How to Use Wet Karting Techniques to Devastating Effect
Is driving in the wet a complete mystery to you? Do you
find that some drivers seem to literally sail off into the distance
while you are left slipping and sliding trying to keep the kart
on the black stuff? Well once you have read this article you will
be praying for rain and itching to get out there.
Driving a kart in the wet isn't all about being super-smooth
and being frightened that the kart will bite you for pushing
it hard. In fact, I will say when driving in the wet you have
to be much more physical, much more forceful and drive with
flair. Wet karting gives you even more opportunity to let
yourself go- more than the dry even!!
Check out the video below to see a shining example
of wet kart driving as my student for the day Curt Holmes
Jnr rotax catches and passes the works Birel superstar Jon
So before we start, forget about being ultra-delicate on the brakes
and turning the steering wheel tentatively (save that for when you
get into F3)....we are going to talk about stamping on the brakes
to make tyres bite into the track, and snapping the steering wheel
round like you want to bend the track rods!
The Wet Line
Is the fastest line around the track in the wet the same as in
the dry? 99% of the time the answer is no. I can't tell you the
exact wet line for every track here, but I can give you a pretty
good place to start.
Stay off the Rubber
In the dry the best grip is normally found on the normal racing
line, and that is where all the tyre rubber gets laid down giving
even more grip. But when it rains, rubber is super slippery- so
you have to go and find a new line where there is no rubber. Normally
its round the outside of the corner.
Take a look at your circuit before you drive and you can easily
see the darker racing line covered in rubber, and where you can
see a lighter colour there isn't so much rubber....and in the wet
that's where you want your kart to be! Keep those observations in
mind when driving in the wet. You will find you need to experiment
using the wet line, and there will be more than one way round on
a wet line. You have to go out there and feel where that grip is
That's pretty much it with the wet line...not so mysterious really
Wet Driving Techniques- It Just Doesn't Seem Right but it Works!!
Ok, for a kart to work and get you around a corner it needs to
lift the rear wheel on the inside of the kart, and to do that it
needs a certain amount of grip to get the chassis to roll over toward
the outside front wheel.
Now, in the wet you find there just isn't enough grip around to
get a kart to do that easily.....so we have to force the kart to
Here's how we go about forcing the kart to work in the wet.
Lets say you are approaching a tight 90 degree left bend, like
The Boot at Whilton.
1. When you brake hit the pedal in a short sharp motion, enough
to get the rear tyres to lock almost and bite into the track. A
nice gentle push on the brake just won't do because it kills the
kart. We want the kart to feel quite lively, and you need to get
it working and biting so you can get a feel for what grip is available.
Also, you want to reduce the amount of time on the brakes and braking
needs to be out of the way before you turn in.
2. Remember we are taking a wet line away from the rubber. So we
turn into the boot very very late. And when you turn the wheel you
snap it into full lock...hard and fast.
Now, the kart doesn't turn and spin....you turned the wheel so
fast and it's like you shocked it into a huge understeer. But, you
are also getting maximum jacking effect from the front end and when
the kart finds a bit of grip it will turn....and it will turn very
Also, since the front end is sliding, it is slowing you down too-
acting like front brakes.
3.When you snap that steering wheel round, you will naturally need
to lean forward a little because turning the wheel will extend your
reach. That's a good thing and you should lean forward and towards
the outside of the kart. In doing that you are taking weight from
the rear and putting it over the front, which helps the kart to
lift that rear inside wheel.
4. When you get the timing right, you will find the kart turns
quite hard and sharp, that's when you need to get your weight back
over the rear wheels, get the steering straight as possible and
accelerate away, intoduce the power gradually feeling for traction...always
being careful to get as much traction as possible.
So, next time you see a forecast for rain get the van loaded up
and rush over to your local circuit, get out there and try all this
out.That's what Ayrton Senna used to do!
At first you will find it very difficult to put all these new ideas
together, but stick at it because I promise you it will put you
at the front when you work it out
If you have any questions about wet driving, or any kart driving
questions please get in touch with my office using the details below
EvenFlow Kart Driver Coaching