You’ve learned to build the fastest go-kart on the track, but now you’re just one second behind…and it’s your turn to race. You’re nervous. Perhaps you’re focusing a bit too much on that shiny trophy at the end of the bench and not enough on the most important part of this race: your go-kart braking techniques.
If you’ve ever driven a go-kart, you would know how different it is from normal cars. If you haven’t driven one, It’s still okay. All you need to know is that the braking technique used in go-karts differs significantly from that used in cars.
When it comes to driving slower speeds, slowing down in a full-size car works quite the same as it would in a go-kart. But when the speeds start becoming similar to those of a car racing track, then the braking techniques have to be tweaked a little bit.
The most important thing you have to do when learning how to go-kart race is get a feel for your kart. Your style will emerge as you get a grip on how your kart handles and what you need to do to drive fast.
How To Properly Brake In A Go Kart
Learning how to brake properly will improve your lap times by reducing lap time gaps and increasing your confidence during driving sessions.
Speed, speed, and more speed! The thrill of driving a go-kart is pretty incomparable. But while the speed is certainly a highlight, it’s also the brakes that keep you in control.
Unfortunately, many beginners tend to have difficulty managing their braking skills.
Here are a few easy tips to assist you to understand your kart brake better and hopefully, mastering it.
Your First Step Is To Choose A Start Point
After making a perfect corner, you are already thinking of another turn. But before that, you will have to slow down. You need to understand the basics of braking.
A go-kart is an easy vehicle to control during braking. As a beginner, you can apply the brakes at any time without worrying about losing control.
Failure to do so may lead to unpleasant consequences such as losing control or damaging other components in your kart.
It’s a sharp turn with a long way ahead of it, so it’s ideal for honing your braking abilities. It gives you ample leeway to slow down or speed up as needed.
The most important thing in braking is knowing where your breaking point lies. This is where you start to lose control of the vehicle and if you go any faster you will most likely spin out or crash. Finding an ideal braking point can be difficult at first, but once you get used to it, it will be relatively easy.
One Of The Most Common Mistakes That New Go-Kart Drivers Make Is Choosing An Inadequate Braking Point
Any go-kart owner will tell you that braking is a serious skill. Braking too late may result in you going out of bounds. Braking too early, however, will make you lose speed and time. The only way to ensure that you have the right amount of brakes is by practicing the right braking techniques.
Braking too late into turns If you do this, there is a strong chance that you will crash into the side of the track. To avoid this, start braking at least a second before you enter the curve or turn. This is an essential part of every driver’s skill development.
Once You See The Breaking Point, Hit Your Brakes!
Having the necessary skills and techniques to get past your competitors is a crucial part of kart racing. Taking advantage of the correct braking technique may give you the edge you need to win.
As you approach the braking point, be sure to press the brake pedal with great force. Do not apply brakes gently, as standard braking will not be sufficient for kart racing.
Remember To Reduce Pressure And Take Back Control
Gaining control of your go-kart after you have released the brakes is one of the most important skills to learn. You need to learn how to do it correctly so that you don’t let off the brake too much and let your kart accelerate too quickly.
The problem is that a lot of people don’t know how to control the pressure on their brakes enough, so they end up with skids and other issues.
Once you’ve released the brakes on your go-kart, ease up and begin to steer. When you leave the brakes, your cart will swing side to side a little, so be ready.
How Do You Decide When To Brake?
Go-kart drivers are always in search of the perfect braking technique. Being the quickest and smooth isn’t enough to stop on a dime. You also have to know when to brake.
Just like on a road, if you don’t know when you need to brake, the possibility of hitting another racer or hitting a wall increases tremendously. So, what’s the ideal time to hit the brakes? Where do you brake? And how do you steer after you brake? Let’s find out!
When you are getting your Go Kart ready for a race, there are many things that we tend to take for granted. Mainly, these tasks include things we have been doing all our lives, such as turning and braking.
But what you may not know is that each braking maneuver has a specific way of being performed. Doing it the wrong way could mean all the difference between 1st and 2nd, or worse: crashing!
The rule of thumb is hitting the brakes before a curve and not during one, as most drivers already know. Brake as you approach the turning point and then release it once you’ve turned. This will give you more speed, and more speed is always better when driving a go-kart.
Applying this logic, the longer and steeper the curve is, the more you need to brake before it. If there isn’t a lot of space between you and the curve, then don’t brake during it because you might not be able to stop in time.
However, if there’s a long straight after the curve then release your brakes after you’ve turned. This will give you maximum speed out of the turn.
What Happens During Braking Your Go-Kart
When I first got my kart, I tried to slam on the brakes to stop and ended up spinning out in the middle of a busy intersection. It was embarrassing, but I quickly learned how to stop.
There are a few things that can happen when you slam on the brakes. If you’re going too fast, your tires will lock up, and you’ll lose control of your kart. If you’re going too slow, your tires won’t lock up, but they’ll squeal and produce a high-pitched sound.
This is all fine and dandy, but what it really means is that if you want to stop hard and stop quickly, you have to be at an ideal speed. The best way to learn this is by racing other people or training with a knowledgeable instructor.
It takes time to learn braking techniques and master them, so make sure you have the right equipment before trying this out.
What Can Go Wrong
Braking too long
You’re braking too long if you continue to spin and can’t even control the kart. The kart can be controlled when the brake pressure is reduced, as an example. The kart will appear to slow down, but don’t let off the brakes pedal entirely.
It’s possible to lose control of the go-kart if you turn too wide or too tight. Another common rookie error is turning too quickly or too wide. It’s a difficult skill to master; the key is practice. In this scenario, timing is key. You risk spinning out and losing if you turn too wide.
To avoid this issue, keep your turns and straightaway corners as smooth as possible. Don’t oversteer, and don’t press the brakes until you’re confident it’s safe to do so.
Improve Your Go-Kart Braking
Once you’ve mastered the basic braking techniques, it’s time to start learning the advanced ones. The advanced braking techniques will help you gain speed and win races. Yet, it takes some time to master the advanced techniques.
Here is a great tip to help you with advanced braking:
Place your weight on the back tires: Your weight shifts from side to side as you turn. Put more weight on the right rear tire while turning right, and vice versa when turning left.
You might want to practice this technique before using it during a race competition.
What Is Power Braking In Go-Karts?
Power braking is a technique used by racers to make their karts go faster on cornering. This technique is done by stepping on the brake at the same time as you accelerate. By doing this, your engine will work against itself and slow down the kart, making it easier to turn the corner.
Power braking takes a bit of practice; many racers have made mistakes when doing so. This can cause the kart to overheat, causing engine damage and ruining their chances of winning.
However, power braking is an effective way to win races. So if you want to be a pro kart racer, practice this skill!
What Is Trail Braking In Go-Karts?
You want to brake at the last possible time when you approach a turn. This is referred to as trail braking. Brake before entering the corner and release the brakes as late as feasible to achieve this.
Don’t let go of the brakes too abruptly, or your kart may get imbalanced and go over. You also don’t want to let go of the brakes too slowly, since this may cause the back of your cart to drift out and lose all control.
When attempting to trail brake, oversteering is a regular karting mishap. Because braking power is inversely related to steering angle, keep hold when turning.
After reading this article, it’s likely that there are still a couple of things you’ll want to practice. In the end, go-karting is no different than any other sport – mastering it takes time. Don’t get too down on yourself if you’re not the best after one week or even one day.
Just remember that go-kart braking is different from normal car braking, so you will need to practice. With some time and dedication, though, you should be able to nail down good skills in no time.