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Initial D World - Discussion Board / Forums > Technical Discussion > Go-Kart vs Car driving technique


Posted by: D33DO_R32 Nov 12 2014, 08:05 AM
Hi guys, I want to ask you guys about how to drive a proper Go-kart and the difference between Go-kart and a car, yesterday I drive Go-kart for the 1st time in my life (I'm 23 btw so it's kind of sucks I guess), since I don't think I can't drive the Go-kart properly yet I want to ask you guys with experience in both Go-karts and Cars, How much different is driving the Go-kart? what kind of throttling that it needs for Go-karts and cars to go fast? (some say you have to constantly blip the throttle for go-karts, is it true?)

sorry for such newbie question and for my messed up english, I hope you guys can enlight me happy.gif

Note: the Go-Kart that I used is the one with accelerator and brake pedals, not the one with sequential or flappy pedal transmission

Posted by: Spaz Nov 12 2014, 09:51 AM
Going fast on 4 wheels is going to be similar regardless of what you're doing it in. A single speed kart is going to be a lot like an autox course that only requires one gear, you simply don't think about shifting.

Really, you need to focus on a couple big things:

Line choice. If you're not on the right line, you're going to go slower. Doesn't matter what else you're doing right, if your lines are wrong you won't be competitive. Focus on driving the straightest lines possible through the course that allow you the least amount of steering input, but keep in mind that distance traveled should be managed as well. Just because you can go faster on a more open line doesn't mean a couple mph slower on a tighter line won't afford you a few tenths under certain circumstances.

Smoothness. You'll constantly hear that "smooth is fast", and it's 110% true. You'll feel slower when you're not jerking the wheel and applying extra peak Gs to your body, but you're also applying those Gs to the tires, shocking the traction circle. Easing the kart into a corner is going to allow you to build up to peak grip and really feel where it is, and also will keep the kart from getting too loose. The slicks will produce enough grip laterally to act as a good stab of the brakes if you hang the tail out, and at that point you've thrown away that corner for sure, probably the sector, and likely the whole lap as well.

Posted by: Rudy Nov 12 2014, 01:22 PM
I will say this much. For me at least, driving a go kart forces you to unlearn EVERYTHING you knew about handling a car around a track. The only weight transfer is your body. Steering is instantaneous. At the time I drove a serious kart, I got back in my Genesis coupe and it felt like a box truck in comparison. What you say though spas seems to be right. My smoother laps were fastest... Though I only got to run about 25 laps.

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Posted by: Grappler Nov 13 2014, 06:24 AM
A lot of the Pros started in Karts, in addition to what spaz said it will also teach you how to pass people on the race line. It is a bit expensive but if its like the local leagues you don't have to worry about gas/tires/maintinence etc. I plan on getting into a local karting league hopefully this winter since I can't knock over cones in parking lots till spring :/

Posted by: Rudy Nov 13 2014, 09:14 AM
Gas? Lol the karts I raced were electric. But the unrestricted class runs at 50+ mph so it isn't exactly a novelty league wink2.gif

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Posted by: Spaz Nov 13 2014, 09:55 AM
QUOTE (Grappler @ 3 hours, 31 minutes ago)
A lot of the Pros started in Karts, in addition to what spaz said it will also teach you how to pass people on the race line. It is a bit expensive but if its like the local leagues you don't have to worry about gas/tires/maintinence etc. I plan on getting into a local karting league hopefully this winter since I can't knock over cones in parking lots till spring :/

We need to talk about leagues, I'd like to do one too.

Rudy, snappy steering isn't just a kart thing... A properly setup car will have the same instantaneous response. It's way more apples to apples than your post would lead one to believe when we're talking karts to legitimately trackable cars.

Posted by: Rudy Nov 13 2014, 12:19 PM
For real? Because my R-spec had by and far the most aggressive suspension calibration is ever experienced.

The response thing also applies to throttle and brakes.

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Posted by: MetalMan777 Nov 14 2014, 04:49 AM
I suck at karts, but I'm decent at tossing a car around a track. I think my built in ballast is probably to blame. Driver weight matters a lot less in a 3000 pound car than on a 150 pound kart. Also karts really aren't supposed to slide, and cars will do that pretty readily. I'm not saying drifting is at all a good idea, but you can't rotate a kart the same way you can with a car. I've tried, and all it does is slow down your engine, due to the reason Spaz mentioned, which usually throws you out of the power band. Sometimes in a kart it's faster to take a wider line to maintain speed than shorten the line at the expense of momentum. 5 horsepower doesn't accelerate very quickly. There's a big budget difference between going to a kart place and doing track days, but at least for me the sensations are very different.

Posted by: Grappler Nov 14 2014, 06:20 AM
There aren't a whole lot of options up here during the winter its either karts or ice racing. Fixing a car in sub 0 temps is no fun, in fact if the winter beater breaks it goes straight to the junk yard.

Spaz I did some price checking its $30 a night or $220 for the whole league season which is 8 or 9 events.

The powerband and handling reminds me a lot of my Rx8 no tourqe and revs forever handles on flippin rails.

Posted by: D33DO_R32 Nov 14 2014, 09:28 AM
thanks guys, I manage to shave one second from my previous record despite the cold surface (it is like 3 hours after rain and its 19.00), still drive roughly and not smooth yet. need to practice more because I have a race to attend next week.

thanks a lot guys, really appreciate it biggrin.gif

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Posted by: sideways Nov 15 2014, 10:33 PM
Never be sorry for asking newbie questions! Weve all got to learn somewhere smile.gif Spazs advice was very solid, and I will agree with him 100%. The principle behind karting and car racing is nearly identical. A few details dont translate perfectly (but nothing every translates perfectly, does it?) But the theory is exactly the same. Slow in, fast out, concentrate on smoothness and line.

If I may continue on what spaz was talking about in regards to smoothness- The best way Ive had it described and like to explain it to people, is string theory for cars (or karts in this situation). Imagine a piece of string is connected between the steering wheel and the pedals, as youre using one, the string tugs on the other and limits how far you can use it. Turning the wheel limits how far down you can push the pedals, so as youve got the wheel turned a lot, you can only push a little on the peals, and as you straight the wheel up you give yourself more string to push the pedal down. You want to transition from one to the other smoothly and proportionately. Generally of course, as with all things theres exceptions (Ie you will encounter corners you can accelerate around at full throttle, but hopefully you get the idea).

QUOTE ( Rudy)
For real? Because my R-spec had by and far the most aggressive suspension calibration is ever experienced.


Potentially very much so. Most factory cars do a lot to isolate the driver as much as they can from NVH (Noise, vibration, harshness). Not just softer springs/shocks, but the control arms will connect with rubber bushings, and the top of the strut will connect to the car via a big rubber isolator, its not uncommon for steering columns to have a bit of rubber in the center to cut back on road feedback. Lots of things that need to "squish" a bit before they move, to help cut back vibrations and noise. Tires as well play a big role (side walls, pressure, etc). Once you start replacing those things with "harder" bits, youll get a notable difference in how quickly the car responds to inputs. Bushings can be replaced with poly bushings, or even heim joints- You can replace those rubber isolators at the top of your struts with solid mounts (like camber plates). of course youll always have more weight than a kart which will influence reaction time a bit, but ill be damned if you cant get something notably more "crisp" than what a factory car usually has, and get something pretty damn comparable to how a gokart feels.

Posted by: D33DO_R32 Nov 15 2014, 11:32 PM
just practice again, now on a hotter surface. suffer massive understeer and 2sec slower with average time compared to previous one. oversteer and understeer a lot, need to figure out how to throttle and not to brake during cornering because I often got too wide and loose speed too much sad.gif

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Posted by: Spaz Nov 16 2014, 09:21 AM
I actually went karting last night, and wanted to add a few things since it's fresh in my head.

The big thing to do is listen to the engine while you're turning. The absolute fastest laps you will turn are the ones where the only times you hear the engine decelerating are when you're braking. Slow in fast out plays in huge here, where the second you're off the brake you're right back on the throttle. Maybe not all the way, but enough that at worst you're maintaining speed. If you have the wheel turned, are on the throttle, and can hear the motor bogging down (decelerating), you have the wheel turned too far or are not on the gas enough. You should easily be able to feel which it is.

Posted by: D33DO_R32 Nov 21 2014, 06:51 AM
guys tomorrow I will have gokart race, wish me luck guys!! so nervous right now, can't sleep

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Posted by: Spaz Nov 21 2014, 10:40 AM
QUOTE (D33DO_R32 @ 3 hours, 48 minutes ago)
guys tomorrow I will have gokart race, wish me luck guys!! so nervous right now, can't sleep

Oh, another thing that's the same...

The nervous butterflies. They never really go away until you're on track.

Posted by: Rudy Nov 21 2014, 06:42 PM
Do you think that what I learn in electric karts can even translate to gas karts?

https://www.polepositionraceway.com/jersey-city/

This is where I usually race...

Posted by: D33DO_R32 Nov 22 2014, 01:51 AM
got pole position and manage to lead..Got through for the next round tomorrow biggrin.gif

a little video how I drive:

http://instagram.com/p/vsXbgcA_Fc/

still newbie, thanks a lot for the advice guys

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Posted by: Grappler Nov 22 2014, 06:20 AM
Congrats man smile.gif

Posted by: D33DO_R32 Nov 22 2014, 07:41 AM
thank you smile.gif

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Posted by: Spaz Nov 22 2014, 07:49 AM
Good work!

Just gotta keep it up and keep learning.

Posted by: D33DO_R32 Nov 22 2014, 10:04 PM
spun off today finished last, braked too hard and too late on the u turn. just got valuable lesson to adjust urself with the vehicle before pushing it

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Posted by: Rudy Nov 23 2014, 07:33 PM
I'm guessing everyone else only has dealt with gas karts...

Posted by: sideways Nov 23 2014, 11:00 PM
QUOTE (Rudy @ Nov 21 2014, 07:42 PM)
Do you think that what I learn in electric karts can even translate to gas karts?

https://www.polepositionraceway.com/jersey-city/

This is where I usually race...

I wish I could provide a more elaborate answer to this, but yes. Nearly everything you learn will transfer over perfectly fine.

Posted by: tsukikomi Nov 26 2014, 10:01 AM
The only go kart I drove are the ones at family fun center. I remember at the starting line I'd just hold on to the brakes and tap the accelerate button to gain that early lead.

Posted by: Rudy Nov 26 2014, 11:07 AM
Yeah but most electric karting is performed in such a manner that the leader is usually restricted. Even a lot of gas karts are like this. When you're required to put on a helmet before you climb in the kart, that's usually the only time you know for sure there's true parity among the cars.

Posted by: Lonely_Driver Nov 28 2014, 06:15 AM
We have European style electric go Karting here. Very strict rules and are able to hit 70km/h

One of the only Karting places where you need to use full brakes.

Posted by: PWNatorPWNED Dec 8 2014, 07:56 PM
QUOTE (Rudy @ Nov 23 2014, 07:33 PM)
I'm guessing everyone else only has dealt with gas karts...

I have raced both gas and electric karts at different places. One difference that I can say is that for gas karts, you are on full throttle or not. If you put the pedal halfway, there's a possibility that the engine will guzzle too much gas for its own good (not sure how else to phrase this). Also, I feel that electric karts are easier to control. Personally, I like electric karts because of the ease of access. There's a MB2 Raceway near my house and I go there from time to time.

Posted by: Shiroboi Dec 10 2014, 07:38 AM
Hey, I've driven high performance Go Karts in the US and Japan and I've always dabbled with performance cars. I did get a pro qualifying lap time at Summit Point in Virginia. This is such a tricky question. The fundamentals of racing are the same but the performance is not. Even though it's small, a Go Kart is 100% set up for racing whereas a typical road car is not. There's also some techinques you can do with a Kart that is difficult with a car. There's also times when you'd take a wider line with a car but with Karts being so friggin light you take a harder inside line to avoid driving too far. That kind of goes against the smoothest line theory. I'd say there's definitely a learning curve. The fundamentals of racing carry over though.

Oh and weight doesn't affect Karts as much as you think. I've seen fat dudes pass me like I was standing still.

Posted by: D33DO_R32 Jan 20 2015, 06:00 PM
here's my gokart onboard video from 22 November 2014

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10203413991614450

feel free to give advice about my driving

Posted by: Crono0001 Jan 21 2015, 07:59 AM
Go-Kart racing is all about line, which is important in road racing.

But road racing takes it to a whole new level. Acceleration and braking take on whole new meaning in a real car as opposed to a Go-Kart (which is pretty much on-off go-stop). There's also gearing and tire management.

I would relate go karting as shooting around a basketball court, and road racing as playing full court 5 on 5.

Posted by: Meteor Jan 21 2015, 09:54 AM
QUOTE (D33DO_R32)
here's my gokart onboard video from 22 November 2014

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10203413991614450

feel free to give advice about my driving

Well, it's kinda hard to see the course because of the shaky footage and the fact the camera's pointing a bit upwards, so all I can say for sure is that your steering inputs are fairly decent for someone who's starting out. But here's what I could tell from watching that:
.That right-left S-turn before the final corner seems to be the most significant corner in regards to laptimes.
.Your best time through that S-turn seems to have been on the first lap, whereas on the second lap you lost time to steering corrections, and on the next two you seemed to lose time between clearing the right turn and pointing the kart in the right direction for the short straight before the left.
.You tend to take that final corner a bit wide, and could benefit from an earlier turn-in there.

For that particular S-turn, the best approach seems to be something like a fast-in-slow-out going into the right, then immediately accelerating towards the left. Basically, entering the right like you're going for an out-in-out, but slowing down in the middle of the corner so you exit on the inside (or close to it), are already decently lined up for the next turn, and can get on the throttle much earlier and stay on it longer rather than having to wait for the kart to properly line up first. Or at least that's how it seems to me. You also seem to have taken a similar approach here on the first lap. Not making any guarantees here, since I have no sort of experience getting the most out of that sort of kart (or any kart really), but maybe you could give this a try if you get to drive on that course again or end up facing a similar S-turn elsewhere.

And that's about all I could figure out. I don't know if I got everything correct, but hopefully I got enough right for this to be of help to you.

Posted by: D33DO_R32 Jan 21 2015, 03:47 PM
QUOTE (Meteor @ 5 hours, 52 minutes ago)
QUOTE (D33DO_R32)
here's my gokart onboard video from 22 November 2014

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10203413991614450

feel free to give advice about my driving

Well, it's kinda hard to see the course because of the shaky footage and the fact the camera's pointing a bit upwards, so all I can say for sure is that your steering inputs are fairly decent for someone who's starting out. But here's what I could tell from watching that:
.That right-left S-turn before the final corner seems to be the most significant corner in regards to laptimes.
.Your best time through that S-turn seems to have been on the first lap, whereas on the second lap you lost time to steering corrections, and on the next two you seemed to lose time between clearing the right turn and pointing the kart in the right direction for the short straight before the left.
.You tend to take that final corner a bit wide, and could benefit from an earlier turn-in there.

For that particular S-turn, the best approach seems to be something like a fast-in-slow-out going into the right, then immediately accelerating towards the left. Basically, entering the right like you're going for an out-in-out, but slowing down in the middle of the corner so you exit on the inside (or close to it), are already decently lined up for the next turn, and can get on the throttle much earlier and stay on it longer rather than having to wait for the kart to properly line up first. Or at least that's how it seems to me. You also seem to have taken a similar approach here on the first lap. Not making any guarantees here, since I have no sort of experience getting the most out of that sort of kart (or any kart really), but maybe you could give this a try if you get to drive on that course again or end up facing a similar S-turn elsewhere.

And that's about all I could figure out. I don't know if I got everything correct, but hopefully I got enough right for this to be of help to you.

wow...meteor, thanks man..I will try that by the end of the month biggrin.gif

Posted by: D33DO_R32 Feb 24 2015, 06:25 PM
Does anyone here knows how to drive gokart smoothly? the steering of the gokart is very wild sad.gif

Posted by: Crono0001 Feb 24 2015, 11:02 PM
How heavy are you? And how powerful are the go-karts you're driving?
Are they competition go-karts? Or just ones you find around at a public karting track? Lots of variables.

I used to hit the local go-kart track quite often before I got into real road racing, and the same concept applies in terms of gas, brake, and steering. Smooth is fast. One motion through the corner will always be the quickest.

Posted by: D33DO_R32 Feb 25 2015, 06:16 AM
QUOTE (Crono0001 @ 7 hours, 14 minutes ago)
How heavy are you? And how powerful are the go-karts you're driving?
Are they competition go-karts? Or just ones you find around at a public karting track? Lots of variables.

I used to hit the local go-kart track quite often before I got into real road racing, and the same concept applies in terms of gas, brake, and steering. Smooth is fast. One motion through the corner will always be the quickest.

im 68kg on weight, and the gokart is probably just 5hp, its a rental quality gokart. the problem is what kind of steering input that can make the kart smooth and fast constantly. the steering is wild, heavy and vibrating too much.

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Posted by: Crono0001 Feb 25 2015, 08:21 AM
You are driving a non-competitive go-kart probably at a non-competitive vendor.

There's nothing you can do. Find a competitive karting track. 5 Horsepower is a pretty entry level, young adult kart, topping out at around 25mph. Competitive karts go up to 10 hp, max out at 45 mph, and have much better handling.

Posted by: I_guess_Miatas_are_cool Mar 7 2019, 09:39 PM
I know this is old, but I hope your karting is going well.


Anyway, what I wanted to talk about is a bit of flex I did in a go kart(electric), so Bone apple to the teeth:


Hairpin coming up, slowest corner of the track.

Scenario: Two slow people blocking the racing line.

Me: oh no better slow down this looks like an accident waiting to happen.

Two people: *both take inside line*

Me: *Gets distracted then realises where I am on track* ok this won't end well

Me: *Slams on brakes*

Kart:*oversteer time*

Two idiots: *oh what how did that kid pass us*

TLDR: So basically I powerslided around two people's outsides at once, which put me on the inside line for the next corner.


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