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Karting In Adverse Weather Conditions

By: Sally Aquire - Updated: 11 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Karting In Adverse Weather Conditions

Karting can be challenging at the best of times but this is even more so when the weather is poor. You need different karting skills to be successful in adverse weather conditions, but once you can get to grips with this, you should have an advantage on most of your competitors, particularly as many of them won’t have the same skills.

Braking in Wet Weather

Braking on a wet track is different to braking on a dry track. You should aim to hit the brake very sharply to get the rear tyres to lock and “bite” (grip) the track. If you don’t do this, your Go-kart is likely to skid, slide or fly off the track because the tyres don’t have enough grip. When you’re driving in the wet, you need to be much aggressive on the brake than you usually would, and you can’t afford to be cautious. Aim to spend as little time on the brake as possible.

Turning into Corners in Wet Weather

Most drivers want to take the driest possible line because they aren‘t confident about driving in the wet, but this isn’t always the right idea as this is where most of the rubber from other drivers’ tyres will collect. This can be dangerous, as the rubber will make the track slippery. Because of this, there will be a lot less grip on the drier line. Generally, this line will be darker because of the discarded rubber.

It’s better to take the wet line where there will be less debris to contend with. This line tends to be lighter because it hasn’t collected so much rubber. Turn into the corner as late as possible, and lock the wheels by turning the wheel sharply. This will let the tyres “bite” the track and minimise the chances of sliding. Lean forward towards the outside of the Go-kart at the same time as turning in sharply. This will re-balance the Go-kart.

If you have found the right timing, the Go-kart will turn into the corner in a hard and sharp motion. At this point, you need to lean back to re-distribute the weight balance again, straighten up the steering wheel and accelerate (don‘t accelerate too much - you want to build the power up gradually). Finding the right timing is usually a trial-and-error process, and often takes a lot of practice to perfect. This is one area that you can gain an advantage over your fellow drivers, as many of them will be unwilling to practice in the wet, particularly if they don’t feel comfortable in the conditions.

As a general rule of thumb, you want to take the exact opposite racing line to the one that you’d take in the dry. It’s tempting to take the normal racing line, but this is potentially an accident waiting to happen. You need to adopt an aggressive driving style in wet weather - go hard on the brakes and don’t be afraid to really turn the steering wheel. Many drivers want to be extra-cautious, and this is often the wrong move, as the tyres won’t have enough grip.

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