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…
Watch the karting clip of Jason Parrot here first. Then carefully read these notes, because it’s the detail that counts here!
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.
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!
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.
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 www.evenflow.co.uk to get a free copy of Terence’s ‘Advanced Kart Driving Techniques’ E-book.
Do also visit www.karting1.co.uk for more articles, interviews and videos by both Terence and Allan Dove.