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Features from Karting magazine

Circuit Guide: Hooton Park

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The Hooton Park kart circuit, situated a stone’s throw away from junction 6 of the M53, opened its doors in 2006 on the site of the old RAF Hooton airfield; making it the newest MSA licensed track in the country.

The Lap

A lap of Hooton Park starts with a long straight leading to Turn 1, a 90° right. On entry there is an extra bit of tarmac on the left which can be used for braking and set up a wider entry to the corner so minimum steering is required for making the apex. The kerb is low but running it just tends to upset the kart but be sure to use as much of the run-off kerb as possible to maximise your cornering speed. This is one of two obvious overtaking spots on the track as you can get a tow from the kart in front up the start/finish straight and the wide entry leaves plenty of room up the inside for passing them.

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This circuit lends itself to great racing…

Turn 2

A short straight follows to Turn 2. On paper it looks similar to the first turn but this one only requires a lift on entry, has a higher apex kerb and has nowhere near as much run-off kerb. Approach from the left and move in to clip the apex mid-corner before just brushing the run-off kerb on the exit. When the track is green, it is a common mistake to carry too much speed into this turn and suddenly experience oversteer at the apex so it’s critical to not push too hard into this corner during those first few sessions after a rainstorm.

Turn 3

Next up is another long straight which leads into the very fast Turn 3. This right handed corner is 180° from entry to exit and starts tight before opening out on exit. So, with this in mind, an early apex and high entry speed is required therefore braking can be left until just before the marshal post (or level if you’ve got a well set-up kart and feeling brave) and smoothly roll the kart through a mid-kerb apex. Leave putting the power on until you’re past the apex and let the kart run out to the outside white line for the remainder of the curve on to the next straight. It is important not to bring in the power too early or hard as the amount of rubber that is usually present at this bend will cause the rear of the kart to destabilise itself, either through hopping or sliding, which will cost you vital tenths of a second. The key to this corner is that you must be very smooth on all counts (braking, steering and throttle).

T3 is the second obvious overtaking spot on the track as the long straight before it allows you to pick up a tow and get alongside them by the braking zone. You can lean on your opponent on the exit too as you let your kart run wide naturally giving them the option of either dropping in behind you or taking a trip over the grass.

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Trecherous in the wet, Hooton Park can be difficult to get right.

Turn 4

Now you’re on the infield part of the track as you drive the “slightly curving left” straight towards the left handed Turn 4. This bend consists of a wide entry which is horribly off-cambered the further right you go so it’s best to approach this corner from a mid-track position. Begin braking about level with the start of the first inside kerb and keep trail-braking past the aforementioned kerb and get the kart so it’s at mid-track again for the second part of the corner which is tighter and narrower. If you’ve done the first part right, you should just be able to let off the brakes from your mid-track position to turn into an apex just clipping the inside kerb before getting on the power smoothly to run your outside wheel over the end of the exit kerb. As with T3, a lot of rubber can get laid here too so it’s important to be smooth on the throttle and steering round this corner. Overtaking is possible if you can get well inside your opponent before the first inside kerb, but be wary of the fact that they probably won’t see you until they’ve started turning in so it’s important that you’re fully committed to making the move stick before you attempt it. Failing that, if they get caught out by the off-camber round the first part, it could leave enough room to nip up the inside before the second kerb.

Turn 5 and 6

Once you’ve left T4, quickly get yourself to the left of the track ready for the Turns 5 & 6 chicane. This is a very fast part of the track which requires a bit of kerb to be quick. Enter the chicane flat out, getting close but not hitting the right hand kerb before lifting off the throttle and clipping the left hand kerb with your wheels whilst keeping as tight as possible on exit ready for the next corner. It used to be quicker putting your whole kart over the left hand kerb, but years of people taking the same line have left a massive nosecone formed dip on the inside of the kerb so it’s now quicker and smoother to just clip it with your wheels.

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I never knew Ayrton Senna raced here!? Or drove an X30!

Turn 7

Turn 7 follows immediately after the chicane which is why it’s important to stay as far over to the left as possible on the exit of the previous corner. This curve is similar to the Horseshoe at Clay Pigeon but going right instead of left. Brake on the very short straight part between T6 and T7 before turning into a mid to late apex on the first part, which has positive camber. At this point, balance the throttle whilst letting the kart roll out to a mid-track position between the two apexes before getting on the power fully ready to turn into the second apex (off-cambered this time) before running wide on the exit, the run-off kerb is almost non-existent so it’s best using the white line as your guide at this point to gauge how wide you can go. Late lunges are possible here, as when the kart in front lifts to take the second part of the previous chicane, simply take it flat out all the way through letting the kart go all the way over to the other side of the track and outbrake them before they turn into T7. However it’s also just as easy to overcook the entry speed and watch your opponent cut back past your inside through the second apex.

After you’ve exited the corner, get your head down and follow the straight past the start line ready to go another lap of the Hooton Park kart circuit. A fast, flowing circuit which provides great racing for both MSA and IndiKart drivers alike.

 

Like this article? Read our latest circuit guide’s: 

Capital Karts – Circuit Guide

Grand Prix Karting Birmingham – Circuit Guide

Tech Tuesday: Kart Aerodynamics

An aspect often not estimated is the aerodynamic factor acting on a kart chassis and its driver. Since a tenth of a second is vital for a kart driver to win, we must consider that on particularly fast tracks and even more for fast 125 cc shifter gear chassis high speeds generate an important resistance of air on the kart. This is determined by the laws of physics that show how resistance to penetration in air is proportional to speed if such speed is minor to 100 km/m, but changes to a proportion to the square of speed for values over 100 km/h. Many kart chassis constructors are in fact now projecting front and side plastic bumpers also looking at good aerodynamic penetration.

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No, not that kind of areodynamics…

Aerodynamics on chassis

A kart with its driver has a very bad CX factor, which is the coefficient of aerodynamic penetration. This aspect, even though front area of kart and driver is limited, is determined by the total absence of front cover to driver and kart and by the turbulence that is generated behind the driver who represents nearly 45% of the front area of the entire system. So, for a start, a more compact position or maybe having the driver slightly lied down can give significant improvement to aerodynamic penetration and so also to performance.

Lateral bumpers

Side protections already give good effect since they cover rear tyres reducing turbulence and increasing penetration. So when widening rear carriage see if tyres are still sufficiently covered. Some companies like Tecno have studied both side and front bumpers to optimize fresh air flow towards the radiator obtaining better engine cooling.

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The OTK M6 Bodywork was designed with areodynamics in mind due it its slippery profile

Front bumper

It has the function of course of  protecting from front collisions with other drivers or obstacles, but has also a good aerodynamic effect. First of all to work well the spoiler must be kept as low as possible to reduce turbulence of the air passing under the chassis. Such turbulence in fact would slow down the passing air which would “stick” to the chassis reducing its speed.

The air moving over the front bumper makes it work like a spoiler pushing it down and increasing front grip. Over 100 km/h such vertical force can be equal to 4 kg, but really under such speed the effect is limited, and becomes secondary respect to aerodynamic penetration.

Working in such way on the front bumper gives only positive effects: better aerodynamic penetration and small increase in front grip.

Base protection

Base protection is used to position the driver’s feet and to protect him from eventual stones coming from the track. The three surfaces of the front spoiler, the base protection and the inferior surface of the seat make a continuous surface. They must for this reason be on the same level so that any edge is avoided and air flow is free to pass smoothly under the kart. Some technicians say that a ground effect can be obtained on fast tracks curving slightly the base protection, but such work seems to be too complicated compared to the result.

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The ‘Big Nosed’ Prokarts have a large Nassau panel to divert air away from the drivers’ un-areodynamic legs

The driver

The driver has really, as already anticipated, a bad aerodynamic penetration. Feet and legs will direct air flow towards the chest of the driver and slow down the kart, or laterally if well positioned. The front number plate help to limit such effect and will have to be as wide as possible to cover the driver and also will have to be well positioned to connect itself to the legs.

The arms of the driver will have to be positioned well in contact with the body only moving the forearm to turn the steering wheel. This will also help a better aerodynamic penetration. An additional effect is that this position will send air flow towards the engine or radiator helping engine cooling.

Finally it is clear that small drivers (once more) are helped on an aerodynamic point of view. I have myself seen on the Parma track in Italy tall drivers loosing much of their advantage on the three long straights of the track.

Head down, Alfie Brookes tries to gap the field in the Honda Clubman class. - edit

Testing

With shifter gears kart it can be quite simple to see the effect of aerodynamic penetration by reaching a certain speed on a straight and pulling the clutch suddenly. The kart will go on running along and we can measure the speed of the kart (we must have a telemetry system that measures speed with a sensor on front wheels) after a certain number of metres (300 for example). Try this test with different configurations of the kart bumpers and driver positions. Of course testing must be done with exactly the same track conditions (possibly the same day) and no wind. If wind or grip of the track change results will be completely unusable since the effect of these two parameters are similar to the aerodynamic resistance.

Like this article? Then read more Tech Tuesday here:

Tech Tuesday – Honda GX200 vs. Gx160

Tech Tuesday – 7 things to check on your kart

Shenington Kart Racing Report Round 10

Shenington Kart Racing Report Round 9, 15 October 2017

Unseasonably warm weather heartened everyone for a great day’s racing for Round 10 of the club championship with around 140 entries.  It was a teeny bit damp at the start but the sun came out for the afternoon’s finals. 

 

The always well supported Cadet classes had Lorenzo Kordal swiftly demoted from the Honda Cadet lead to fifth as Daniel Guinchard led.  Much trading of all the top five places ensued with Kean Berta briefly leading and in the end the order was Guinchard, Berta, Kordal, Connor Clifford and Roman Bilinksi.  The IAME 2-stroke Cadet class resulted in a good fight between Coskun Irfan and William Macintyre as they managed to push each other clear of Leo Robinson and Maximus Hall.  But Robinson cut across Hall’s kart firing him into the barriers at the start line which would result in a later exclusion.  Hall managed to extract himself to finish 15th.  That elevated Bradley Beavers to third holding off Ella Stevens and Joe Sheppy.  At the front Irfan and Macintyre swapped twice on the last couple of laps, Irfan getting the winning position at the last corner. 

 

The 210 Challenge were a visiting championship having their last round of the season and Luke Whitehead stormed off in the lead ahead of Dan Bury.  Tom Whyte would claim the national title as he leapfrogged Paul Fowler then took Bury for second.  Tony Bury staggered around nursing a problem a pitstop did not cure, then retired.  Rob Perkins was another late on retirement out of fifth place.

 

In the Junior TKM James Pashley was sporting his new number 2 as the National vice-champion, and set off in the lead.  That was extended when Zak Taylor was demoted from second to fourth in favour of Dan McKeown and Zak Taylor.  Gradually Oates crept up then passed Pashley for the lead leaving Taylor and McKeown trading fourth ending in Taylor’s favour.  Pashley made a great move to regain the lead into the chicane on the last lap, somewhat to Oates’ annoyance.  The MiniX winner Charlie Typaldo-Cole built on a good start and was soon mixing it amongst the concurrent Junior TKM backmarkers ending 13th overall.  Nearest to him was Bowen Morris-Kent just ahead of Jack Salmon but there were six Junior TKM between first and second.

Alex Rees led the senior TKM Extreme from the start tracked by Joseph Reeves-Smith.   E Plated Harry Moore leapfrogged into third ahead of Josh Sherriff but he was demoted back by Sherriff and had to fight to restore third by the chequer.  Reeves-Smith sliced under Rees at Park Corner to regain the lead and just hold off Rees on the finish line.  In the TKM Clubman economy class Chris Chater managed to stay clear of a big second place battle between Marcus Edmonds, Suk Sandher and Chris Yates.  Yates reached second putting pressure on Chater until Edmunds managed to retrieve the spot, gifting Chater a one second cushion to the finish. 

 

The KZ UK 125cc gearbox heats had seen a battle between Lee Ward and Tom Longfield, two wins to one in Ward’s favour and pole position.  Although Ward made the best start in the final Longfield struck back on the first lap and led for a few more.  But with a couple to go, Ward found a gap at the first hairpin and in his efforts to take the win Longfield’s attempt in the chicane resulted in a spin and non-finish.  That elevated Luke Child to runner-up.  In the Junior X30 Luke Whitehead took a massive lead from the off, but gradually Zak Bowen closed the gap to give a real challenge at the end.  Jack Williams battled with Tom Nippers and once clear momentarily passed Louie Short for third, but Short retrieved the final podium place by the chequered flag.

 

Report By Graham Smith

Photography by TSR Productions

Like this article? Then check out all our other race reports here:

All Club Racing reports

Main Race Reports page

Tech Tuesday: Top 5 Setup Tools

As you probably know, set up is a crucial part to the whole driver/kart package. If it’s out then you can expect to be off the pace. This is why you want the whole job of setting up your kart to be quicker, easier and more convenient. Here are five tools which do just that.

Iztech Chassis Alignment Brackets

These chassis brackets from Iztech are used to check the squareness of your chassis frame when a jig is not available. This is because kart chassis’ are prone to bend after a while due to taking kerbs or being involved in accidents. The brackets are universal fitting and work by hanging them under the kart to check for alignment by hanging axles underneath.

£30

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R3 Magtronic Laser Alignment system

The R3 lasers fit to the stub axles of your kart using strong magnets to stay in place.  Then, using the spirit level on top make sure that the lasers are level before making any precise toe and castor adjustments. This way you can be sure that all the front geometry set up is accurate to the millimetre.

£246

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Alto Kart Chain Aligner

Aligning a sprocket properly can be a pain. If it’s out you will just chew up a sprocket and likely lose a chain along the way. But this chain aligner from Alto is a cost effective and easy way to accurately align your chain to minimise wear and increase reliability, it’s also much cheaper than laser variants.

£18

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Crankshaft locking tool

This tool simply slides onto the engine and locks the crankshaft and clutch assembly on clutched engines in place so that the nut can be undone. These are often a little different depending on the engine you have so it’s best checking beforehand.

£10-20

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Castor and rear bumper tool (OTK)

This tool from Alto helps you alter the castor easily on OTK’s multi hole system as well as fitting the OTK rear bumper bolt collar which can save time in changing front end geometry setup and bumper changes should the bolt break or bend.

£20

R3 mag

 

This article was published in Karting magazine in October 2015 and was written by Michael Killingworth

 

Like this article? Then read more Tech Tuesday here:

Tech Tuesday – Seat Basics

Tech Tuesday – 7 things to check on your kart

IAME International Final 2017 Ones to Watch – Mini X30

The IAME International Final provisional entry list was recently released with a whopping 460 drivers entered into what could be classified as the biggest karting event in the World! With 280 drivers entered in the Junior and Senior classes alone it’s an event that requires a huge amount of consistency and faultless driving along with a bit of luck. The amount of possible winners in each class is so extensive that we’ve decided to break it down class by class with a ones to watch article being released on kartingmagazine.com every day this week!

We start today with X30 Mini, a new class for 2017. The IAME International Final will see the second event for the X30 Mini Cup with the first taking place earlier in the year at the IAME International Open.

Drivers Entered – 34
Countries represented – 16

Click here to see full entry list

Diego LaRoque – Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals Champion 2016

The young American Diego LaRoque will certainly play a part in this year’s event. Diego won last year’s Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals in Sarno and has since jumped up to the X30 Mini class. Competing in this years X30 Euro Series against more experienced drivers Diego finished on the podium twice at Salbris and at Castelletto which took him to an impressive 4th in the championship. The PDB Racing driver knows what it takes to win events at this level and having made so much progress in the Mini class already, I think he can be a big contender.

Bart Ploeg – Vice Champion, X30 Euro Series 2017

My second one to watch is Bart Ploeg. The young Dutch driver has had a brilliant season becoming Vice Champion in the X30 Euro Series. Finishing just ten points behind his country man, Bart took a win at round one, Genk, and ended his season with a 2nd place. Bart also competed at the IAME International Open earlier in the year. He’s come one leaps and bounds throughout 2017 and if luck his on his side he could very easily stand on the top step.

Bart celebrating win at Genk, X30 Euro Series 2017

Maximus Mayer – X30 Euro Series 2017, 3rd

Next on the list is Maximus Mayer. The Spaniard has had a good season in the X30 Euro Series beating LaRoque to 3rd in the championship. Maximus was 3rd in last years Spanish championship and although this will be a completely new challenge to him on his day he can beat the best in the World.

Ugo Ugochukwu – IAME International Open Champion 2017

Ugo to many will be the favourite for this event. Winning the IAME International Open earlier this year got his season off to a perfect start and his only appearance in the X30 Euro Series at Wackersdorf saw him take a perfect score on Sunday with a win in both the Pre-Final and Final. He’s a former Florida Winter Tour Champion so has plenty of experience and wins under his belt going into the Finals.

Ugo on the top step of the podium

Mathys Cappuccio – Sole French driver in Mini class

The sole French driver in the field is Mathys Cappuccio. As expected in other classes there are lots of drivers preparing to race on home soil, 103 to be exact, so it was a surprise to see just one in Mini X30.  My knowledge on Mathys is very limited but I imagine he’ll have plenty of experience around the Le Mans circuit which won’t be the case for many of his competitors. To go with that he’ll certainly have the support of the home crowd.

Tomorrow will be previewing the X30 Junior class.

Click here to see full entry list

Written by Chris McCarthy

Images courtesy of The RaceBox & ECR Photo

 

Like this article? Then check these out:

IAME International Final 2016 Review

IAME International Final 2016 Videos

Circuit Guide: Kimbolton

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Location

Located in a heart of Cambridgeshire, between Huntington and Wellingborough, and easily accessible from the A14, Kimbolton is a firm favorite club track. With a multitude of hairpins and tight complexes, it rewards driver patience and a well setup chassis!

Hines Straight

The main straight for Kimbolton starts way before the start finish line and isn’t straight throughout its entirety. It features two left kinks after the final corner and gives the possibility of overtaking into Stow corner (turn 1).

Jordan Goodyear

Stowe Corner nearly always claims a victim… Or two

Stow Corner

The apex point is quite late along the kerb, this means a wide line into Stow will allow you to carry the most speed possible. This also opens up the inside for an overtaking maneuver. When heading towards turn 1 a glance over the shoulder will help you decide whether or not to defend. If you are following someone else a ‘dummy’ move can be used to trick the opposition. (There is an excellent example of this in the Junior TKM Final at TKM festival)

The Willows

After apexing at Stow run the kart wide onto the exit kerb and again aim for a late apex towards the second kerb. Avoid running over these kerbs as it will unsettle the kart. Skimming the slanted edge of the kerb ensures the safest line and will avoid damaging the kart/ compromising exit speed. Bring the kart into the Willows main kerb and let it run wide towards the back straight.

Reggie Duhy

Keep it tidy through the Willows

Yamitsu + Bus Stop

On the way towards Yamitsu let the kart run towards the right hand side of the circuit. Aim for the kerb and run over it to get a tight line through the Bus Stop. After running over the first apex keep clear of all apexes after as they will only unsettle the kart.

Hanger Complex

The complex is fast and requires careful throttle response. In a high powered kart squeezing the throttle through the corner is the smoothest way through and will help give you a better run onto the main straight.

Middle of the track and bringing the kart in towards the apex each time through the complex.

Ian Mcleod

Try not to run too wide on the final corner as a good exit is vital

TKM Straight

This straight gives overtaking opportunities but is a hard braking point so be careful not to overshoot. Into the final corner an early apex and good run onto the main straight is important for a fast lap.

Overtaking

Stowe is a hard braking point so lunges can be made on the inside. Or a cut back can be made to get to the second apex. Into the bus stop a lunge to the inside over the kerb will allow a pass. At the end of the TKM straight an inside line will work or if you can get alongside them around the outside you will be on their inside into the final corner. If another driver runs wide into the hangar complex a dive towards the inside works too.

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Tech Tuesday: Weight And Seat Positioning

Even though many parameters determine the grip on each tire, everything is finally led to the vertical force acting on each wheel. The greater such downward force is and the more the grip between the tire and the asphalt.

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Centre of gravity

The centre of gravity is the point of a system (chassis plus engine plus driver) where one can consider all the weight concentrated. Once we define this in a kart, and generally such point is positioned in the stomach of the driver, we can calculate all the forces acting on the kart concentrated in the center of gravity. For example the weight of the kart can be concentrated in the centre of gravity as the sum of all vertical forces when the chassis is not moving (weights multiplied by the gravity acceleration). We will call “a” the longitudinal distance between the centre of gravity and the front carriage, and “b” the distance from the centre of gravity and the rear carriage. So we will be able to say, following the laws of the physical equilibrium, that the vertical forces acting on respectively on the rear tires (Fp) and the front tires (Ff) will be equal to:

Fp = Pvehicle * (a + b)/b,

Ff = Pvehicle * (a + b)/a,

where Pvehicle is the total weight of the kart (chassis, engine and driver) and:

Ff + Fp = Pvehicle.

We are making an approximation considering the weight of the kart a force.

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Leaning can als help you look cooler, not just distribute weight…

Effects of weight distribution variation

So the variation of the position of the seat of the chassis along the longitudinal length of the kart varies the parameters “a” and “b”, which means that also weight distribution of the kart varies between front and rear tires. Generally the longitudinal movement of the seat has a maximum value of around 4-5 cm, but a few centimetres determine great differences in weight distribution. For example the distance between front and rear carriage is generally in karts around 104 cm. With front weight equal to 40% and rear equal to 60% the centre of gravity is 41.6 cm from the rear axle and 61.4 cm from front carriage. If we move the seat 2 cm to the front of the chassis distribution will be 42% on front tires and 58% on rear tires. Such variation of 4% of the weight could appear a small quantity, but can really determine great difference in kart performance. If we move the seat of the chassis towards the front carriage the vertical force on front tires will increase and the force on rear tires will decrease. This will automatically determine an increase of front tire grip and a reduction of rear tire grip. So moving the seat to the front increases oversteer and moving it to the back increases understeer. The variation of the two parameters “a” and “b” will not vary directly shifting the seat. In fact the movement of the seat will determine a movement “c” of the centre of gravity as follows:

c = Pdriver/Pvehicle*x,

where “x” is the movement of the seat.

So it is extremely simple to setup the basic grip on the four wheels just by the right longitudinal positioning of the seat of the chassis. After such positioning the other parameters of the chassis will vary the forces on the four wheels for fine tuning.

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leaning too much can also hinder your driving…

Generally weight distribution must be regulated to have 60% of the weight on the rear tires and 40% on front tires. It is also true that every chassis has its own particular regulations for what concerns weight distribution. Ask your chassis builder or shop for the right values of weight distribution between front and rear tires. Such parameter is really too important to be mistaken. In addition to this we must consider that weight distribution should be equal between right and left tires on the front and on the rear. Because of the engine positioned on the right hand side, the seat will be slightly shifted to the left hand side of the chassis. This is of great importance especially when braking before a curve, since the balance of the chassis will be perfect, and the kart more stable in such phase, only if left and right wheels will have the same grip acting on them and the centre of gravity will be in a central position respect to the wheels.

Also the driver, especially in wet track conditions, can move inside the seat and vary weight distribution. For example moving your body forward when entering a corner helps front grip, and moving the body backwards when exiting a corner helps traction. This, also thanks to lower speed of the kart, has great effect on wet track conditions.

Next issue we will proceed consider weight distribution on the four wheels varying centre of gravity height, which will also determine great effects when running along a curve.

Like this article? Then read more Tech Tuesday here:

Tech Tuesday – How to read your tyres

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