Kart Driving Articles by Terence Dove

A Good Year for Drivers I've Worked With

 

The 2012 season has been pretty good so far for drivers I've been working with this year, and for drivers who have had the EvenFlow treatment in the past. Here is a quick run-down:-

 

Enaam Ahmed - 2012 Super 1 Comer Cadet Champion, Open Champion,  British Vice Champion

Zak Fulk - 2012 4th Place Comer British Championship

Matthew Taylor - 2012 Super Cadet British Champion

Sebastian Bainbridge - 2012 New Zealand North Island Sprint Champion

Connor Mills - 2012 MiniMax British Champion

Connor Hall - MiniMax 5th British Championship

Jack Partridge - 2012 Junior TKM British Champion, TKM Festival Winner

Shea Pearce - Junior TKM 10th British Championship

Ross Gunn - 2012 Junior Rotax British Champion

Toby Sowery - Junior Rotax Kartmasters GP Plate Winner

Darius Karbaley - KF3 5th British Championships

Callum Illott - KF3 WSK Euro Series Vice Champion, WSK Final Cup Winner, WSK Master Series Champion,

Phil Smith - KGP World Champion, TKM Open Champion

 

 

Take Control of Your Karting Destiny for Supreme Confidence

 

How much time do you put into planning your next outing on track?  Do you know what you are going to change on your kart, or an adjustment to your driving style every practice session. Do you know exactly what you need to learn about the changes you intend to make by the end of the day, and how that will instruct the decisions you'll make for race day?

 

I ask that question to karters and usually get the response:-

 

"Well no, how do I know what we will need to change - it might rain.  I don't like to plan because so much changes. It's best to see what happens on the day and go form there."

 

Do McLaren pitch up at Suzuka for the weekend, roll the cars out of the truck on a Friday morning and say 'well lads, let's see how it runs and then take it from there'.

 

Or do they spend millions planning every little detail of every single lap, so that their operation runs like clockwork.  The answer to that is obvious, but karters generally don't think about anything until they rock up to the grid.  Then they just sit in the kart and go.

 

That means that all your crucial decisions are made on the fly, under pressure and at the last minute.  That might work for you on occasion because you will trip over a good solution, but generally its a recipe for mediocrity.

 

However, there is a far more detrimental effect for arriving at the grid without a strong sense of purpose...


Lack of Planning Kills Confidence!

 

When you arrive at a track without a detailed plan of the improvements you will make session by session, then you are going to arrive at the grid with a head full of 'what if?what if? what if?'.  And carrying the question of 'what if' to the grid is not the way to drive with supreme confidence as a driver fully in control of their destiny!

 

Creating a Plan that the Team and Driver Believes in.

(By team I mean either the racing team you hire, or maybe the team is Mum and Dad - it doesn't make a difference)

 

For a driver to feel fully confident they need to feel in control.  And to feel in control a driver needs to feel there is a strong and effective plan that both the driver and the team fully believes in.  To achieve harmony between driver and team, they have to collaborate to build the plan.  Here's how to do it:-

 

1)  Identify the objectives for performance improvement that need to be made.  These could be driver related e.g harder braking, or kart related eg better rear stability.  Quite often a team will say we need you to brake harder, and the driver will say, 'yeah but I need to feel the kart will grip at the rear'.

 

2) Create a plan for meeting the objectives session by session days in advance.

 

 

  • Session 1-  You might agree that we will shift the weight further back in the kart for session 1.
  • Debrief as to whether the driver feels there is more rear stability under braking.
  • Session 2 -  The driver will brake harder, step by step until they feel they have reached the limit of what the kart can do.
  • Debrief on how the driver feels the combination of harder braking and more rear stability improved performance
  • Session 3 -  Refine the kart adjustments and braking technique for session 3 to make further gains.

 

 

The effect on driver confidence when simple plans are put in place and agreed upon days in advance is huge, the driver knows that any problems they have will be dealt with in a systematic way - they won't hide problems and they won't explode periodically about how nobody listens to them, or even worse lose faith in themselves and their team.

 

 

Ten Most Comon Mistakes by Karters

 

Here are the 10 most common problems I see with karters, and how to fix them!

 

1) Moving hands around on the wheel.

 

This is what I fix straight away for so many drivers I work with. When youalter the way you grip the wheel or shift the position of your hands you are confusing the feedback signals that the kart gives you. Hold the wheel where you like, but keep your hands in a fixed position for the whole run.

 

2) Turning in to corners too hard.

 

Smoothness is so important at the wheel. And the surest way to destroy your chances of being super smooth is to jerk the steering into corners.  Gently introduce your kart into corners and reduce steering adjustments to the absolute minimum.

 

 

3) Sliding the kart on exit.

 

Sliding the kart on exit reduces the ability of the tyre to accelerate you out of the corner.  When you exit a corner you want the steering as straight as you can manage.  A little angle on the steering is ok, but opposite lock on exit is killing your laptime.

 

4) Braking too gently.

 

Very common with slightly nervous karters is gentle braking. You need to reach the limit of braking almost immediately when you brake. Otherwise you won't be able to find the latest point to brake.

 

5) Increasing Brake pressure

 

Increasing brake pressure as you approach the corner can make a kart feel totally unstable.  If you increase brake pressure as you close in on the apex you risk overloading the rear tyres and they can let go very quickly. Suddenly you are sideways and cursing your awful kart!

 

Instead start with almost 100% braking pressure and gently release it as you near the corner.  The kart will feel rock solid.

 

6) Getting to the apex as fast as possible, at the cost of exit speed.

 

So many drivers will attack the entry to the corner because the kart allows them to do so.  Then they bog on exit, often shaking their head blaming their slow engine.

 

Be smart and make sure you maximise exit speed before you start finding time in the entry phase of the corner.

 

7) Looking too short.

 

Almost every driver doesn't look far ahead enough through corners, I've proved this at iZone with the eye tracking we use there.

 

You need to push your vision forward, look at exit points at least 3 kart lengths before you reach the apex!

 

8) Driving whilst processing kart dynamics theory.

 

Intelligent drivers are very hard to help because they are constantly thinking about the dynamics of their kart whilst driving.

 

Forget all that, empty your mind and just drive, or you will always be a few tenths short of your potential!

 

9) Too much steering input

 

The key to being mega-quick is to imagine that the steering slows you as much as the brake.  Use the wheel as sparingly as you can.  Every extra degree of steering input is slowing you down.

 

10) Wheel-spinning in the wet

 

There are a lot of things you need to do in the wet, but they all are aimed at reducing the possibility of wheel-spin.

 

So, in the wet avoid using more throttle than the rear tyres can take - just don't wheelspin!

 

How Jack Partridge Improved to Win 2012 Junior TKM British Title

 

What did it take for Jack Partridge to win the British Junior TKM championship this year.  I spent the whole season working with him including a lot of time at iZone. Here is what made Jack stand out from the rest of the drivers he was up against.  You should do the same if you want to win too!

 

1) Physical fitness.


Jack made huge effort to increase his strength and fitness leading up to the start of the season.  This year he didn't wait to be told after the first race that he wasn't quite strong enough.  He arrived on day one ready to go.

 

2) Driving Technique Changes


We identified where Jack needed to improve his driving style, and he quickly adapted.

 

Here's where he improved to go form being very good to excellent.

 

 

  • Harder and later braking.
  • Later apexing for just about all corners, leading to faster exit speeds.
  • Use of subtle weight shifting to improve turn in response.

 

 

3) Vastly improved looking ahead.


I can only do this at iZone, we corrected Jack's typical short vision driving and he now has exceptional long vision.

 

4) Mental Toughness.


This is what enabled Jack to turn his speed into wins. Jack developed the ability to hold single pointed concentration under pressure.  This was developed on the iZone

simulator by doing what we call 'pressure runs'.

 

I'm hoping my work with drivers in Mini Max and Junior Max drivers will reap more similar rewards at the Shenington Super 1 decider soon!

 

 

 

How to Drive Your Team Insane - Looking Behind

 

 

Very few drivers are capable of looking behind them whilst driving without following it up with a terrible mistake that costs them three or four places.


That's why I have a policy with drivers that is quite simple, never ever look behind.  And if they get to the level where they can afford to look behind them without it causing problems then they don't need my help any more.

 

Here's what happens when drivers look behind

 

1.  You deprive your brain of the flow of information it needs to drive fast.  It's like rebooting a PC, it takes time to get back up to speed.

 

2.  You give the driver behind you a huge confidence boost.  You are telling them you are worried about them.

 

3.  If the driver behind is 50% sure they will make a pass on you, when they see you look behind at them they become 100% sure they can do it.  Now they know you are expecting it and you will give them room.

 

4.  You reveal to all the following drivers and all spectators that you are expecting to go backwards in this race.  It shows a lack of confidence and ruins any reputation as an intimidating racer you would hope to build.

 

5.  You drive your parents and/or team insane, because they have probably told you never to look behind. They become obsessed with it and can't focus on other important aspects of performance.

 

How to Stop Yourself Looking Behind - Look further Ahead!

 

Looking ahead is a technique I talk about in another article here.  But it has a very beneficial side effect.  When you are super focussed on the next apex, and the next exit point then you never have any temptation to look behind.

 

When you are using the 'look ahead' technique, you are always looking two steps ahead of where you are currently on track.  So when you are on the straight you are looking beyond your braking point to the corner apex.  When you are  at your braking point you are looking beyond the apex at your next exit point.

 

And it is very hard to do this, it takes a lot of concentration and leaves no room for any thoughts of what is going on behind.

 

If you master looking two steps ahead then looking behind gets banished forever!

 

If you need help with your driving call me, or drop me an email using my contact page.

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