by Niki Richardson
When starting out for your first time in a kart, the best thing to do is to take it slowly and build yourself up lap by lap.
Let’s start the lap as we cross the Start/Finish line and we should be drifting over to the left as we approach the very quick right handed Turn 1. Turn 1 can nearly be taken flat out as an experienced driver. However as a beginner please don’t attempt this at all. The key to being quick through the fast corners is getting the line right and being very smooth on the steering wheel.
s you approach the corner, you should position your kart all of the way to the left hand side. Brake a tiny bit in a straight line to rub off some speed, then lift off the brakes and coast into the apex (i.e. don’t put the throttle back on until you hit the apex). Once you hit the apex you can put the throttle back down. As you get more confidence, you can brake later then power in to the corner once off the brake, but build up to this. Don’t use the kerbs on the exit!
Turns 2 & 3:
Also known as the “Dog Leg”, it’s one of the trickiest section of corners on the calendar. As you approach the corner, come off the throttle, turn in (still off the throttle) then when you get past the apex, straight up the kart and brake in a straight line as you head towards the outside of the track ready for turn 3. Because one corner leads straight into another, it’s very easy to lose the backend if you turn and brake at the same time, that’s why it’s key to get the braking done in as straight a line as possible.
Turn 3 is really a hairpin, so once your braking is done, coast into the corner and put the throttle back on once you’re past the apex.
Turn 4 is a classic hairpin. Brake in a straight line. Once off the brakes, coast into the corner and put the throttle down once past the apex. Use all of the track on the exit but try to stay off the kerbs. You’ll then need to bring the kart over to the left for turn 5.
Yet another hairpin. It also leads into turn 6 which is an important corner. You therefore want to compromise the exit of turn 5 so that we have the best line possible into turn 6. We therefore turn in very late into turn 5. Do your braking into turn 5 in a straight line and once again coast to the apex.
Approaching from as far right on the track as possible (from the exit of turn 5) you should be able to take this flat out (it’s a very slow corner). If you’re struggling coast into the apex once again and plant the throttle once past the apex.
There are several lines through here but the one we recommend for now is to take the middle line through turn 7, brake in a straight line (always brake in a straight line) then just coast into the apex once again. You’ll notice in the track diagram that again, the turn in is really late as you want to be as far over to left on the exit ready for the fast sweeping turn 8.
You should be able to take turn 98flat out so long as your kart is positioned all the way over to the left hand side after turn 7. Let the kart drift all the way to the left on the exit and prepare for the fast turn 9.
Turn 9 is a fast right hander which you can take flat out (if you’re experience) but as a beginner you should simply coast into the corner then plant the throttle once past the apex.
Turn 10 is very similar to turn 9 but quite a bit faster. Again, it can be taken flat out if you’re an experienced driver but as a beginner you should brake a bit in a straight line, then coast into the corner, planting the throttle once past the apex. As you build up confidence you’ll want to reduce the amount of time spent braking, just coasting into the corner instead.
Turns 11 & 12:
The last braking zone of the track, when you have built up experience you can brake quite late as it is up hill. However, brake in a straight line, then once again coast towards the apex, planting the throttle once past the apex.
Use all of the track on the exit but don’t hit the tyre wall which marks turn 12. You can straight line turn 12 and allow the kart to drift all of the way across the track.
As a general rule, you should be very smooth with the steering wheel through the fast corners. Try not to the yank the steering wheel as it will likely cause the rear end to lose grip and you’ll spin.
In slow corners (such as the hairpin) you will find that you can be much harsher with the steering wheel without going into a spin.
by Niki Richardson
Let’s start the lap as we cross the Start/Finish line and we should be drifting over to the left as we approach the very quick right handed Turn 1. On approach we should be aiming to almost head down the pit lane entry before a quick sharp turn of the wheel before a little blip of the brake to settle kart as you aim for the last part of the inside kerb which is your apex as you power through the bend. Now on the exit, it’s so easy to run too wide by carrying too much speed through the corner where you could get penalised for track limits for running over that nasty outside kerb so don’t attack the corner too much. Also, Turn 1 is a really important corner due to the long run to Turn 2 so mistakes can be costly here.
Turns 2 & 3:
We’re charging down to one of my favourite sections on the calendar which is the right handed Turn 2 and the left handed Turn 3. Turn 2 is basically 2 corners because it’s double apexed and your braking point is just as you turn in and just before the first inside kerb. At that point, stay hard on the brakes and let the kart drift to the edge of the track to open up the second part of the corner before turning in and nailing that second apex and straight lining the exit, running over the left kerb as you pass through Turn 3 as you then head down towards the hairpin of Turn 4.
Turn 4 is a standard left hand hairpin so you’ll want to brake firmly, nail the apex mid corner and let the kart run nice and wide on the exit although don’t run too wide as you need to get back over to the left hand side of the circuit for the second hairpin, the right handed Turn 5.
As we’re shooting over to the left for Turn 5, we need a real late turn in because as you exit Turn 5, you head straight into the left handed Turn 6 which means keeping over to right hand side as you exit Turn 5 so the late turn in is so important. So the key thing is take some late inside kerb and don’t let the kart run wide on the exit and you’ll be perfectly positioned for Turn 6.
Now if you nail Turn 5, Turn 6 should be completely flat out and all you need to do is take a little inside kerb and let the kart run wide on the exit and carry that momentum down the little back straight as you head towards the long left hander of Turn 7. Like Turn 1, the exit is important and also don’t run too wide on the exit of Turn 6 as you’ll incur a track limits warning.
The long left handed Turn 7 can be taken in 2 different ways but my preferred line is turn in and take the shorter route around the inside before braking aggressively as the corner tightens up, almost treating it like a hairpin. Now the key here is to keep over to the left on the exit because Turn 7 leads immediately into the long right handers of Turn 8 and 9 so keeping left really opens the following corner up on entry.
Turns 8 & 9:
Turns 8 and 9 go hand in hand with one another so as you exit Turn 7, turn in and clip the apex of Turn 8 before letting the kart run over to the middle of the circuit before drifting back over to the right and take a little bit of kerb as you pass through Turn 9, around the big infield mound and then on the exit, let the kart run to the edge of the circuit. Note – from the exit of Turn 7 all the way through Turns 8 and 9, this should be done on full throttle.
We’re coming to the end of the lap and we’re approaching the very fast 90 degree right hander of Turn 10. Now Turn 10 can be done on full gas if you dare so take some laps to gain confidence before you attempt this! Just make sure you turn in at the right time so that you take a little inside kerb before letting the kart run wide on the exit.
Turns 11 & 12:
Now we’re quickly approaching the penultimate corner of the lap, the right handed Turn 11 and it’s one of those corners that you can really attack because the approach is uphill which means you can brake nice late. When braking, brake nice and aggressively and turn in so that you get close to the stack of tires on the apex and this is where the kart goes a bit light as you pass over the crest and then you’ll need to shoot back over to the left as you run downhill on the exit, passing through the final corner which is a slight left kink which brings you back onto the Start/Finish line. Just make sure you use all of the circuit on the exit of the final corner as this will help you carry all that momentum all the way down the Start/Finish straight to Turn 1.