Here are the things that are readily available either cheap or free, and form the basics of the self-sufficient and rapidly improving kart driver. I’m always impressed when I meet a driver who covers all these bases, but I shouldn’t be since its very basic stuff for drivers who want to win.

Data – if you have a Mychron5, Unipro, Alfano 6   do you know how to use the software and read your own data?  If you have any of the above systems and don’t download the data after every run then that’s criminal.

If you have a regular Mychron4 you can still download the rpm Vs time and figure out where you are losing and gaining time on different laps, and doing so without the full system will make you a data ninja because you’ll have to learn the hard way.

Pen and paper – if you aren’t winning already and don’t make detailed track notes about things you need to try to get quicker, then you are letting a lot of performance pass you by.

Simulator – you know everyone in professional racing spends half their life on a sim…. They aren’t messing around with their mates but making actual progress with their driving.

If you have a ps4/xbox/ pc then you have access to very similar tech for very little money.  If you don’t have the money for a wheel etc then anything will do. The sim I got the most out of was called Indy 500 from 1989 which I drove with the keyboard.  What I learned from that is more than the majority of folk get out of a day at a professional facility!

Pull up bar and floor – that’s all you need for a comprehensive physical preparation routine.  Want to push the boat out? you’ll need a broom handle and some string tied to something heavy…. A lead weight will do. Now you can do push ups, planks, pull ups, chin ups, wrist rolls and a whole host of body weight exercise. Callisthenics is as good an exercise programme as anyone can dream of for karting.

Youtube – just about every track has a video of someone very quick giving away all their secrets…. Go figure, but it’s there and free! Have your pen and paper ready and take down notes of what you will steal and try out next time you drive.

Go-pro – watch your own on-board video and note how many apexes you hit… do yourself a mark out of ten…. You need to get 10/10.  Don’t just watch your videos for fun and Facebook – be objective, analyse yourself and set new performance goals. Go-pro cameras are expensive, but you can get cheap cameras very easily that do a perfectly good job.

Eat right – if you go to the burger van at the track and order yourself junk, then you are slowing yourself down.  Eat little and often, fruit, nuts, energy bars with seeds and nuts (not Mars bars !), dates. Drink a lot of water… It’s simple stuff.

 

Image courtesy of Antony Marcano

 

Check out the book transforming the results of kart drivers world wide.

 

What is better, using strict braking points or just hitting the brake when it feels right?

My answer….Whichever you prefer!

Here are the pros and cons of using strict braking points vs braking by instinct.

Using strict braking points.

Pros

  • You always know it’s going to work which inspires confidence
  • You can adjust the braking point by small amounts and experiment with the outcome
  • You can communicate with your data engineer (could be you mum!) about exact points on the track…. Data folk like exactness
  • It makes perfect rational sense to use braking points
  • When someone says you need to brake later, you have an reference point to either try it or argue that you do brake as late as they as you should

Cons

  • Conditions change, you’ll need to have a different braking point for each condition or know how to adjust according to your braking point
  • Novel situations mean you lose your reference point and have to brake safely to ensure you make the corner (overtaking or driving in a close pack)
  • You might be slow to react to a track improving and adjusting braking point a lap or two later than optimum

Braking by instinct

Pros

  • You can ignore braking points and focus on the next point so looking further down the road
  • Instinct brakers tend to adjust very quickly to grip changes, braking later according to the grip they feel over a lap
  • Ignoring braking point frees up mental processing power for everything else that makes you fast
  • Overtaking and situations that you have to throw yourself into are easier if you can just do it and not worry by about correct braking point

Cons

  • Instinct brakers can find themselves a slave to whatever mood they are in, how they feel can determine where they brake sometimes to detriment of performance
  • When braking point is open there is no base point to rely on, so when something isn’t feeling right it’s hard to get confident
  • It’s hard to talk to your team about where you brake if you decide on the fly, so it can get frustrating in the pit
  • When someone says you need to brake later, or earlier it can seem like a vague and useless piece if information

Which one are you? Most drivers know which option appeals to them….. And all the cons can be improved and worked on when you understand them.

 

Check out the book transforming the results of kart drivers world wide.