karting and kart racing free tips home  


 

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.

 

martyn Lyell wet karting

 

 

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 Lancaster!!

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 tip!

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 sharp.

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

Terence Dove
EvenFlow Kart Driver Coaching