Track Guide: Lonato

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The South Garda kart track was built in 1988 by Geometri Corberi and is situated near Lonato, east of Milan in Northern Italy.With a length of 1010m and a width of 9m, the track which is CIK FIA homologated, every year plays host to many International competitions – such as the Winter Cup and in past seasons, the European and World Championships.

The Lap

“As you cross the Start line, you’ll be flat out on the throttle. Position your kart to the right hand side of the circuit but leave a gap of about one foot from the yellow line. It’s not necessary to brush along the grass as the first turn is just a gentle left hander. Keeping on the gas and bouncing off the limiter, gently turn left, clipping the apex and position yourself in the centre of the track as the track raises ready for the flat out right hander which is turn two. Be very careful not to drift too far left after Turn 1 thinking you’ll have a better line for Turn 2. During a race weekend, bits of rubber from the tyres congregate off the racing line and during the dry, these bits of rubber act like ‘marbles’ and if you wander onto these bits of rubber, you will lose complete grip and be sent flying off the circuit.

Turns 2 & 3

is a double right hander that although daunting, you don’t lift and you take them flat out. It can be quite bumpy so keeping the kart tight and on the perfect line as well as smoothness on the steering wheel is of paramount importance. Otherwise, your kart will hop or you’ll just end up developing oversteer which will cost you time. Although on the track map it as classed as two corners you just take it as one big one. Exiting Turn 3 and there’s a short straight which you allow the kart to drift over fully to the left hand side of the track using the momentum from Turn 3.

Turn 4 & 5

These are extremely important. Approaching Turn 4, you keep your foot hard on the gas and as you turn in, ease off the accelerator carrying fast speed into the corner. Good strong arms and upper body strength is required here as the more speed you take into Turn 4, more the energy is transferred from the steering wheel and into you. It’s important to load up the kart on the approach to Turn 5 for a quick lap. The more speed you take into 4 the better the load will be. Allow the kart to drift left as you take the natural racing line but try not to use too much brake. Simply turn the steering and get that inside wheel to lift to help spin you around corner 5. Good loading is very important on this corner as the exit begins to go uphill and any bogging down really does hurt the lap time.

Turn 6

As you exit Turn 5 there’s a short straight that goes uphill with a tiny left kink leading towards a difficult left hander that is, Turn 6.This turn is probably the hardest turn to get right because its tight. However, with the amount of rubber that gets laid down, it’s possible to take a lot of speed through this turn. So as you can imagine, get it right and you’re on the time, get it wrong and it can cost you three tenths to half a second easy. So for the corner on entry, you go slightly wider than the middle of the track. As you approach the corner you come off the gas rolling with a good amount of speed in and allowing the rear wheel to come up and then get back on the gas just before the corner to give you a good exit! But you must keep to the left to get yourself ready for the next few corners ahead. As you exit the corner there is a bit of a straight with a very gentle right hander which leads you past the mechanics on your approach the first hairpin (Turn 7) that’s a left turn.

Turn 7

The approach to the first hairpin is quite difficult under braking as there is a small bump and big drop downhill. This is the notorious place that overtaking gets accomplished. Due to the nature of the hairpin, a lot of speed can be carried through the turn which encourages drivers to outbreak each other. For a flying lap, approach on full throttle then snap on the brakes and load the kart up to lift the inside wheel to prevent bogging but still carrying a good amount of speed and to ease you through the tight complex of the first two hairpins. You can apex a little later than the middle of the corner but- be careful not to run too wide.

Turn 8

Try to keep at very worst to the centre of the track and bring it back a little to the left for the immediate right handed hairpin . Smoothness is key especially as your speed is fairly slow and any form of sliding or hopping will destroy your lap time. Important still is the exit of the second hairpin which is a fairly sized straight, so the exit of the second hairpin is fundamental compared to entry. Top tip, don’t enter too fast and focus on the exit!

Turn 9, 10 and 11

Now flat out down the short straight into a series of hairpins which lead to the final corner. The first hairpin (Turn 9) isn’t the hardest one of the three as it’s a fairly simple, just like the ones at PFi. The only difference is that you must apex a little later to prepare yourself for the second of the three hairpins. Upon the exit of Turn 10 bring the kart to the far right hand side for the left hand hairpin, which again is similar to the second hairpin at PFi only you have to apex a little later around the corner to come over to the right for the final hairpin (Turn 11) and the final corner of the lap. During a racing situation, be careful at this point. If someone lunges down your inside, there’s nowhere for you to go and you’ll be severely compromised which will have a knock on effect to the final turn.

Turn 12

As you exit the left hand hairpin, pull the kart to the very far left hand side for the final corner which is a right handed hairpin. This is one of the most important corners of the circuit as your exit speed will determine your top end speed along the start straight. As with the previous hairpin, be careful that no one tries to overtake you because, if they do it will compromise your speed all the way down the straight and can put you under pressure from other drivers. The good thing with the final turn is that should someone make a lunge, if you can hang on around the outside and keep your foot down, you’ll have the inside line for the first corner and you should be able to keep the position. Under normal circumstances, apex late and allow the kart to run wide maximising the track and get ready to start another lap of this brilliant circuit.

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