Cornering is one of the most important aspects of go-karting, allowing you to reduce your lap time and race like a pro. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced racer, learning these tips will help you master cornering like never before!
The best way to improve your cornering is through consistent practice. With expert tips and tricks, this blog post will help you become a champion at every turn!
Visual Target Fixation
It’s essential to have a substantially faster response time when racing on a circuit like MB2 Raceway in Sylmar CA. Reacting swiftly will help you avoid an accident, pass someone, or even win a race since things may change in an instant!
It’s also important to always look ahead when driving. Go-karts are low to the ground and can feel fast, so it’s easy to get distracted and hyper-fixated on something right before you. It’s a good idea to practice looking a few stages ahead of you and be able to catch yourself when you are falling into this trap.
This will also ensure you don’t accidentally steer into a tree or object you do not intend to hit. Remember that your bike tends to go where you look, so if you’re staring at it, you’ll likely hit it.
Manage Your Speed
While this may seem obvious, managing your speed as you take a corner is crucial. Trying to steer through a turn with full throttle can result in understeer and even crashing into another kart (or the barriers at a track).
It’s important to keep your speed down as you enter a corner, allowing you to come out and accelerate smoothly onto the next straightaway. This will also help you carry more speed around the track as you progress through each bend and stretch.
Another helpful tip is to watch a noticeably fast driver as you go through a practice session. Seeing what they do right (and wrong) can help you improve your driving style and drop those lap times. Watch someone in the race’s lead or near the top of the timing sheets.
Maintain a Steady Throttle
Using smooth, controlled acceleration is vital to maintaining speed and avoiding wheel spin. Avoid jerking the wheel or slamming on the throttle, and remember to anticipate your turns and curves ahead of time to make sure you can navigate them smoothly.
Aim to keep your hands at a quarter to three positions on the steering wheel, as this will give you more precise control of your kart. This will also allow you to react faster to any steering slips.
Try using trail braking when entering corners, where you maintain a small amount of braking pressure before the turn and then gradually release it as you enter the apex. This helps with weight transfer and can improve your cornering stability. It’s a technique that world-class racers like Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen use.
Lean With Your Bike
Keeping the bike leaning smoothly into a turn is easier than you think. Just push down and forward on the inside end of the handlebar. Using this technique will tighten your trajectory through the corner, causing you to take the center line of the track more precisely than the outside edge.
This is a key aspect to getting more speed out of your kart. However, the amount of lean needed will vary based on the track and driver. You’ll need to experiment with different chassis flexes and steering geometry until you find the right balance of lean angle to unload the inside rear wheel without causing binding.
Remember to approach a corner wide, lean into it, and then look to the exit. This will give you the most control and allow you to use a maximum of the track.
Brake Early or Late
Braking is one of the most crucial aspects of go-kart racing. With it, you will gain momentum and potentially run off the track or have an accident.
To brake correctly, you must understand the different parts of a corner, such as the approach, the apex, and the exit. You must also know when to apply braking pressure, including the type and duration.
Threshold braking is when you apply enough pressure to the brakes to keep them from locking up and losing traction. It takes a lot of practice, but it is very helpful in improving your lap times. The other form of braking is trail braking. This is when you maintain a certain level of braking pressure into the turn and slowly release it as you move through the apex.