Revving up your karting skills

by Oscar Ball, Scottish Karting Champion in
Scottish Regional Team Final of the British Schools Karting Championship (BSKC) 2012.

Karting is one of the most exciting and exhilarating activities that you can take part in. I don’t think there’s much that can match the thrill of buzzing along at up to 50 miles per hour while you’re sitting only a few centimetres above the ground!

There are a few things that I would recommend though for getting the most out of your karting experience, whether you are taking part competitively or not.

1. Have fun

Most importantly, enjoy yourself! What is highly motivating is the ability to see improvement in your performance by comparing your track times. I always look forward to getting in the kart and trying to improve on my previous lap time.

2. Relax in the kart

It’s important to feel comfortable in the kart. Any nerves will affect your posture and this tends to make you lean forward. By relaxing, you are able to grip the steering wheel and drive the car better. You will find it easier to handle the kart if you sit back. This will help you maintain your centre of gravity too, which will result in a smoother ride.


3. Keep control of your kart

One of the most important things to think about if you want to improve your performance on the race track is how you handle the controls of the kart. If you steer aggressively or brake too hard, you are likely to lose control and you could possibly lock the wheels. The gentler you are with the steering input and applying the brake, the more flawless your drive will be round the track.
It is also a good idea to keep your hands symmetrical and in the same place on the steering wheel as this can help avoid any instability in the kart.

4. Navigate corners smoothly

How you handle corners will make a real difference to how fast you can get around the track. You need to find the optimum speed as you go around the corner. Going too fast can force you to slow down but if you go too slowly, you won’t achieve your best lap time.

Try to fight against that natural instinct to lean in as you go around corners as this will actually slow you down. When you come to a number of consecutive bends, ensure that you are thinking ahead because you want to exit the preceding bend in the right position to enter the next one. If you approach the first bend too fast, you’ll end up coming out too wide to take on the next. It’s better to slow down. You can will get around the bends faster by not going wide and then be ahead of your competitors at the next straight. When you are on a straight, try to stay as steady as you possibly can!


5. Always look for the opportunity to overtake your opponent

In competitive karting, most drivers keep ahead of the game by spotting when a competitor has approached a corner too fast or locked the wheels. You can then make sure you use this as an opportunity to accelerate and overtake them.

6. Don’t weigh yourself down with heavy kit

I’m not saying stay away from the hamburgers but if avoiding heavy clothing can help reduce your weight in the kart, when everything else is equal the tiniest thing can be a slight advantage over some of your opponents.

7. Handling a kart in the rain

If the track is wet, don’t worry, just try to brake gently in a straight line as you approach a bend and apply the accelerator slightly slower than you would in normal weather conditions. If you push too hard on the accelerator you risk losing control of the kart or being unable to navigate a bend.

By following these tips, you can really make the most of the experience and the thing to remember is that it’s a thrilling sport – whether you win or not....


If you are aged between 13 and 18 Oscar recommends trying out the British Schools Karting Championship
as a way of testing out your new found skills.
Register with your school at


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