Key Driving Characteristics

We want you to feel as comfortable with your kart as possible and make the correct chassis changes as well as improve on driving technique as well to overall become a better, faster, and more knowledgeable racer.

Lets get right into the fun stuff and discuss the main points on key driving characteristics.

  • Before diving in to the basic structure of tuning in your Top Kart, its best that you know how your chassis prefers to be driven in most conventional conditions. Firstly, with how the Top Kart braking system is designed, most conditions prefer assertive, straight-line brake application. If your Top Kart is reacting adversely on the approach and turn-in to corners, first make sure that you or your driver is not holding the brake pedal while initiating the corner. Common problems of adverse corner entry handling occur when drivers are still braking partially, or trail braking. Other chassis may allow or even prefer this trail braking method (in most situations) but in order to maintain maximum efficiency, Top Kart braking systems want smooth, assertive braking before initiating the corner. One of the benefits of a Top Kart braking system is however its feedback to the driver. If Top Kart drivers learn to listen to what their chassis are telling them, and integrate that communication in to their tuning adjustments, there will be no situation that any Top Kart driver can’t tune for!

  • Additionally, remember that even though Top Karts prefer a smooth, assertive method of braking, that does not mean to apply so much brake pressure as to achieve lock-up, or a stopping/restricted rolling of the rear wheels as compared to the actual speed that your Top Kart is traveling.
  • As compared to many other chassis brands, Top Karts have very powerful turn-ins. This means that in most cases, drivers will experience corner entry oversteer as opposed to corner entry understeer. Top Kart chassis maintain their front-end integrity much better than most other chassis brands, and this makes Top Kart a formidable contender on race days. Many drivers experience primarily a sliding of the rear of the chassis on practice days and see their Top Kart only get better as the weekend progresses. But, as is the case with most forms of motorsport, every driver is a little different and their style impacts the drivability and conformability of their Top Kart Chassis. Let’s give you some helpful hints on how Top Karts prefer to be driven.

  • Loose hands, loose hands – A light, comfortable grip of the steering wheel is often all that’s needed to corner in a Top Kart. Minimal steering input (as minimal as possible) increases the efficiency of the Top Kart’s rolling speed and stabilizes the chassis through the duration of the corner. Of course, this all depends on the proper setup and alignment of the front wheels.

  • 10-15 degrees will do please. In dry conditions turning the steering wheel more than 15 degrees makes for inefficient cornering on most chassis, and staying within that degree limit is difficult to do on a consistent basis. What will help Top Kart drivers work within these parameters is to slow the turn in rate. Of course, an adjustment may need to be made on where to initiate the corner, but slowing down the speed at which the steering wheel is turned will certainly both increase the stability of the Top Kart chassis, as well as make the corner more predictable, lap after lap.

  • A wet exception – In damp or wet conditions and especially when racing in the rain, massive amounts of steering input are usually necessary, as long as you stay off of the brakes and throttle while making your corner. Turning the steering wheel to such an extensive degree will also help continue the deceleration of your Top Kart, so you may be able to increase the approach speed to the corner, allowing the steering wheel to do some of the braking for you. If you are finding it difficult to remember this technique, think of it this way: Top Kart loves to do one thing at a time, whether it’s accelerating, braking or steering. Any combination of the two may result in less-than-desirable handling.
  • Getting your Top Kart up to speed as quickly as possible highly depends of the overall weight, compound tire, and engine type you are equipping. Things such as clutch stall speeds, power bands, grip levels all greatly influence the best “approach” to the exit of a corner. As a general set of rules you may be able to use, it’s wise to adhere to your horsepower-to-weight ratio, as well as the string theory. While observing the horsepower-to-weight ratio, generally speaking the less “relative” horsepower you have, the sooner you should accelerate. The more you have, the longer you will have to wait. Top drivers on Top Kart as well as other chassis brands typically wait a little longer, or are more patient on their throttle application. This allows the chassis to increase its approach speeds to most corners, and also allows the chassis to “relax” before committing more fully to acceleration. Integrating the string theory also will help optimize the transitions on your Top Kart. Transitions as they are defined here are the moments spend switching from throttle to braking, braking to cornering, and finally cornering back to throttle. Using the string theory means that the driver pretends that his or her arms and legs are all connected by string to an imaginary pulley of their stomach. When the driver uses either their hands or feet to introduce an action for their Top Kart to take, it directly impacts, in sync, everything else they were doing the split moment beforehand. Drivers who master this theory usually look very calm while they are racing.

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