your kart to the left side of the track. This makes the turn less sharp.

  2. Look for your marker, then either brake or let off the accelerator to slow down.

  3. When you reach the turn-in point, turn the steering wheel to the right. Don't use your brake here and try not to accelerate too much to avoid spinning out.

  4. Once you've reached the apex, you can speed up a bit to move your kart towards the exit point.

MASTERING A CHICANE

A chicane is a special kind of corner where one turn follows another really quickly. To navigate a chicane, you want to hit the apex of the first bend, then move across the track for the second part of the bend before speeding towards the exit point.


THE RACING LINE THROUGH A HAIRPIN

Hairpins are U-shaped bends and can really affect your lap time. The trick here is to brake late, turn in and get around the apex as quickly and as tightly as possible, while still keeping your speed up.


HOW TO GO AROUND BENDS FAST IN A GO KART

  1. Find the Racing Line – This is the best path that will help you keep your speed up and zoom out of the other side of the corner.

  2. Brake Straight – Don't brake while turning as you might spin out. Instead, brake while your kart is straight, then turn into the corner at a slower speed.

  3. Keep it Smooth – Sudden braking or swerving can make you lose speed.

  4. Speed up after the Apex – Once you've passed the apex, you have a straighter path to speed up out of the corner.

  5. Get faster over time – As you get better, try to increase your speed gradually.

And remember, practice makes perfect!


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