Go-Kart Cornering Tips
Before we start with the go-kart cornering tips, I want to paint you a little picture. You’re speeding down the raceway, first in your heat but with another kart gaining on you to your right.
You see a sharp corner up ahead and brace yourself to take it. You veer to the right at high speed hoping to take out the other racer at the same time as you take the corner. But as you’re turning into the corner, the inside rear wheel lifts off the ground. Your natural reflex is to slam on your brakes midway through your curve and three other racers pull ahead of you as you try to orient yourself to continue the race. Now, with only two people behind you, you have to speed up to win the race but each corner you take, the same thing happens and you end up dead last.
Without going into the shockingly extensive physics behind how exactly this works, we want to teach you some go-kart cornering tips that’ll help you take these sharp turns more efficiently. Here’s the five-step process for better cornering:
Step #1: Brake Early
As you approach the curve, start braking a little earlier than you might expect that you need to. Brake early then let off the brake completely as you come to the turning point.
Step #2: Gradually Steer
Don’t start steering too early, just be patient and wait until you are just about to start the turn. At this point, begin a small and gradual steer as smoothly and incrementally as possible.
Step #3: Turn the Wheel Slightly
As you start to turn the corner, turn the wheel ever so slightly, keeping your hand movements slow and smooth. You’ll start to feel the cart increase its cornering load.
Step #4: Keep the Wheel Steady
At this point, you’ll have turned the kart as much as you need to make the turn. Now hold the wheel right where it is until you pass the apex of the bend. Go-karts load in a similar way to a spring: you have to hold onto what you’ve got (the work you’ve put into steering the wheel the proper amount to get you around the curve) or else all will be lost.
Tip #5: Straighten the Wheel
Once you’ve turned beyond the apex, you can start to slowly and smoothly straighten the wheel. You’ll feel the grip increasing and at this point, with both interior wheels completely on the raceway’s surface, you can accelerate quickly.