There is a saying in motorsport that before you drive fast you need to learn how to drive slowly. This is also the case on our track. Before even the best drivers step into a kart they will go on a track walk learning everything they can about the circuit, from surface grip to camber levels, braking points and track width. Get comfortable with the kart and all of its controls, slowly finding a rhythm.
THE RACING LINE
Drivers will use track walks to learn every little detail about the track, helping them plan their racing line. A racing line is basically the fastest way round the track. There is usually only one racing line round a given track however it can vary slightly depending on the driver’s preferences. A perfect racing line will make the circumference of a corner as wide as possible allowing the driver to carry maximum speed through a corner.
OUTSIDE INSIDE OUTSIDE
When driving a track approaching a corner you will start on the outside of the track, turn in to the inside of the track, then back out wide to the outside of the track.
HOW TO FIND A RACING LINE
Finding a racing line is easy, all you need to do is identify 3 key points for every corner on the track: You need to find the turn in point, the clipping point and the track out point. Remember all three of the points, join them up mentally like a game of dot to dot. Do this for every corner of the track and there you have it, the racing line!
Turn In Point – This is the point on track where you want your kart to be positioned on the entry of a corner for you to be able to carry as much speed through the corner as possible, the wider the better.
Clipping Point – The clipping point is the innermost point of the line taken through the corner. The apex is often the centre of the turn. Hitting this point allows the kart to take the straightest line and maintain the highest speed through that specific corner.
Track Out Point – The track out point is where you want to be placing your kart on the exit of a corner to make use of all the track and like mentioned before carry as much speed as possible. If you have carried the correct amount of speed into the corner and hit the clipping point you will find your kart naturally runs out wide towards the Track Out Point.
The racing line starts on the outside of the track (turn in point), near the edge. Then the line cuts into the corner, hitting the inside apex (clipping point) after which it goes towards the corner exit, (track out point) again completely on the outside.
Remember the term Outside Inside Outside.
Of course each corner is different, and each corner has its own best racing line. It is up to you to discover and learn this line, exactly why track knowledge is a very important factor to driving fast.
While a racing line is the fastest way round a track, it may not always be the best way round. For example when attacking or defending a position in a race the fastest way round the track could leave you wide open for an opponent to overtake. Therefor you might drive defensively which will add a few seconds to your lap time but will keep the challenger behind you.
Watch out for our blog on Defensive Driving Tactics, coming soon!