Archive for the ‘Contributors' Column’ Category


DATE: November 16, 2009

By Mikko Nassi,

Getting Started with Kart Data Logging

Data Download

This article covers the basics of kart data acquisition/data logging (why use it and what for), and goes over what karters should consider when purchasing their first data logging system. A large emphasis is placed on comparing the available systems. I won’t go into much detail about actually analyzing the data - that’ll come in later articles.

At almost any kart meeting you’ll notice that almost all the drivers have a digital dash on their steering wheel which typically shows them at least their lap times, their RPM (Engine Revolutions Per Minute), and an engine temperature (water or cylinder head).

You might feel that it’s a waste of money spending hundreds or thousands (depends on your currency really) on a timing system when you can have your mate time you with a stopwatch. The reason that so many people spend money on these systems is that even when used only to view lap times drivers already gain valuable feedback on their driving. When used to the maximum a data logging system can potentially improve your performance every single time you download and analyze the data!

Additionally other than improving performance a system can potentially save you money warning you of an imminent engine failure – if you see your temperature reading going excessively high you know something is wrong. More than a few engines have been saved when a water hose has come loose or a radiator has broken and the driver has been warned by his onboard dash.

Hopefully that’s already given you enough incentive to consider a data logging system if you don’t have one yet…

What does a data logging system consist of?

A basic entry level data-logging system usually records your laptimes, engine RPM, and engine temperature (water or cylinder head). These basic features can get you quite far already in data analysis, especially if you are able to download the data and review it on a laptop on the software provided with the logger.

The next options usually include a wheel speed sensor and a g-force sensor which are very useful tools in data analysis.

And some even more advanced sensor options available:

  • Additional wheel speed
  • Exhaust Gas Temperature/Lambda
  • GPS
  • Throttle
  • Brake
  • Steering
  • Tire Temperature
  • Tire Pressure
  • Power Valve

What are data loggers used for?

The most obvious benefit of using an onboard display is that it provides the driver with instant feedback on their kart and their driving. On the track the driver will receive instant feedback on his laptimes and will know immediately if a change in setup or driving has improved his laptime.

The driver will also know if there is something wrong with his engine or if he’s running the wrong gearing. If the temperature rises above normal levels he might be alerted to a broken water pump for example which otherwise could’ve resulted in an expensive engine repair bill. With the RPM information a driver will also know if he has gone out with too tall a gearing for example – he will be able to see instantly if he is over-revving the engine at the end of the straight and he can pit to change his gearing and save the engine.

Now that is only what the driver can see on the display when out on the track – with the data logging capabilities there is a lot more to be gained. The onboard systems aren’t only able to constantly display this information to the driver – but they are also able to constantly record this data (duh, that’s why they’re called data loggers).

Most karting data acquisitions systems log data at a rate of 10Hz (10 Hertz), which simply means that they are capable of recording data 10 times per second. This means that with the assistance of software to interpret the data you can plot graphs that display RPM or other values during your lap for every 10th of a second. The PI Research kart system has logging capabilities at 50Hz (50 times per second), which largely justifies its much higher price. You have to be very experienced to be able to take advantage of the added capabilities of the PI system.

RPM Graph

RPM-Distance Graph

The real beauty of data logging comes in comparing your data from one lap to another by overlaying the different laps’ data on the same graph. With just the RPM data you are able to see where you lost time and where you gained it. After a driving-style or setup adjustment you can review the data to see where it helped you gain time – or where it went wrong.

RPM Overlay

RPM-Distance Graph

Even better for driver improvement is comparing your lap to that of another driver on similar equipment. This is where the real gains are to be made especially for new drivers if you are able to find an experienced driver’s data to compare to. It will instantly become apparent where you are losing most of the time from driving technique and you can then focus on those sections by observing him on track to see what the faster driver is doing differently.

Which data logging system should you purchase?

Now that we’ve covered the very basics of data logging and what you can use it for, hopefully you’ve convinced yourself (or your dad) that you really do need to splurge a bit of your hard-earned cash for a data logging system. We’ll now go over what you should consider when choosing a system.

Now because we are talking about data logging, we won’t consider the lower-end models which only display data but don’t provide the possibility of downloading the data.

So the minimum capabilities we are looking for are:

  • display and log laptimes
  • display and continuously log RPM data
  • display and log engine temperature data
  • data must be downloadable

The big three karting data logging companies that offer products in the “affordable” price range are Alfano, MyChron (AIM), and Unipro. In addition to this there is PI-Research with their X-Kart system which is in a price point and performance level above the other three. We’ll go over what these different products offer.

The main considerations we will look at when considering the different loggers and models are:

Timing Method (Magnetic/Infra red/Loop)

Basic Functions available in the unit

So this means we will not look at the cheapest options such as the Alfano Fun or MyChron Light which offer only lap timing for example.

Timing Method

Alfano, MyChron, and Unipro all offer both magnetic and infra red timing options in all their models. However it is a consideration you have to make when purchasing the system. Judging from their online information PI Research only offer the infrared option, no reply was received via email when I asked them about this.

The systems have to be triggered at the start of each lap by either a magnet-strip in the track or by an infrared beacon that you place beside the track. The magnetic option is more convenient because you don’t have to remember to put your infrared beacon on the track and take it back at the end of the day - however the tracks you drive at must have a magnetic strip installed. If you know that all the tracks you are going to be driving at have the strip installed then there is no point choosing the infrared option as it is less convenient and more expensive as you have to purchase the beacon, so go with the magnetic sensor. If you are going to be at tracks without a magnetic strip then you have no option but to use the infrared method.

Unipro also has a “loop” option. Which uses a similar sensor to the magnet version. They recommend this as the most reliable option as it is less likely to suffer from vibrations. The problem however is that there has to be an active AMB timing loop on the track.

Now lets get down to more specific details of the different manufacturers and their models.


Alfano Displays
Models from Alfano which meet the minimum requirements (rpm, temp, timing) in order from cheapest to most expensive are the PRO V2, PRO+ LV, AStrO LV.

The PRO V2 offers the basic functions discussed earlier but with little room for expandability. All the sensors are compatible with the more expensive loggers so if you upgrade at least your rpm, temperature, and timing sensors will fit on your new system.

A huge drawback of the PRO V2 is its data logging capabilities. You have to put the display into a different mode if you want to record an RPM-trace of your laps, and you are extremely limited as it only records one session and for only a short session. I don’t recommend the PRO V2 if you’re interested in analyzing data beyond your laptimes. Additionally the PRO V2 only logs RPM data at 5hz compared to 10hz of the other Alfano displays. These drawbacks are the same on earlier PRO+ and PRO models which the V2 replaces.

Otherwise the PRO V2 is a robust system and good for the price if you aren’t interested in reviewing more than your laptimes and maximum rpm. It also offers 5 engine time counters, and it has warning functions for temperature and rpm.

The PRO+LV adds improved data recording as all data can be recorded at all times, and in addition to the basic functions you can also add several additional sensors: wheel-speed sensor, lambda sensor, power-valve sensor, and battery voltage sensor.

The ASTRO LV is the premier product in the Alfano karting range and offers the possibility of using a brake pressure sensor as well as a g-force sensor in addition to the sensors avbailable in the PRO+LV.

With Alfano to make a choice between the different models it is important to consider how much expandability and which sensors you will require when you purchase your first system. If for example you purchase the PRO+LV and in the future you want to add a G-Force sensor you have no choice but to purchase the Astro LV.

All alfano displays also have run-time counters for tracking engine usage.


Aim MyChron4
Aim adopts a useful strategy of a modular system in their MyChron4 data acquisition product – they have the basic functions in the display unit and additional functionality can be gained by purchasing additional add-on components. This way if you want to upgrade and start using a throttle sensor or additional temperature sensors you can use the same basic system and add-on an “eBox Extreme” for example.

Aim eBox Gold and Extreme (pictured) add functions
With the basic MyChron4 configuration you get the minimum functions that we discussed earlier – laptime, temperature, rpm, and the ability to download and analyze this data. It’s an affordable way to get into data logging and then easy to upgrade later.

The Aim DataKet adds convenience at the track
You are able to download the data onto your laptop directly or using a very useful datakey - a usb drive that can download the data so that you don’t have to have your laptop at the track or next to your kart when you get the data. You are able to review the lap data from all laps with RPM traces. The MyChro4 offers the best in-display review of your laps as you are able to view rpm traces for example on the display in the pits.

Expansion possibilities come in the form of expansion boxes: the eBox Gold and the eBox Extreme. These offer a myriad of additional sensor possibilities including a GPS capability to map your laps. One thing I don’t believe MyChron have yet is a powervalve sensor - the other three do. The MyChron 4 also has good engine and tyre use counters.


Unipro is always has two separate parts to its logger.
The main models to consider from Unipro are the 6002, 6003, 7002, and 7003. These are very nice systems that offer slightly limited expandability at the moment compared to the other options here. For example Unipro does not have a G-Force sensor option yet. It does offer enough options for some very serious data analysis and driver improvement. A nice thing about all the Unipro displays is that they have a separate logger-box which you mount under the nassau panel so you only have one wire going to the steering wheel. All the loggers offer engine run-time logging for 25 engines and tyre use counters for 8 sets of tyres.

The choice between the different unipro models boils down to two things: The different between the X002 models and X003 models is the display. The 7003 and 6003 displays are more configurable and offer more information when looking at the data in the pits than the X002 displays. You are able to run through nice graphical displays with your min/max rpm and speed from every lap for example. Otherwise the functions are very similar. The difference between the 700X and 600X displays is in the memory they have for logging data. The 700X can log data for close to 8 hours. Depending on the amount of inputs though the cheaper 600X version should get you about 2 hours - so you only need the 700X displays if you know you need data logging for long periods of time without download.

Please note however that Unipro is introducing several new sensors in the coming months. A g-force sensor along with other new sensors will be introduced. They are also introducing a new version of the PC Analyser program very soon.

Pi Research

Pi Research's X-Sport display is unique.
The PI Research X-Kart display can display pretty much the information as the others, but it adopts a bright LED rather than a digital display display, so it is less configurable and probably takes more time to get used to all the functions than the other displays because it can’t display everything in clear text like most of the digital displays can.

They also have a modular system in which you need to add a compact logger for basic logging functionality (speed, rpm, temp, etc.) and a Delta Clubman logger for many more advanced options. There is an endless amount of sensors you can use with the PI system. Two examples that aren’t available for the other systems are infrared tyre temperature sensors and tyre pressure sensors! As mentioned before the PI system has the expandability to greater logging rates, to 50hz for example with the Clubman logger and with more $$ even more is possible. Whether or not you need more than 50hz is another thing.

Backlighting on displays

This is for fairly specific use - if you drive your kart in dark conditions such as in nighttime races with poor lighting you will want to consider purchasing a system that can offer a display with a backlight. The MyChron 4 offers this option and the PI X-Kart Dash has bright LEDs to show information.

Which display?

I like them all! The Unipro is real simple to go through and configure, while the alfano is just slightly more tricky in my opinion. The MyChron seems very handy and the USB download is a really good feature. I’d have to try the PI X-Kart to form a proper opinion, however it does look bad-ass and the display looks clearly legible.

I have extensive experience of using the Alfano PRO and the Unipro 6003 and 6002. They have all been reliable systems, and I’ve liked all of them on the track, however for me the software is just as important as the functions of display/logger when choosing one, if not even more so.

Comparing the Data Acquisition Software

If your decision for your data logger was based solely on the display and peripherals the choice might be fairly difficult. All the displays are well built and all offer pretty good capabilities to read the data off them. Once you start downloading data and using the software to analyze your performance a critical aspect in your decision of which system to for for should also come down to how good the software is.

All the manufacturers have their own software to display and interpret the data. For linux and Max OSX users you are out of luck - you’ll have to be using Windows for your data logging analysis as this is the only operating system any of the companies make software for.

Aim Race Studio (MyChron)

Aim Race Studio 2

Unipro PC Analyser
Unipro Data Analyser

PI Club Expert Windows
Pi Club Expert Windows

Alfano VisualData
Alfano Visual Studio

We will look at and compare some key features of the different software: General Usability and Feel, Printing and Data Export, Comparison Graphs, Setup/Notes recording, and some important software features such as being able to view split times and overlays.

If you want to save your time and not read through the specifics: Aim Race Studio has very good software so you won’t go wrong. Next I prefer PI Club Expert and Unipro Analyser. Alfano Visual Data is the worst of the software packages. Software preference however is also largely down to the person using them so it’s best to try them for yourself as well. All 4 can be downloaded online at these pages and they all include sample laps:

Software Usability and Feel, and other additions:

Aim Race Studio 2 is easy to get a hang of. They also have fairly good documentation to help you get started and understand what you are able to do with the software. The general feel of the software is good. You don’t have to wait for anything to pop-up or appear. It’s easy to configure what you want to display - of the four programs the easiest and fastest to change what graphs you are displaying. All menu’s are simple to understand, and small images to bring up different reports quickly show a detailed explanation of the button when you mouse-over them. Aim adds a nice touch of being able to directly email your downloaded test file directly, rather than having to separately attach it in your email program. The others don’t offer this handy addition. It’s difficult to fault Aim Race Studio 2.

The general feel and usability of the Unipro software isn’t bad. After a bit of familiarization it is quite simple to do what you want, but some things such as selecting what to display on a graph are slightly cumbersome compared to Aim’s Race Studio. The info slide-outs on the left side for driver info and other data don’t disappear or appear very fluidly after you’ve opened them - and they don’t open with a click but rather just by hovering over them so they accidentally come in the way sometimes. It wasn’t immediately apparent that it was possible to click on part of the slide-outs to make the go away.

Unipro is hard at work on a new version of their software, and after trying an Alpha release of it for a while all my complaints have gone away - so hopefully soon Unipro software will be at the very top along with Aim Race Studio. (Update April 2009: Unipro does not yet have a fully functional version of their new software, so they are still behind in this area).

Alfano’s software is in my opinion the worst quite comfortably. It’s difficult to navigate around, and difficult to configure the graphs. Moving graphs around is annoying as you can’t have windows partially outside the main window - so you sometimes face problems moving one graph out of the way enough to get to another. I haven’t been able to figure out how to compare laps from two different downloads, which is a very big issue, although I expect it to be available somehow. It does still offer all the analysis options and after some familiarization I started to get a hang of it, so it’s not a complete loss, it just isn’t on par with the others. The software is a lot better than 5+ years ago, but it still has some way to go. It just is far too difficult to figure out simple things.

Unipro, PI, and Alfano software offer some form of simple kart setup recording. Particularly in the Unipro this is quite simple and intuitive to do and it also has the most options, and this will be further improved in their new software. Aim Race Studio doesn’t offer much in this regard other than kart name, driver name, comment. I personally prefer to not having all these options as it clutters the software a little bit at least in the Unipro Analyser, and there are other solutions to recording your software such as TrackTimer software or simply excel sheets and pen-and-paper - and add the critical information and changes into the comment fields available with all softwares. For simple use the Unipro setup recording is ok and might please many karters.

Overlays and Delta Time:

All 4 software options allow you to compare data by plotting two or more graphs on top of eachother. This is an absolutely critical aspect of data analysis. For example if you are able to put the speed traces from 2 laps on the same graph you are able to instantly see where the differences are.

Using an additional graph called delta-time you can see exactly where one lap loses time to the other lap.

Graph on Top Shows Delta-Time

Karting Delta Time Display

All the software versions have the Delta-Time function, also called Compare-Time. What it does is plots a graph of the difference in time of two laps - you can see a continuous plot of when one lap is faster or slower than another lap. This is one of the most useful features used in data logging software.

While all of the softwares can display delta-time, there are differences in how many overlays they can display. Luckily all softwares are at least adequate in this area. Alfano provides 3 at the most - this is suitable for most applications, although a few more to find general trends is useful. Pi allows you to plot 1, 2 or all laps from a session as does the new Unipro software with one additional compare-lap as well. Aim handles this very well allowing you to select from two sessions and more than enough laps per session.

Pi, Unipro, and Aim are all able to overlay laps from different sessions (separate downloads) - I wasn’t able figure this out with Alfano. This is a big oversight if it really isn’t possible.

Split times, Theoretical Lap and best Rolling Lap:

All have the option to display a list of all laptimes with their splits and also tell you the theoretical best lap. There is a bit of variance how many splits are possible with the different systems but they are all adequate for most users. It’s down to personal preference which solution of displaying the splits you like best.


It’s very important during data analysis to be able to zoom in and out of the graphs and then easily return to the standard view again. With Unipro it was quite easy to zoom into a specific section, although in their multi-graph view it wasn’t possible to zoom back to full view - this was an oversight and has been fixed for the new version due out soon, which also includes an additional useful magnifier option.

I don’t have any complaints on the zooming capabilities of the Alfano, Aim, and Pi software’s zooming capabilities.

Track Mapping

Getting a map of your track is useful to get a view of the track so you know exactly where you are as you are scrolling through the data, and to split the lap into section. One more functionality is to be able to overlay data on a map to get a visual representation.

All but the Unipro software offer track mapping - this is because Unipro doesn’t currently have a G-force sensor. Track mapping typically uses g-forces and speed to plot a map. This will be available very soon, and the features look very good, such as being able to overlay various data on the map.

Aim’s software comes out on top here compared to Pi and VisualData. It’s very easy to overlay data (such as speed, rpm) on top of a map in a color-coded way.

Printing and Data Export Capabilities

Aim Race Studio handles printing extremely well, and is miles ahead of both Unipro and Alfano software. Whatever you have displayed in the program such as an RPM comparison graph is printed in a clear manner with general information displayed on the top such as session name, date, track, vehicle, notes, and a small track map if you have mapping capability or have added a track map. The base color is white for easy reading off a sheet of paper. Printing out a list of all laptimes in a session is also very simple, as is any other info you are able to view within the program.

Data Export is also very good in Race Studio 2. You can export in CSV, Motec (CSV), Bosch LapSim (CSV), txt, and excel. Aim’s Race Studio export functionality is easily the best of the 4. PI and Unipro both have good excel export. And Unipro has it’s own report files.

Alfano VisualData is severely lacking in this section. Once you figure out how to print a graph (right-click and print) you end up with only the graph (no additional info such as date etc), and it is printed as it looks in the software with a black background! This slows down printing and wastes ink, as well as making it difficult to view the data particularly if you are running even slightly low on black ink. I was unable to figure out how to print a list of all laptimes (right-click print wasn’t available in the laptime view). Data export doesn’t appear to be possible in any form.

While it is lacking in the export functionality PI Club Expert offers very good printing - choose the graph or table you want to print and it prints out a similar to MyChron sheet but with slightly more info on the top such as the laptimes and best laptime of the session.

In Unipro’s new PC Analyser the printing capabilities will be improved to be on par with Pi and Aim, and the export capabilities are extremely good.

Making the final decision

Before we go any further there are some issues you should factor in to your decision other than the quality and features of the logger and its software such as what system is popular where you drive or which system do your teammates have? A lot of value from data logging is derived from comparing laps so it’s good if you use the same system. Does your local kart shop stock parts and sell the system? You don’t want to be stranded because a sensor broke and you can’t find a replacement.

System pricing

Here’s an approximate list of prices obtained from the internet for readers to get a general idea of the differences in pricing of the different systems.

MyChron4 - 255 EUR

eBox Gold - 325 EUR
eBox Extreme - 520 EUR

Unipro 6002 - 455 EUR

Unipro 6003 - 510 EUR
Unipro 7002 - 510 EUR
Unipro 7003 - 569 EUR
(All unipro prices for base kit - only timing, temp and rpm sensors)

Alfano PRO V2 - 280 EUR

Alfano PRO+ LV 340 EUR

Alfano AStrO LV480 EUR

(Only RPM and Timing sensors)

Pi Clubman Logger with X-Sport Dash - 3,000 EUR

(including wheelspeed sensor and a fair bit more - waiting for more pricing info on kart-kits from Pi)

The MyChron4 and the Alfano seem like the top value-for-money systems particularly for simple data logging only. The Pi is in a class of it’s own on price.

Customer Care / Technical Response

In the midst of writing this article and going through the various programs from the respective manufacturers, I naturally had some questions I wanted to ask the manufacturers. Software issues or questions about the technical solutions of their products for example.

This turned out to be a great way of testing out one very important aspect of data logging equipment - customer support for technical assistance or product problems. If you’re heading into a race and suddenly a problem arises with your software or your logger, you want a response quickly. Or even if it’s not a time-critical issue it’s still nice to know that they are there for you.

I emailed Pi Research, Aim (MyChron), and Alfano all on the same day asking some simple questions and I also mentioned that I was writing an article comparing their products with their competitors’ (that should give them even more reason to respond).

A day later I had yet to receive any replies so I tried my luck with Unipro. Within hours I had a response from Claus Lok Mortensen telling me that he will get back to me later - I thought well this is promising. True to his word not much later I got very detailed answers to my questions. He told me the reasons behind the issues I raised, and he actually emailed me the Alpha version of their new software so that I could see for myself what direction they had taken with their new software. Now that was a response! This is also the reason why I’ve been able to offer in-depth Unipro information in this article.

After a week of waiting I’ve yet to hear back from the others.

Just a note that some companies such as Aim and Pi have their own separate customer service and technical teams in their large markets such as the USA, so your customer service experiences may vary depending on your location.


At the moment I use the Unipro 6003 on my kart, and I don’t have any complaints other than the software not really being 100% to my preferences (new one that I like more is on the way), however I can still accomplish everything I want without much annoyance. It’s an extremely solid system, and has some very smart solutions. I love the display and using it at the track - very intuitive. I rarely have to check the manual so it’s easy to get a hand of just by flipping through the options. I see no reason to change to another logger at the moment.

With the Unipro I use the RPM, wheel speed (front), water temp, and a power valve sensor. Next addition will probably be a temperature sensor (exhaust). I’m also waiting for their G-force sensor and new software to be released.

If I didn’t currently have a data logging system I might get the MyChron4. I’d also like to add the eBox Extreme and a bunch of sensors.

If I didn’t have to pay for it, I’d get the Pi system with the 50hz+ sampling rate and all the bells and whistles (Delta Lite logger with tyre temperature, pressure, etc.).

I wouldn’t go for an Alfano again simply because I just do not like their software. Their displays are ok and I like using them, but I have to be comfortable in front of the PC as well. As mentioned earlier though if you can get the hang of their software you should definitely give their products a thought.

Remember that one data logger is not suitable for all drivers. If for example all you will ever need is an RPM trace, temperature, and timing without any intentions to constantly pour over data then just pick one that fits your budget and use it.

To select your system look carefully at what you want to use now and in the future. There might be some specific features that you are interested in that are only available in one or two systems such as the GPS sensor from MyChron which would limit your choices. If you know you will be constantly pouring over data I’d advise against the Alfano system unless you know you can get comfortable with the software.

If you aren’t interested in data logging (why did you read this article?) but just want a display for RPM, temp and times then you can probably go with the cheapest system available to you.



By Mikko Nassi,

This is the first in a series of articles intended for rental karters as well as those new to the sport to get the best experience and performance out of their karting. We’ll cover the very basics that are good for the first-time rental karter, but some of the info here could also help an experienced driver extract more performance. Everything in this article applies to both indoor and outdoor tracks unless otherwise mentioned.

Get Comfortable!

Feeling comfortable in the kart is one of the most important aspects at any level of karting. Especially when you’re just getting started you want as few distractions as possible so that all your focus is on the driving. If you can’t reach the pedals, or you can’t see properly because your helmet is moving around you’re not giving your driving 100% and you’ll be losing time. Your clothing and seating position are critical.


The first step in being comfortable in the kart is what you wear. Most karting establishments do a fairly good job in providing good helmets, suits, and gloves. At the kart tracks that don’t do such a great job it’s even more important that you’re well prepared.

We’ll start with your shoes. Don’t even think of showing up at a kart track with sandals or flip-flops. You’ll look like a twat and you won’t be able to control the pedals properly making you look even worse because you’ll be slow. What you’re looking for in shoes is protection (particularly ankle), and pedal feel.

The most common option is to wear sneakers (running shoes), preferably with a little bit of ankle-protection for safety. Everyone has a set of sneakers in their closet so bring those along. If you have a few pairs of sneakers take the ones that have the thinnest soles, because with the thinnest soles you’re able to feel the pedals the best. Don’t take your brand new runners because they’re bound to get a little scuffed-up. Much better than running shoes are actual karting/racing shoes. These have a very thin and soft rubber sole which allows optimum feel of the pedals.

Some boxing and wrestling shoes are also very good if you happen to have a pair of them somewhere. They are very similar to racing shoes with thin soles and good ankle protection.

There are a selection of racing-type shoes from Puma now readily available in sports stores typically labeled as casual footwear. While these are a good buy you’re still better off finding karting shoes from a kart shop because the rubber soles in the “mainstream racing” shoes are usually a little thicker or at least of a much harder rubber construction (because they’re designed as every-day shoes so they need to last).

Karting Gloves

The good rental kart tracks provide gloves for you to use, however these are typically the cheapest gloves they could find. Some tracks don’t provide you with any gloves at all so if you’re looking to be karting fairly often you should get your own. Good gloves to provide protection and better feel of the steering allowing because with good gloves you don’t have to hold on to the wheel as hard as you would with your bear hands. Particularly when you get a little bit sweaty you start to lose grip on the plasticky rental kart steering wheels so you have to hold on tighter. When you hold the steering wheel tight you loose optimum feel and you get tired faster.

What you’re looking for in a glove is very little padding on your palm/fingers, so using weight-lifting gloves or bicycle gloves isn’t ideal because they typically have some padding on the palm side, however they are still much better than no gloves because they are usually designed to grip. If you ride a motorbike your gloves are probably great for karting so you can use those. They have thin material on the palm because you need good feel of the throttle/brakes/clutch and they’re designed to protect when you fall.

The best option is to buy gloves specifically designed for karting. Personal preference comes to play, however usually most drivers prefer gloves with stitching on the outside because it means you don’t get the seams under your fingers restricting your feel and resulting in blisters. Unfortunately the gloves with outside-seams are also the most expensive, so you have to spend a bit if that’s what you prefer. Sizing for gloves is important – too loose and they cause blisters because they fold-over in place – too tight and they won’t feel right and you’ll be restricting blood flow! Remember that gloves have to be the right size when you’re grabbing a steering wheel – so if possible when trying on gloves for size grab on to a steering wheel or a bar roughly the same diameter.

Karting Suit

If you don’t know if a kart track provides you with a karting suit to wear you should come prepared with jeans, and preferably a long-sleeve shirt as well. If you wear shorts and the track doesn’t provide you with a racing suit you’ll have the uncomfortable prospect of having air rush into your shorts and pushing them up possibly showing much more skin than you’re comfortable with! Additionally if you’re at an outdoor track you’ll have a lot of sand and other debris heading for you-know-where. Jeans stay in one place and they offer a bit of protection as well, just make sure they aren’t too tight so that they don’t restrict your movement.

For tracks that do provide you with a suit wear a good pair of boxers and a t-shirt. You’ll want to take your pants/shorts off when using a suit because it’ll bulk up and feel uncomfortable. Take time selecting the correct size, one that doesn’t restrict your movement while not having too much excess material floating around.

Karting Helmet

One of the most dreaded things about rental karting is having to put on a helmet worn by hundreds of other drivers before you! The helmets don’t even get washed! The good rental places have quality helmets and have a drying system which keeps the helmets dry and they also supply cotton balaclavas that you throw in the laundry basket after you’re done.

If you don’t have your own helmet take time in selecting a good helmet from the rental track’s selection. Try on a helmet and if it fits, try on the next smaller size, and then the next smaller size until it starts getting impossible to put it on. Helmets should fit very snugly. If you can easily move the helmet side-to-side when it’s on your head you have to go smaller. It should be at least slightly difficult putting it on. Also before you try the helmet on have a look at the buckle-system and make sure you know how to use it.

When buying your helmet you should consider if you might be taking up karting competitively in a year or so? If yes you shouldn’t waste money on a “budget” helmet only to have to buy a proper one a year later. Look for a Snell rating on the helmet – either Snell SA2005(car) or K2005(kart). If you won’t be racing any time soon then for the top of the line you can add M2005 as well to the list. The main difference to M2005 is it’s meant for motorcycles. The visor is typically 2mm on a bike helmet whereas in the car or karting helmets it’s 3mm. The impact tests are very similar.

You can also safely buy a cheap helmet as long as it meets some kind of safety standard – look for DOT or BSI or ECE. The no.1 thing is to make sure it fits your head properly and is the correct size. If it’s loose not only will it not protect you properly in a crash but it will move around and disturb your driving.

Getting in the kart - Seating Position

Seating position is critical

Now that we’ve got all that out of the way we’ll get to actually getting in the kart and making sure you’re comfortable in it. You’ll never get to the same level as you would in a race kart for which you’d buy a seat that fits you perfectly but you can do some things to get the best fit possible. The better your seating position the more you can concentrate on the driving and the more consistent you’ll be.

In rental karting you are usually forced to make a compromised decision on your seating position. The seats are designed to fit everyone – so for most they will be too big and you’ll be moving around a lot. Look around to see if the karts have different size seats and sit in a few to find the best one for you. Good rental kart operators have a few extra-large and a few extra-small seats to fit drivers in. Also check to see if they have seat-inserts if you’re struggling to find a good seat. Ideally you want a seat which will not let you move from side-to-side at all, but also one which doesn’t create any pressure-points which can cause pain.

In real sub-par rental kart places check the seat-bolts to make sure none of them will eat in to your back!

Many rental karts let you move the seat forward and backward a little, and some karts also have moveable pedals. Make full use of these adjustable features! The first thing to check is that you can reach the steering wheel properly. When sitting back in the seat you should be able to hold the wheel in the 9 and 3 position and still have your elbows bent. If they’re straight move the seat forward and if you can’t make sure you find a kart in which you can have your elbows bent.

The ideal position for your legs to be in is a little bit bent at the knees but not so much that you’re hitting the steering wheel. You have to be able to press the brake and throttle all the way without having to stretch or move around and you should still have a bit of a bend in the knees.

You’ll notice some problems with your seating position only once you’ve been on the track, so if you’re going for another go see what you could do to improve any problems you had

You should not be moving around in the kart a lot when driving. Sometimes it is necessary to lean over a bit particularly with your head/neck because you aren’t used to the forces and don’t have the karting-stamina yet. In general though it’s best to remain quite still and composed in the kart, extra movement makes you needlessly tired and takes attention away from the driving.


Now we’re at the part most will really be interested in… the actual driving and how to go fast! This will cover the very basics, and just like in anything else you have to master these basics first. Mastering the basics will get you to within a fraction of a second of the fast times, so before trying a lot of advanced techniques that you might have heard of make sure you have these under control.

The number one key to being fast in a rental kart is to keep the momentum up. The karts don’t accelerate fast and once they lose speed it takes a lot of time picking up the speed again. Which means you have to be smooth with all three inputs with which you control what the kart does: the throttle, the brake, and the steering. With braking you should try to get all or most of it done when your steering wheel is still pointing dead-straight. Karts only have rear brakes so it’s like using only your handbrake in a rear car.

The brake and the throttle should not be used at the same time. Some believe this to work on rental karts by keeping the revs up but somehow the fastest drivers don’t do it. The brakes are for slowing down, the throttle is for speeding up. You should aim to be on one or the other at almost all times – when you’re not on either one you are probably wasting time somewhere.

The Basic Racing Line

The aim at least for most drivers is to get around the track in the shortest possible amount of time. To do so we have to keep the fastest average speed possible throughout the track. Down the straights it is simple – just hammer the throttle and hold on. In the corners it gets more complicated.

Here’s a typical racing line through a hairpin at a rental track:

Basic Racing Line

The simple rule to the racing line is to go out-in-out. You should be on the very outside edge of the track when you’re approaching a corner. You then turn into the corner and hit the apex on the inside of the corner. The apex is a term for the part where you “clip” the inside part of the track. You then go out again to the very edge of the track. If you aren’t using all of the track you’re losing time.Watch a formula one race and you’ll notice that in most corners the drivers are at the white line on the entry, they then hit the curb on the inside, and then go to the very outside edge of the track again often over a curb. Watching motorsports on tv in general is good for having a look at the racing line. Pay attention to how well drivers use all of the track.The line you take determines the speed that you can drive through the corner. If for example you drive on the very inside edge of the track your distance traveled will be shorter, but because you’re driving along a much tighter arc you have to drive a lot slower.

The key to going fast when you’re starting out is to go slow-in, and fast-out of corners. What this means is that you should focus your attention on getting a fast exit out of the corner so that you can carry that speed along the next straight and don’t spend time accelerating from a slow speed. Brake hard but don’t think that attacking the corner entry will be fast.

You should have the kart very stable when you’re entering the corner and you should be able to get back on the throttle almost immediately after you’ve started to turn the steering wheel. To ensure a fast exit you can sacrifice your entry speed a little by taking care to keep the kart well under control to allow for a rocket exit. If you know this and your friends don’t you’ll have them complaining that they catch you entering the corners yet you fly away down the straight! They’ll blame it on the kart but you’ll know the real reason.

Heading onto the track, relax!

When you’ve gotten in the kart and are heading for the track just remember the driving advice above and relax. Take the out-lap and the first few laps nice and easy to familiarize yourself with the kart and the track. Then start increasing speed little-by-little. Don’t think about attacking the track - think smooth, smooth, smooth and just let the times come to you.

Very often a new driver notices that their first lap was their fastest - because they weren’t pushing yet. Once they started attacking they started to lose time even though they thought they were going faster.Your entire body should remain relaxed - sit upright and drive by looking where you want to go and let your eyes do the steering rather than having a forced feeling to it.Be comfortable, smooth, relaxed, and remember these two: “out-in-out,” and “slow-in, fast-out.” Get those sorted and you’re already well on your way to beating your friends at the track. In the next article we’ll give some tips on picking the fast kart and much more advice on racing lines and driving techniques to improve your times.


DATE: August 21, 2009

By Terence Dove, & EvenFlow Kart Driver Coaching

The KF Clubman concept has been thought up by Paul Fletcher to try and make KF more accessible for the club karter. While understanding the value of Rotax and similar classes Paul feels there is a need for a muilt-engine formula at club level to push competition between dealers and engine manufacturers. He also wants to make sure the class remains affordable.

What he came up with was initially titled KF3 senior. The kart was to have a KF3 engine with a KF2 ECU box and Dunlop SL4 long life tyres. Well he has one ready to test already and we went down to PFi to check out the ‘KF Clubman’!


We found the Dunlop SL4s very durable, however lap times are effected. But when money is tight who cares about a number on a lap timer?


British Karting Champion Mark Litchfield had a play as well! The kart used for the test was his trusty Marenello RS2 which he used last year to win the UK’s most prestigous karting title.


The kart was fun to drive and reminded Will Dendy of his time in Formula TKM


A missed apex! The Dunlop SL4 tyres need to driven with accuracy!


The kart handled PFi very well and wasn’t too tiring to drive!


Everything is the same as a KF3 but with a green KF2 electronic unit. This meant the engine can rev to 15,000 allowing for better low end grunt.

When KF first appeared from the CIK, I thought that it was the end of the world! To me, KF just appeared to be Rotax MAX on steroids with too much grip, and unnecessary front brakes. Then, at the start of the first KF season, Intrepid explosively announced that they were boycotting this years KF season because they felt that they wouldn’t have competitive engines.

Birel also decided to pull out of the first few races of the season due to lack of engine development. The complete and utter domination from Vortex and TonyKart at the European, and World Championships didn’t help the situation. You would be forgiven for thinking it has been a very shaky start for KF!

However, KF enthusiasm has been gaining momentum, and it now looks as if the KF philosophy might be exactly what the UK karting scene needs.

We reveal why Paul Fletcher thinks that Vortex doesn’t have the advantage as perceived by many, and why Mark Rose thinks KF3 as exactly what karting needs. James Mills comments on why he thinks KF parity is better compared to Rotax MAX, and Simon Wright describes why he feels KF3 will be better than Jr MAX. Ex-KF1 racer Ollie Millroy shares his views on KF.

Not forgetting the ‘small guy’, we ask the normal karters what they think about KF, with their main concern pointing towards ever-inflating costs involved with karting.


Paul Fletcher – PF International Kart Team and Circuit Owner

“The main cost with racing is in travel, hotels, and hiring mechanics. But the actual KF engines themselves are cheaper to run. The crank will last 10x longer than before, so they are definitely cheaper” When asked about KF into club racing he had this to say “Before, when asked by a junior what class to do, I would say Rotax, and the same for a Senior. Now I would recommend KF3, and KF2. It would be great to see Cadets, KF3, KF2, and then KF1 at all the clubs across the country. At the last Rotax Super 1 round there was huge interest in the KF program, and the up coming Winter Series”. On TonyKart’s dominance at the World Championship Paul Fletcher believes that “TonyKart were better organized. They ran like McLaren. I don’t believe the IAME engines were as slow as they appeared ”

Mark Rose – Karting Guru

“The CIK have got it right with KF2, and KF3 I must admit. I run Tom Grice in KF3 and we run our motors for nearly 20 hours. The reliability is 100%. The engine is fantastic.” However, Mark has concerns about KF1 “There should be a limit on data acquisition. TonyKart had 3 or 4 experts from Pi analyzing their data at the World Championships. I am by no means taking anything away from TonyKart, they have the best drivers, and have done a fantastic job, but the average team who wants to race KF1, just can’t compete with these guys. I would like to see this changed”.

James Mills – JM Racing

“In terms of entry level karting KF4 could be the better entry level option for seniors in karting than KF2. But the MSA stamped that out. I believe KF4 would be a better rival to Rotax. As it is, I think that karting will probably still see Rotax MAX as the entry level to karting, and MiniMax as the half way house between Cadets and KF3. I think Junior MAX will suffer.

The KF3 is really good and is exceptional quality. I have run several engines on a dyno and not had one that has lacked performance, unlike what happens with MAX engines. Out of the box 95% of our KF3 engines are competitive…the costs in KF3 aren’t going to be any different than in Junior Rotax. KF2… it’s difficult to say. The initial cost of a KF2 is quite a lot more than a MAX, but once your set up and ready to go, it isn’t bad at all. Unlike MAX, I can give someone an engine that will be good, but in MAX you can’t give someone an out of the box engine and expect them to go to Super 1 with it”

Simon Wright - Wright Karts/UK IAME Importer

“Engines sales of the KF3 will grow very fast. The Seniors will take a while because of the MAX. A lot of people will not feel the need to change over right away from MAX in the smaller clubs, but at larger ones like PFi we will see a change”. When asked about cost Simon said “KF2 costs are very small. I sold an engine in July, and have just had it in for a full service after 10 hours. Before with the 100cc I had it in every weekend. Running a KF3 at club level will be genuinely similar to running a Jr MAX. The KF engines are so similar, and if there is a difference you can pay a tuner to £300 to get it working. Compare that to MAX where you buy a new engine and have no idea whether it will be competitive. And if you want a competitive MAX engine it’s going to cost thousands. Also, you then have to spend money on a sealing agent if you want it rebuilt. With a KF, you can do it yourself”.

What about costs for the small budget club racer? “The problem you have there is ‘trying to achieve the impossible’. Karting is expensive. The thing with KF compared to MAX is value for money. They only cost a few hundred quid more but you know you’re getting an engine that’s good or equal to any other engine out there.”

Ollie Millroy – Ex-KF1 Karter

“At first it was quite hard to get used to the KF1 due to the lack of power compared to the 100cc engine, but as far as racing goes, I thought the reliability of the KF engines was much better than the old engines. However, some say they don’t need to be rebuilt as much, but everyone was still rebuilding them every race”. On whether costs could increase for the normal club racer Ollie had this to say, “Yes they could, although if you have a look at racing in Europe there is no TKM and not a lot of Rotax compared to the UK. They seem to manage better. I think one of the main problems with karting in the UK is that there are just too many classes”

What About the Average Club Karter?

The positivity towards KF is very large from the big players in karting. But what about the average Joe, how will KF affect them? The CIK have already pointed out that KF will be -

More Attractive:

- Reliable, but nonetheless very high-performance

- Identification of hobby drivers with professional kartmen

- Modern complete package

- More adequate for newcomers

We asked the Manchester and Buxton Kart Club legend, and the archetypal average Joe - Chris Kasch - what his thoughts are on KF, whether he can afford to ‘identify with professional karters’, and if he thought KF would be ‘more adequate for newcomers’.

“I’m a little suspicious about it to be honest, and that’s probably down to little snippets I’ve read about shortages of engines and teams not be able to compete etc… Basically, I don’t feel like I know enough about it as a club driver and that’s where the suspicion comes from.

I kind of like the idea of having a recognised national class that everyone can progress through, rather than this fragmented nonsense we have at the moment that only succeeds in diluting grids. But the cost element of KF really does worry me.

I used to race in Rotax for two years but got to a point where I didn’t feel like I could compete properly, mostly because of the tyres (a little bit on the engines too). I race on a ridiculous budget. I make my tyres last three, sometimes 4 meetings and in TKM I can almost get away with it, that’s why I chose TKM. It’s cheaper to compete in TKM. The engine rebuilds are more often than the likes of Rotax (and we’re led to believe KF), but they are cheap, and I can also have an engine that I know isn’t too bad compared to the top drivers.

What’s happening with KF on the tyres? Are they going to be sticky tyres that need replacing every meeting? Engine rebuilds…how often? (and by that I don’t mean silly claims, I mean how often to be competitive), and how much? Also, will I have an engine that’s competitive that doesn’t cost the earth to get?

My fear is that us low budget drivers aren’t going to be able to race in this new series/format and if it takes hold then we will be slowly squeezed out of karting for good. The worst thing is that there isn’t much information about to allay any of these fears, probably because the governing body’s don’t know themselves if the balance is struck correctly. It could be great, but experience tells me that it will be cocked up and we’ll be in a bigger mess than we are now”.

Sam Murphy is 16, and a complete ‘newbie’ to the world of karting. Has the CIK’s promise of making karting more attractive to newcomers actually holding true with guys like Sam?

“With karting I haven’t really paid much attention to it until the last few months. Only until now at 16 I am starting to save up for a kart to be able to get started in karting. With karting, it always seems to be a sport for the ‘rich kids’, which hasn’t made me focus on it as much as I could, as I’m not rich. Luckily for me Buckmore Park is only 5 minutes away, which makes it easier to get information on karting.

I have been seeing around websites and forums about a new class called KF, I’m not actually sure on the whole concept of karting classes as I am still learning but have heard that the KF package costs £2k for just the engine. To me this is crazy money and doesn’t attract me to the sport in anyway as I don’t have that kind of money to be spending on a kart and most people who are interested in starting karting wouldn’t either.”

Sam Blake is a driver getting ready to make the move from TKM (one of the cheapest classes) to KF3. He says,

“Going in to the last round of TKM Super 1 we fully expected to be staying in TKM. Hearing the news of the new TKM regulations the choice to move to KF3 was a no brainer. The prospect of competing in much smaller grids will take TKM even further away from mainstream karting.

Our main concern of moving into KF3 only occurred with the initial outlay. The engines at the moment cost twice the amount that a TKM would, but later in the year when the bare engine is available it will bring the cost down. We rang Strawberry Racing expecting the CIK chassis to be much more expensive than the TKM chassis, but on studying the spec it is no more expensive than the TKM chassis e.g. no stickers, no steering wheel etc… and furthermore with £300 of the Tonykart, it was a very good deal.”


So, is KF going to save British karting, or kill it?

The jury is still out on that one, but I am optimistic that KF could be the class that can stitch together currently fragmented British karting. If KF thrives we could be in a situation where karting is united across Europe, and possibly the World giving each manufacture more motivation to promote karting as a whole, rather than having classes competing against each other for numbers. However the purchase cost of a KF engine is something we need to keep a close eye on, as it could be the decisive factor in the success of KF.

Visit to get a free copy of Terence’s ‘Advanced Kart Driving Techniques’ E-book.

Do also visit for more articles, interviews and videos by both Terence and Allan Dove.



By Terence Dove, & EvenFlow Kart Driver Coaching

I’m going to show exactly what 3 of the world’s fastest kart drivers are doing on the UK’s most simple hairpin corner. I have deliberated a great deal about whether or not to release this information, because if you can nail this perfectly you won’t need a coach!!

All you need to do is exactly copy these drivers to become terrifically fast…Of course when you get to the track you will find this rather tricky…but you have to start somewhere right!

Here we go…

Jason Parrot newly appointed official Maranello Factory Driver

Watch the karting clip of Jason Parrot here first. Then carefully read these notes, because it’s the detail that counts here!

1. Jason approaches his braking zone with his posture set, sitting upright. He then moves about a foot away from the edge of the track….because he knows the kart is about to step out when he brakes, and he knows by how much exactly.

2. Watch carefully and listen hard for when he brakes. He brakes hard and the kart’s rear steps out.

3. Jason knew this would happen and holds the slide with gentle adustment. Listen carefully to those tyres scrabbling for grip, also notice he has allowed the kart to drift back toward the very outside if the track before he turns in.

4. Before he turns the wheel into the hairpin, notice he has the kart sliding with a little opposite lock. Then at his turn in point, he turns the kart into the corner.This is the important bit: he turns the wheel gently and holds the steering wheel in postion…he does’t turn in hard, he turns gently with minimum turn.

5. He holds that steer angle on the wheel until he hits the apex. And take not how he hits a late apex

6. As soon as he hits the apex he straightens the wheel

7. Next important bit: After straightening the wheel he still needs to adjust the direction of the kart- so he makes tiny adjustments, anxiously, and then gets the wheel straight again…he is constantly concerned with keeping that wheel straight ahead, and only turns in small increments…absorb this point!

Summary: get a feel for Jasons style. he brakes hard and feels the slide, his next priority is to use as little steering as possible, holding the steering angle on the way into the apex, then straightening on exit, keeping adjustment to minimum. You can see he is very keen to get that wheel straight ASAP.

Jon Lancaster- Birel factory driver

Check out the Jon Lancaster karting video then carefully read the notes so you can see why he is so damn quick!

1. Jon clearly drives with an intention to sit in the right position to best help his kart work.Notice how he holds his head back all round the lap.

2. Play the video as slow as you can and see if you notice this. Just before Jon hits his braking point he changes his seating very slightly. He braces himself, pushes against the wheel a touch and his head moves back slightly…..Why? He wants to keep his weight over the rear to maximise braking power!

3. Listen carefully and you will hear Jon hit the brakes hard enough to make the tyres scrub….However, his kart doesn’t kick at all, he stays perfectly straight with the kart beautifully balanced

4.This is the first important bit. Jon turns in very gently planning for a late apex. Most drivers looking for a late apex turn very late and very hard. But Jon turns earlier, but very gently.

5. Watch very carefully and you will notice that Jon carefully and intentionally drives a specific line. He steadily increases the angle of steer after the initial gentle turn in…he makes the kart desrcibe a perfect late apex line…not by drifting round but by steering exactly where he wants the kart.

6. Once he hits his late apex, the wheel is straightened for that fast exit.

7. Look closely and you will see John also makes small fast adjustments to his wheel on exit. He wants to keep the wheel straight as much as possible, so if he needs to turn he twitches the wheel ever so slightly and gets it straight again.

Summary. On the way into the corner Jon holds the wheel steady after a gentle turn in. This means the kart is stable and predictable and therefore fast! It also means that the rear left tyre can handle early power application for a fast exit…Try it yourself- turn into corners with a constant angle of steer, gently increase the angleas you approach the apex. You should notice the kart feels more stable.

Marco Ardigo Tony Kart factory driver

Take a look the Ardigo karting video first and then we can get into the details of why this guy is so quick

1. Ardigo is deceptively fast, maybe the smoothest cleanest driver you’ll see. You have to be very sharp to notice when he brakes. If you listen carefully you can just make out the sound his tyres make under braking….this guy is looking after his tyres!

2. Of the three drivers Ardigo turns in the most gently. He uses a slightly tighter line than the others too, but still hits the late apex.

3. If you can watch this in slow motion you will see that on his approach to the corner’s apex he is holding the steering wheel at a constant angle. Pay attention to the rear inside wheel…he is holding the rear inside wheel just above the track’s surface at a constant height. This makes the kart super stable and means he can get on the power early.

4. As he exits the corner he noticebly twitches on the wheel. You can notice this with Ardigo more than anyone else. He straightens the wheel early on exit, then needs to turn the wheel a touch…but soon as he does that he wants it straight again….then finds he needs to turn more….he is making a big effort to keep that wheel straight!

Summary: Marco Ardigo is super smooth and extremely accurate. His pre-occupation seems to be with gettin the wheel straight as soon as possible on exit, and keeping the steer angle constant during cornering so as not to upset the kart.

Overall, I want you to notice that all these drivers seem absolutely glued into their seats whilst cornering. They are keeping their body weight stable because that helps keep the kart stable and predictable….and thats the key to keeping your steering input to a minimum, and therefore maximising the forward acceleration of your kart.

Visit to get a free copy of Terence’s ‘Advanced Kart Driving Techniques’ E-book.

Do also visit for more articles, interviews and videos by both Terence and Allan Dove.


DATE: August 11, 2009

By Terence Dove, & EvenFlow Kart Driver Coaching

In karting there is nothing more satisfying than elegantly sliding up the inside of another driver, with your kart pitched sideways, tyres chirping away whilst you delicately adjust braking pressure to maintain traction. It’s one of those times when you feel like the world is in slow-motion and you are a driving god!

In my experience with coaching, it’s the drivers who learn to really enjoy playing around with braking that go places fast, so it’s where I’d like to start with you.

Step 1 in Mastering Braking

To master your braking you need to remove any fears you might have with locking up and spinning. And the way to do that is to go out on track and get really medieval with that brake pedal. Remember your kart is a beast and you need to tame it, and to do that you need to show it whose boss. Here’s what to do (this is great fun too)

1. Choose a sharp corner with a short straight before it (so you aren’t going so fast you get scared)

2. Choose a braking point slightly earlier than normal.

3. Make your normal approach but give yourself a bit more space at the edge of the track….you may find you need it.

4. Drive flat out to your early braking point and stamp on that brake pedal! Really give it a bang

5. Your right foot needs to come off the throttle, and your left foot needs to exert maximum pressure on the brakes in a flash, your feet should be a blur! BANG IT.

6. After the initial bang on the pedal, release some brake pressure and control that kart. Be ready for the kart to snap sideways and snap back again when you come off the brake.

When you hit the pedal you should sense all or at least one of the following.

- The kart breaks loose at the rear and you have to come off the brake to control the kart

- The tyres make a high pitched ‘squeal’

- The engine notes drops very suddenly (and almost stops if you are clutchless). If you don’t sense any of these you need to hit the pedal even harder and even faster.

Now, if you are hitting the pedal as hard as you can with no result, get your brakes re-kitted because they aren’t working! And if you keep spinning, it means you are holding on the brakes too long. Release the braking pressure after that initial hit so the kart comes back to you.

This takes practice and your timing needs to be spot on, so you need to learn to get off the brake in time for the kart to come back to you, then you can turn into the corner. But stick with it because you are learning extreme kart control. You are learning that even when you are violent and excessive on the brake pedal you can still control that kart, and that means you won’t be scared to push your brakes to the limit…and you will be able to make those crazy looking out-braking moves that the pro’s pull off.


How to Refine Your Braking Technique and Get Faster

Ok, so now you’ve had your fun let’s get into the serious stuff. While you were getting used to really nailing the brakes you might have noticed that your kart became even livelier and more responsive. Also, in taming the kart under extreme conditions you will have developed a new level of feel for how much grip is available, and how hard you can push. So now we need to take advantage of all of those, and maximise your new potential.

Science bit: When you hit the brake there is a moment just as the tyres are beginning to lock, when they are producing the maximum braking traction. And as a race driver it is your job to keep on the throttle for as long as possible and therefore shorten braking distance as much as you can. So to do that, when you brake you need to keep the tyres in that region where they are almost locking to get maximum braking force.

A great way to help increase the braking force is to make sure you keep your body weight over the rear wheels during braking. So when you are about to hit the brake, brace yourself slightly and push back into your seat.

Steps to Using Your Braking Technique for Quick Times

1. Choose a braking point. Use your usual braking point if you have one.

2. When you hit your braking point hit the brake hard and fast again.

3. Be sensitive on the pedal and hold the brake pressure so that you can sense the wheels beginning to lock, you should hear that scrubbing sound, and a sweet chirpy sound. If you feel the wheels lock release the pressure slightly. This is like learning to play guitar, you have to practice and be sensitive

4. Be aware that whilst maximising your braking you will be tempted toward the apex too early, keep the kart straight for as long as you can and turn in late for the corner when you are almost finished with braking.

The idea is to exert maximum braking pressure at your braking point, and then start releasing the pressure as you approach the corner. Lesser karters than you will be doing it the other way round, pushing the brake harder as they approach the corner and finding they keep spinning.

Once you are really comfortable with this kind of advanced kart braking you can move on to refining your exits and using advanced karting steering technique, to make sure you keep the kart’s speed at a maximum.

Learning to brake hard in a kart is a very rewarding aspect of driving and I promise you will develop new level of sensitivity and involvement in driving, so keep hard at it and keep practicing!

Visit to get a free copy of Terence’s ‘Advanced Kart Driving Techniques’ E-book.

Do also visit for more articles, interviews and videos by both Terence and Allan Dove.



By Darrell Sitarz, Editor

# Getting in, by phone, to a decision maker

# Using the Publicity Dept of a target company to get to a decision maker

# Using an Email “Overture” PDF to get the conversation started.

There are many ways to get on the phone to a decision maker. Here we will rely on one proven method, using the Publicity Department. One of the big problems in trying to contact any executive is that they are protected by a boundary of administrators, secretaries and assistants all of whom are very protective of “the boss”. So how do you get their attention?

If you recall the earlier installments of this series we spent a lot of time using press release sites like PR Newswire to find target companies. We will now use those same sources, along with the target company websites to begin the process of contacting the decision maker.

The first step is to find a Press Release from the target company. (Refer to accompanying Slide Show.) You can find a representative release from PR Newswire by using that website’s search tool to bring up releases from your company. Another way to find a release from your target firm is to go to the “Press Release” of “News” section of your company’s website. Not all companies have this feature which is why we use PR Newswire as well.

Either way, the idea is to open up an official release from the company. The topic of the press release is not that important but try to find one that is about a new product or new expansion and not a ‘financial or quarterly results’ release.

Once you open up the release, it is a good idea to read through the copy as it will obviously have information which you can use in a future sponsorship program. The most important element, however, is at the bottom of the last page of the release. Here you will find the “CONTACT” information for the Press/Communications Officer of the company, the person who actually sent the release and who is also responsible for handing all media requests for more information.

This “contact” portion of the release will have name, phone number and, most important, the Email address of the Press Officer. This is the person whom you will first contact and here is why.

# The press officer knows all of the executives in the company and can direct you to them,

# The press officer knows that you are not calling him to actually “sell him your program” and so will be easy to talk to because he is not threatened by you,

# The press officer’s responsibility is to maintain contact with the outside world on behalf of the company so he will be a big help and lastly,

# most press officers are friendly types who will enjoy talking briefly about such an unrelated, but exciting, topic such as racing. Believe us & this works 90% of the time.

So… now you have the contact information for the press officer. Remember…we are going to use Telephone AND Email to get the ball rolling.

Here are your next steps:

# Call the press officer. If you have to leave a message do it! He will call back & that is his job,

# Once you have him or her on the phone simply say:
” I am _____________ from such and such Racing Team and I have an exciting promotion concept that I would like to send to the right executive but I don’t know who that is and you, as the Press Officer, know everything that happens at your company. (This usually gets a laugh and loosens things up a bit)

Now you are ready to make your “Overture” to your newly-found decision maker. What’s an OVERTURE? An Overture is a 3 to 4 slide Powerpoint Slide Show which tells just a small bit about what you want to talk about. You will Email it both the Press Officer AND the decision maker.

The simple overture contains:

# pictures of you and your team

# small amount of data on race series and

# teases a bit about your sponsorship idea

# asks for a face-to-face meeting or a phone meeting and includes your contact info.

That’s it! This is NOT a full-bore proposal but a short, easy-to-read (exciting) introduction. Most executives will not look at a long Slide Show right off the bat, but if you can make this small Overture interesting enough… you may get your invitation to “tell them more”. And THAT…is the eventual objective in this effort. To get in front of the decision maker.

OK. Back to the Press Officer and Decision Maker. Our suggestion is to send your Overture to the Press Officer as a nice gesture and to let him know that you are for real. You will, of course, also send the Overture to the decision maker but by sending it to the Press Officer you may accomplish more than you think.

Many times the Press Officer will act as your ‘in-company’ representative and pass your Overture onto more than once person within your target company. If he volunteers to do this be sure to get the contact info of who he is sending it to. This is great because now your Overture is being passed around the company from someone who works for the firm and that takes your initial sponsorship introduction into places where you might never get if you simply got on the phone and tried to ‘get-in’ through the front desk!

Be prepared to take phone calls from executives or managers within the company whom you didn’t identify in your research. All good.

Certainly it is beneficial to send your Overture to the Press Officer but here is the process for directly contacting the decision maker, using your short slide show:

# Send your Overture via Email

# Use the ’subject line’ of “VIP Concept For (Exec’s Name)”

# Include short Email body copy as such:

TO: (Exec’s Name & TITLE)

CC: (Press Officer’s Name)

FR: (Your Name & Team Name)

Dear ____________,

(Press Officer’s name) suggested that I send this very short introduction of our race team. We have a promotion concept which we feel you will be interested in learning about. It only takes 2 minutes to view. I will call you tomorrow to discuss.

Or something like that. Be sure to CC the Press Officer as this will insure that the decision maker opens the Email.

The last step, obviously, is to actually call the decision maker. Give him a day or so but not much more than that. You may be surprised to find that he or she will send you a return Email which is great. Let’s just hope that it is positive. If it is a rejection… remember Item 2 (above) and change the names of the company and send similar e-mails to their competitors!

Well, that’s it. We have tried to compress what can be a confusing strategy into a short three part series but if you put these simple tips into action you will refine the process to fit your own needs. But remember one thing. You need to set aside at least two days a week to do this. Make it a habit. If you do this you eventually have more formal presentations than you can handle.

If you are planning on racing on someone else’s money next year now is the time to start because ad budgets for 2009 are now being discussed and planned up and down the hallways of every major corporation in the country so don’t wait to get started. Good Luck and Good Selling.

Read more of Darrell and his team’s material at


DATE: August 10, 2009

By Darrell Sitarz, Editor

It is always good to circle back and remind ourselves of the bottomline elemental basics which make up a normal sponsorship program. Yes, most of you know all of this stuff, but read through this Motorsports 101 and I am sure you will see some things that you forgot.


Motorsports Sponsorship Basics
Sponsors today come from a wide variety of backgrounds and industries, from communications to retailing, from fashion to financial, etc. Generally, a sponsor on who associates with an athlete is trying to tell you something about that company. The images most commonly associated with a sponsorship are that the company is:
~ modern
~ technically advanced
~ competitive & team oriented

Companies that once shunned racing such as female-oriented firms are turning into major supporters as more and more women follow the sport in general. Motorsports are now considered a broad-based entertainment medium on a par with the “stick & ball” sports like football, baseball and basketball.

Autoracing was the first sport to embrace commercial sponsorship (60’s) and as such is regarded as one of the most powerful sports marketing mediums overall. Sponsors receive a wide variety of marketing benefits from the budget “dollar”.

The primary reasons why companies are involved in racing are based around the following:
~ demographics
~ levels of media exposure
~ image
~ marketing & promotions
~ event hospitality and entertainment

Undertaking a sponsorship on the part of a company requires a comprehensive marketing support program. This is vital to a successful involvement. As such a marketing program needs to be developed to make use of the sponsorship.

Some of the more usual elements of a marketing support program include:
~ corporate hospitality at the event
~ media activities
~ driver personal appearances
~ show car appearances
~ advertising campaigns
~ sales promotion activities
~ employee motivation programs
~ print & publicity materials
~ image building programs
~ business-to-business opportunities

Types of Sponsorships
The motorsport sponsor has a choice. They can choose to develop an association with one or all of the following “elements” which, individually, make up the world of racing:
~ sponsorship of a team (multiple cars)
~ sponsorship of a car (on a one-car team or one car of a two-car team)
~ sponsorship of an individual driver
~ sponsorship of a series
~ sponsorship of an individual racing event

Each of the above venues have varying degrees of participation (budget) ranging from primary to minor. This is covered elsewhere in the report.

Typical Sponsorship Program Features

~ Logo on car, team uniforms, team equipment
~ Allotment of VIP, All Access Passes to every event
~ Hospitality Passes


~ Logo on Uniform
~ Appearances
~ Endorsement


~ Name in Title of Series (NASCAR Nextel Cup) or
~ Signage at all events
~ Logo on all cars, team equipment & drivers and promotion materials
~ Display kiosks and sampling

Race Event

~ Name in title (The Honda St.Petersburg Grand Prix)
~ Suites
~ VIP Passes
~ Signage and Regional Publicity
~ Display Kiosks and Sampling


Integrating The Sponsorship
A motorsport sponsorship will fail if it is not part of an overall marketing plan. The sponsorship should mesh or support existing activities or be a central feature in a new marketing plan. There also has to be specific marketing support for the sponsorship. This marketing support would determine exactly how the company is going to maximize use of the sponsorship and, get the results that are required.

Many companies formulate overall marketing plans a year in advance but remain flexible enough to respond to new opportunities. As such a new sponsor needs to give consideration to it’s existing marketing strategy before undertaking a sponsorship. After this has been reviewed it is easier to decide how to integrate motorsports into it’s strategy.

This usually means that many different departments of the sponsoring firm must come together to preview how to integrate the motorsport sponsorship. For example, if the advertising department of a company has decided that they want to use racing as an advertising medium, they will probably need to agree to a joint strategy with brand managers and/or the sales department. This is important in order to gain full results from the sponsorship across all company operations. Racing sponsorship has the unique ability to present impactful tactics to every area of business activities making this planning-stage crucial to success.

Staffing For Sponsorship
Once a company has decided to undertake a sponsorship program thought needs to be given to allocating appropriate resources to the program. To insure a company maximizes their involvement in racing, a variety of marketing support activities are usually put into action. These can be extremely time-consuming.

A new sponsor therefore needs to decide whether they want to allocate their own resources from “in-house” or look outside for help. Looking outside can involve either employing extra specialist-staff to coordinate the program or engaging a Motorsport Marketing Agency to act on the company’s behalf. Such agencies are regarded as an extension of the sponsor’s own marketing department.

Additional Information
  • Read more of Darrell and his team’s material at



    By Darrell Sitarz, Editor

    (Editor note: As the Spring selling season continues in earnest and with the world-wide enonomy as it is, it is important that we examine and understand the very reason we are in business: TO MAKE A PROFIT. In the Spring of 1995, (and again in 1998 and 2001), we ran an article addressing this very issue. The article proved to be one of the most widely read and praised articles to appear in KMI and on e-KMI. We have has many requests to re-run the article again, and are pleased to present it in its entirety.)


    According to the dictionary, ETHICS is a “system of conduct and principles practiced by a person or group”; or, “pertaining to the morals or principles of morality”; or, “pertaining to right and wrong conduct”.

    In other words, ethics is conduct that is considered right, moral and proper by yourself, your peer group and society at large.

    In regards to profitability in the karting industry, an attitude has developed over the years that the lowest price is the best price, and that a sale at any price is its own justification. For a lack of a better name, we’ll call it the “No Profit Attitude”. The basis for this attitude is that ONLY the lowest price is worthy of a buyer’s consideration.

    This attitude implies that a dealer offering products for sale at any price higher than the lowest price available from any and all competitors is somehow taking advantage of, defrauding, cheating or otherwise unethically abusing his/her customers.

    The “No Profit Attitude” is widespread and appears to be shared by customers, suppliers and sadly, by dealers.

    This belief fails to recognize that the customer’s best interests are served by buying products from a dealer who is profitable not just at the time of sale, but well into the future. It erroneously confers legitimacy upon a customer’s need to make a wise buying decision, while simultaneously conferring illegitimacy upon a dealer’s need to make sufficient profit.

    From an ethical standpoint, this attitude puts the customer on the offensive and the dealer on the defensive. It allows customers to regard themselves and their quest for the lowest price as being morally and ethically inferior.

    You can sense this attitude in customers and hear it in their voices. How often have you heard, “I’m going to buy it where I can get the lowest price”?

    Too many dealers are taken by this attitude. They are afraid to be regarded as “too high”. Too many dealers accept this erroneous implication. They act as if they are guilty of some terrible crime. This is an illogical, unethical attitude and is detrimental to the long-term interests of customers, suppliers, dealers, employees, the community and the industry.

    This attitude is an outgrowth of the ruinous price cutting and marketing strategies by suppliers as they reacted to their own problems in the marketplace in the 1980’s. It was born out of uncertainty and chaos of the money crunch, collapsed markets, high interest rates, vast inventories, excess production capacity, bankruptcies, mergers, etc. that occurred at the time. It was fostered and given strength and credibility by desperate, shortsighted (although then probably necessary) solutions adopted by distributors and dealers as they struggled to survive and adapt to the short-term needs of a suddenly volatile environment.

    The attitude was quickly seized upon and adopted by customers. Who developed and reinforced it, and raised it to an art form in what they perceived as their own self-interest. It was likewise reinforced and given credibility by truly desperate dealers who shamelessly sold their wares like streetwalkers running an auction.

    Pricing was sold instead of features and benefits; price instead of product knowledge; price instead of the right product for the customer. If a customer recognized product deficiencies and hesitated, the price was further reduced by distributors and dealers alike in an endless downward spiral, completely destroying the credibility of honest ethical dealing.

    Unfortunately, the ethical high ground of value was abandoned with a retreat into the unethical mire of a “sale at any price”. It is there where many in the karting industry find themselves today.

    It is not surprising that many karting consumers have adopted this attitude, as well. Many of them make infrequent product purchases and perhaps lack the detailed knowledge that a dealer possesses. Because of this, they may lack the experience and capability of making a valid comparison based on value rather than price. They (the consumer) may not be aware, until too late, that there are other values worth considering. But no one takes the trouble to tell them.

    Dealers found it easier to cut price - to meet or beat the price offered by competitors. When you fall in line with this strategy, you reinforce the erroneous perception that you can sell your product at any price you choose and still make a profit. You prove there is no bottom line - that the only reason for you to ask a higher price is that you are greedier. This is the customer’s perception.

    It is the job of manufacturers, distributors and dealers to show the customer the error of this perception; to re-establish the credibility and to make certain that they not only deal ethically with the customer, but to make certain that the customer perceives a transaction as being ethical and in their own best interests.

    To make certain that the customer receives full value for money spent is not the same as meting or beating the lowest price. The karting industry needs to understand this, and it is the industry’s responsibility to make sure customers understand this as well.

    All customers are different. But there is one thing in common they understand and have experience with MONEY! They have to work hard for it; they never have enough of it; everything cost too much! This is their basis for their ready acceptance and zealous allegiance to the “low price” attitude.

    Shamefully, many dealers have accepted the “No Profit Attitude” and have adopted a mindset that prevents them from asking for a sufficient profit in the first place. There are several reasons for this.

    They are afraid of being too expensive and losing a sale. They would rather lose money than lose a sale. Some are afraid of offending a customer or being ridiculed for being too expensive. They are afraid of being thought of by a customer as unethical or of being made to feel deceitful.

    The most common reasons, however, are cowardice and laziness. Given the current mindset, it take considerably less intestinal fortitude and effort to quote a cheaper price than to properly establish and defend the values involved in a higher price.

    It is easier to go along with customers in their blind quest for the lowest price than it is to exercise the moral fiber and put forth the mental effort necessary to help customers understand the greater value your products and place of business have to offer.

    In a nutshell, it is unethical to sell goods and services for less than they cost, including the full cost of overhead and a decent return on investment.

    Implicit in this attitude that price is the only value involved, is the thought that it is foolish to spend one penny more than you have to. Taken to the extreme, this attitude implies that the honest merchant who is charging a little more money but giving a lot more value, is somehow cheating or exploiting customers, when nothing could be further from the truth.

    This attitude tends to downplay differences in product, service, location, reputation, experience or any number of factors of real value to a customer. It disregards these differences and pretends to assume that all goods and services are created equal. It tries to ignore differences in specifications, quality, ease of use, convenience, dependability, availability, longevity, etc. — all of which contribute to long-term satisfaction and value to the user, and increase residual value.

    Self-preservation is the first law of nature. No one will willingly act against his or her own perceived self-interests. Perception is the key. The karting industry needs to challenge and change the erroneous perceptions that are damaging the sales landscape. It needs to change the way the public, existing customers and possibly retailers perceive its role in the selling process. The manufacturers and distributors did what they thought was necessary to survive, as did kart dealers and customers. But at what cost?

    WHAT PRICE SURVIVAL? If low prices and low profit were the result of the loss or moral and ethical values in the karting industry, then the price the industry has paid has truly been too high. The industry has survived, but it has lost its way in the process. It often forgets that ethics requires it to make a reasonable profit.

    In accepting the “No Profit Attitude”, the karting industry is maneuvered into believing that products and services are unworthy of consumer’s and karter’s consideration on any basis other than lower price. However, the price paid for goods and services is not the only measure of value that the customer receives, nor is it even the best measure.

    Consider how often the customer who compares only price ends up buying karts or equipment he/she thought was equal to what was quoted, but in fact, was not.

    Consider the values of availability, timeliness of delivery or repair, prestige, satisfaction, peace of mind, comfort, convenience and safety.

    Consider the value to the customer of proper set-up, adjustments and instruction in the safe and effective use of the product. Consider the value to the customer of proper parts inventory and a reliable service organization - both now and into the future.

    Sellers should consider all these things and then take the time to help the customer consider them. The few extra dollars spent with a seller for all these extra values will be returned to the customers many times throughout the life of a product and beyond.

    There is usually and quite logically, a greater cost attached to higher quality goods and services. But, there is also a greater valued attached to their ownership and use. There is the quality of performance, ease, speed, or economy. There is convenience, comfort, satisfaction, as well as durability, dependability and longevity.

    More often than not, the sum of all these values is far greater than the difference in cost which so often seduces an unwary buyer. The person who spends more money usually receives more value for his/her money than the person who chooses lesser-priced goods. A phrase coined long ago, “Quality is remembered long after price is forgotten”, should be a guiding principle for business-people today.

    A seller does customers a disservice and possibly acts unethically when he/she allows customers to passively buy the wrong products from the wrong sellers because of lower prices.

    On the other hand, a sellers acts ethically when he/she tells customers sincerely, honestly and convincingly of the values they may be depriving themselves by blindly accepting just lower prices.

    Consider for a moment, the ethics of allowing a customer to shop price alone and disregard all other forms of value.

    Consider, as a seller, the satisfaction and extra value you are depriving the customer. The customer came to you seeking to make a purchase. You owe the customer your best effort and best advice. To give a customer anything less is wrong.

    Consider the ethics of doing business at prices that do not allow a company to pay sufficient wages to attract and train and keep qualified help.

    Consider the ethics of profits so low that the business fall further and further behind that of the customers being served.

    Consider the ethics of being forced out of business by low profits and having to abandon customers and their purchases. Wouldn’t customers be better served by a seller who charges a little more and can remain in business, to care for the needs of customers, and to reinforce the value of the products sold?

    It is the seller’s responsibility to make certain that customers perceive the seller as ethical. On the whole, there is a responsibility to customers, suppliers, employees, the community and the government.

    The responsibility includes, but is not limited to: A seller owes his/her customers full value for money spent. The customer deserves value and satisfaction with purchases at the time of sale and into the future.

    A seller owes suppliers good representation in the marketplace and customer satisfaction with their goods. A seller owes suppliers timely payments.

    A seller owes employees good jobs at good wages and the chance to advance and improve themselves - the chance to be proud of their place of employment and of the job they perform.

    A seller owes the community a prosperous, well-managed business that offers steady employment plus community pride and involvement.

    A seller owes loved ones a decent living, secure future, a reasonable amount of time and a chance to carry on the business if they so desire.

    A seller owes the government prompt payment of all taxes due and conformity to all laws and regulations.

    All of these things are owed to all of these people and it’s profit that makes it possible.

    To summarize, ethics do not require sellers to meet or beat the price of any and all competitors. Ethics do require that customers be given full value for the money they spend. They also require that a sufficient profit be made to fulfill the responsibilities to all parties that have a claim on the seller.

    Every seller has a duty to make a profit!

    In these times, with the karting industry going through a renaissance of sorts, dealers, distributors and manufacturers must find their way out of the unconscionable attitude that there must be a sale at any price, and recapture the ethical high ground of “value”.

    Value, not price, needs to be estimated as the truest and best means for customers to get their money’s worth.

    And customers, too, must realize that the karting industry is there to serve them and that each business is entitled to make an honest, ethical profit.

    Read more of Darrell and his team’s material at