Ultimate Karting Tips: The Racing Line
In this 4-part blog series, we'll tell you everything you need to know to get ahead of the competition next time you're at our track!
One of the biggest foundations of racing is the racing line. It's, quite simply, the quickest way around the track. Even if you're willing to brake late into the corners, if you're not following the racing line, you're losing loads of time!
A common misconception is that the racing line is the quickest way around a corner but taking a corner as quickly as possible may leave you on the back foot for the next section of track.
Once you understand the racing line, you can apply these basic principles to any corner you come across on any track (preferably ours!).
1 | Braking Points
Before you even reach the corner, you'll have to slow down and prepare for the turn(s). The point where you brake is literally called a braking point. Ideally, you want to brake as late as possible without compromising your racing line. Braking too late will, more often than not, send you deep into the corner and compromise your exit. At worst, you may even end up on the grass or in some tyres! Pictured below is our last corner, Paddock. It's essential to get on the power as soon as possible for the straight so braking late and running wide (shown in red) will really compromise your speed on exit.
Braking too early, on the other hand, is arguably not as bad as braking too late. Although you're slowing down too early, it'll give you more time to plan out the corner and absolutely nail the line.
To find a braking point, we recommend braking a little later and later until you reach the sweet spot. This will be where you don't go deep and you don't have to coast before turning in. To help you memorise the braking point, you can pinpoint bumps or marks in the track or tyre walls as little reminders.
2 | Turning in
Very simply, the turn-in point is the point you begin turning the steering wheel to point towards the apex (the tip of the corner). How late or early you start turning will mostly depend on the section of track after the corner.
Pictured in the example is our first corner, Senna. Coming in from the bottom, your turn-in will begin quite early but you'll sharpen up as you reach the apex. Since the next corner is a flat-out right-hander, you'll want to straighten up and get on the power as soon as possible.
At some corners, you may begin turning before or during braking. Senna is notoriously difficult to perfect as you will have to begin braking and turning almost at the same time. This is known as trail braking and it's a tricky art to master.
3 | Mid-Corner
Depending on what corner you're whizzing around, the mid-corner will be where you're preparing for the exit/next corner or correcting any mistakes you made on entry.
The example adjacent is of our far corner, The Esses. In the example, the red line is the racing line and the blue line is of a driver who didn't get the mid-corner right. After a really long turn-in, braking perfectly and hitting the apex, they didn't plan ahead and compromised their entry for the right-hander.
It's important to look as far ahead as you can and try your best to plan where you're placing the kart next. This can be difficult at a track you don't know yet but, once you start memorising the layout, this will come naturally.
4 | Exit
So you've absolutely nailed the corner up to this point and all you have to do now is get a great exit. You want to be as smooth as possible while using all of the track and/or grip you have available. In simpler terms, only steer as much as you need to in order to stay on track.
Pictured adjacent is our hairpin, 180. Getting a great exit is crucial here as it leads onto a flat-out corner (The Warren) and then the back straight. You want to get on the power as soon as possible and with minimal steering. You can see that the turn into the hairpin is quite sharp and all of the steering inputs afterwards are very smooth.
In most cases, you'll let your kart flow to the full width of the track. On the exit of 180, this isn't necessary as you can stay flat out and not lose any speed.
Put yourself to the test in one of our Practice Sessions! At these sessions, our marshals are more than happy to help you out with the racing line. Check out our Youtube too - we have a guide to the racing line!
- Use the full width of the track to carry as much speed through corners
- Try and brake a little later and later while still clipping the apex.
- Keep it smooth.
- Look ahead and plan where to place your kart.
- Memorise marks in tyre walls or on the track to set braking/turning-in points.