Go Kart Tires

Go kart racing tires, go kart tires, kart tires

Go kart tire, kart tires, go kart tire pressureThere is a lot to consider when attempting to get the best performance out of your go kart, tires are an important component to examine to ensure success.

As I’m sure you will have seen, when watching other forms of motor racing such as Nascar, Formula 1 etc., tires and their condition are monitored and discussed at length, highlighting their importance.

Obviously tires are the contact point between a go kart and the track (as with all race cars), so to be fast and accurate through your racing line, your tires’ condition is of paramount importance.

A number of things can impact the performance of your tires:

  • tire pressure,
  • the quality of construction,
  • tire temperature,
  • wheel alignment and
  • balance of the vehicle.
Tire Pressure

Tire pressure, make sure you get the right tire pressure for optimum race performance. This will be determined by the manufacturer’s specifications, the weight of the vehicle, including the driver, and even the weather conditions – if it is extremely hot this can cause the PSI (pressure is measured by Pounds per Square Inch) to increase slightly and vice versa.

Quality of construction.

Generally speaking (but not always), the more you pay for your tires, the better they will be. But there can be a trade off between a tire’s traction (softer tires tend to warm up faster and adhere to the road better, giving you better control faster) and its durability, softer tires will wear faster than tires made of a tougher compound. So cost can be a factor in your decision making.

Also, make sure the tires you have chosen are appropriate for the size and weight of your go kart, again check the manufacturer’s specifications.

Tire Temperature

Go kart racing tires, go kart tires, kart tiresThe temperature of tires increases as they are driven. Getting them to the right temperature allows the tires to adhere to the track surface at an optimum level – enough stickiness to have really good steering control but not so sticky that steering becomes difficult.  Warming up your tires before a race, during a warm up lap, gets your go kart to be at its peek performance at the start of the race, rather than working your way into the race. You don’t want to waste time by starting the race on cold tires – as we know, in speed races, every tenth of a second can count. Cold tires don’t have as much grip as warm tires so you may end up sliding around corners wasting precious time and control.

If the tires get too hot, they will start to blister and parts of the tire’s surface might fly off, this can potentially become dangerous, so you should not continue on blistered tires.

Wheel alignment and balance of the vehicle.

Ideally you want all 4 tires in contact with the track surface working in unison to enable the best control of the go kart. As with skiing, you are moving the fastest and have the most steering control when in contact with the racing track.

Poor wheel alignment, that is if the wheels aren’t running evenly across the width of the tire, will lead to faster wearing of the tire, or feathering, in the area that has the track contact. Balance of the go kart will also impact the wear of tires, if more weight is over one of the tires, then try to remediate that by re-balancing the kart itself, or changing the pressure of the tire to compensate.

When racing go karts, as with all racing cars, tires are an important and integral component of your success. So it is essential to keep a thorough check on the quality of your tires’ condition.

Improve Your Driving Skills on the Go Kart Track

Go kart racing, sprint racing, enduro racing

If your memory of go karts is something similar to the bumper cars you rode as a child, then think again. Think fast and think precision handling on any go kart track and you are getting the right idea. Racing go karts is not only a cheaper and less risky alternative to Nascar-type racing, it is a great way to learn and improve driving skills before advancing to the auto racing circuit.

To get started, just visit a local go kart track in your town. You can then rent a kart for a few hours or for a set number of laps and get on with testing your driving skills. Driving a go kart is not very different to driving a car, except that the gokart has very good acceleration and cornering ability. Of course, proper safety measures must be taken before and during participation in a kart race.

Let’s talk about a couple types of racing karts; namely the Sprint and Enduro:

Sprint karting uses a shorter track and the technology used is less sophisticated. Go karts are downgraded slightly for this type of racing. The circuit is usually 3/4 mile and the racing format is a series of short length races, normally for just a few laps to qualify for a final, with a number of point scoring calculations to determine the overall winner. It is usually three qualifying heats and a final race for trophy positions. Each race is usually 15 minutes or less. The key to success in sprint racing is excellent passing skills, the ability to get through traffic.

Enduro or endurance racing is a longer version of the sprint-type of racing. These races can last for an extended period, typically anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, but there are some events such a Le Mans which run a 24 hour endurance kart race!As a result of the longer time on the track, the karts used in endurance racing are built to be tough and durable. Speed, though important, is not as important as it is in sprint races. It is more like a marathon where the driver makes regular pit stops for fuel, maintenance and a change of tires. Enduro karts run on the same sized road courses as full sized cars. Generally speaking, reliability, consistency and pit strategy are of the greatest importance in endurance racing.

A go kart race is a good way to get your foot in the “motor sport field” door. It is both very affordable and less risky. Go karts are fairly easy to handle in spite of the speed. They have a low center of gravity, making them less dangerous than Nascar-type racing. It is a great starting point to sharpen and improve your driving skills on the go kart track before going to the next level in auto racing.