A situation that really puts the cat amongst the pigeons. Observation and confidence are the two characteristics that will enable a driver to capitalise on such a situation.
Firstly you need to understand just how wet the track is and whether or not it will dry quickly. You may find yourself with a lack of grip for a few corners and then be able to attack again after that, if a driver is slow to pick up on this fact they can lose a huge amount of time and potentially places. For this reason drivers need to be looking as far in front of them as possible to give them the best chance of staying on the track.
Watching other competitors will show just how much grip is available on that bit of track, this may allow the following driver to avoid the same mistakes, brake earlier or simply react differently to the grip levels.
The confidence part comes from being able to ‘throw’ the kart around, using an opposite lock braking technique and big, certain steering movements will produce a bigger weight transfer and in turn greater turning forces. By driving too tentatively the kart will simply understeer off the track or have to be matched with a pace almost equivalent to stopping, just to get around a corner.
Without confidence in both the capabilities of the kart and the drivers own skill levels, this aggressive style can lead to driving to simply spinning off the track.
Other pointers can include braking off line, using the driver’s body weight and using the kerbs. Braking off of the normal racing line is quite often less slippery which allows the driver to slow the kart down much quicker, without locking up and without sliding off the track.
By leaning to the outside of the kart when cornering, the driver can maximise the weight transfer and grip to the outside wheels, increasing the cornering ability of the kart. Kerb use can be advantageous in that they can increase weight transfer if used correctly, if they are hit too hard or at the wrong angle the kart may simply spin off the track, they should be used at the discretion of the driver.
This article was originally published in Karting magazine in October 2015