By Karting1 ~ June 23rd, 2006. Filed under: Ask the Karting Coach Answers.
A Dutch Rotax kart driver writes to ask about my looking ahead karting tips
I’m a rotax driver from the Netherlands and have some questions about your driving technics.
Before I read your articles I thought I was racing quite well, but wanted to try everything you said.
Unfortunately there are some things that doesn’t go very well.
The looking further ahead technic, I just can’t get it properly working. I am trying the whole time to keep looking forward but after a minute or so I’m going back with looking at the track. When I try it in the race im switching the whole time between looking forward like in your mini course and my old bad habit : looking at the track.
When thinking ahead, I got the feeling I don’t pick my apex right. When going in to a corner, should I look at lets say the curb, or should I look as high as the level of my helmet is(then I’m lets say looking ‘over’ the corner)
I hope you’ll understand what I mean , cause im not an englishman
Thanks in advance!
Ok, it sounds like you might be forcing yourself to look too far ahead, then getting tired of it and resorting to looking down at the ground again as you drive your kart.
Here’s what I suggest you do next time your are karting:
1. When you get out on the circuit don’t try to do any looking ahead, just drive.
2. As you are driving be aware of where you are focussing your attention. If you notice you are looking too much at the track immediately in front of you don’t try to change it yet, just make sure you are aware of it
3. Now here is the tricky bit! You need to be aware of what the consequences are of keeping your focus too short. Here’s some things you might notice:-
- You rely heavily on fast reaction times and turn the wheel too hard and fast
- You notice that you have made a mistake with your line only after you missed an apex
- You find your exits to corners don’t prepare you perfectly for the following corner
- If you really pay attention, you might notice you are driving using your memory to tell you when to brake and turn the wheel, and that you are talking yourself round the track
The point of this is to get a real understanding for yourself of how your kart driving works, and the way you think as you drive. If I were with you at the track we would be able to go through what you noticed, and talk through it all corner by corner- so unless you want to fly me over you will need to do that part with your mechanic! Next…..
- Choose just one corner, maybe one where you notice that you rely heavily on your memory or notice yourself looking down a great deal as you drive. A long fast corner would be best
- Draw a diagram of the corner and mark in detail where the entry point, apex point and exit points are
- Go take a look at those actual points on the real track and make sure you know exactly where they are. If you can, go stand on those points, crouch down low and get a good perspective of how it looks.
- Go out on track and as you approch that corner make sure you find the entry point well before you get to the corner
- As you approach the entrypoint find the apex point and also notice and evaluate your position relative to the entry point you wanted to hit.
- Hit your apex point, and as you do so, be focussing on the exit point, whilst assesing how well you just hit your apex.
At first this is really tough to do because your brain would much prefer to rely on memory to drive rather than having to work hard and be fully aware of what is going on, but when you get it right you will feel like something clicked into place, a ‘eureka moment’.
So overall the idea is to stop your brain lapsing into driving using memory to tell you where you are on the track, and for you to focus on real points on the track that you recognise. That means looking for very specific entry points, apex points and exit points. So don’t just think ‘look ahead’, you need to look for actual real points on the track.
Hope this helps and please leave a comment below if you need to make further points
Author Terence Dove