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.  You don't need to watch the apex until you hit it.


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 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.

Five Critical Tips to Working Successfully with Kart Drivers


Here is how I work with drivers to get them into a high performance frame of mind.  This is essential if you are running drivers as a parent, team manager, or mechanic and you want to avoid dealing with a moody driver all weekend!


1.  Work WITH your driver not against.  If you tell a driver to do as they are told and drive your way, and then send them back out on track that driver will go out with the intent to prove you wrong. They will also feel uninspired and underperform.


Instead ask your driver to experiment with a technique, and let them evaluate the pro's and cons after the session.  They will then feel that they are leading the process of improvement instead of being lectured.


2. Before you tell a driver what they need to improve after a track session, first ask them how the session went and listen intently.  If you are lucky they will identify the same problem as you.  When that happens then you don't have to risk critisizing them and they feel that they are in control.


3.  Have a disciplined debrief procedure.  Create debrief documentation that the driver has helped to design.  The document should ask about the kart's behaviour in each corner and should be completed after every session.  The debrief should happen immediately after the session so that the adjustments to the kart can be made.  Do this seated somewhere away from distraction if possible.


4.  After a debrief, repeat back to the driver what you understand is going on with the kart and explain the adjustments you will make with the set up to help them.  The adjustment must be directly related to what they are asking  from the kart.


If you think the kart problems are driver induced - for example if they complain the rear isn't sticking you would say 'you might be too early on the throttle, but let's give you the grip you want at the back - if it still slides try being more careful with the throttle and see if that cures it'.


5.  Build a rapport with your driver through a collaborative approach and have faith in them. When a driver gets the right vibe from you that you believe in them as a driver then their performance will soar. That's a promise!


Smoothness Master Class from Thonon

I just found this great video filmed with a SmartyCam showing Jonothan Thonon racing in the Winter Cup in Super KF.

It's an incredible example of how he adapts his driving style from cold tyres during the first lap, to being very precise with his steering as soon as he has the grip.


For the first half of the video he is using  an aggressive technique whilst on cold tyres, he is sliding the kart into corners and seems to be having fun!

Then suddenly as soon as the kart is ready he starts turning the kart into corners by gradually turning the steering wheel, then holding a constant angle of steering through the corner. This is a great visual explanation of how everyone should aim to drive as I've explained in my kart smoothness article here.


Eliminating The Ultimate Overtaking Sin – The Half Move


What drives parents and teams mental more than anything else is when a driver pulls alongside another driver to overtake, and then backs out at the last moment. Then from being off the racing line they lose loads of time, take a whole lap to catch up again and then guess what..... they make the same half move again, lose the same amount of time only to catch up and not pass again!


Read more...

The Hidden Secret Behind Driving Smooth

Davide Fore KZ1 Super KF Karting World Champion"I try to be as Smooth as possible. When I go into a corner, I turn the wheel enough to get to the Apex, but then I make sure I have the wheel centered in the corner as much as possible." Davide Fore - Multiple World Karting Champion

Davide Fore sums up the whole philosophy of elite kart driving perfectly there for you. The meaning of life for the advanced kart driver is to adjust the steering angle during cornering as little as possible AND to have the wheel as close to centred the whole time.


Now, it seems fairly obvious that driving smooth is fastest. You'll hear Martin Brundle complaining about drivers sawing at the wheel too much on F1 coverage, or marvelling at how smooth Jenson Button is. It's pretty much general knowledge that driving smooth is the way to go, but telling someone how to drive smooth is useless without telling them how to drive smooth!


It's easy to drive smooth, my gran drives very smooth on the way to Sainsbury's but she aint fast!!


Read more...

Looking Ahead Explained


Right, what you are going to learn today is what puts the magic into driving. It is also the key to completely hammering your lap times down, making kickass overtaking manoeuvres, slicing through back-markers like they're not even there, driving a perfect line, and trail braking like you're floating into corners. In other words how to become a driving GOD.



Sound good? Right let's spill the beans then. It's all about where you look, and what you allow to take your attention, it's about psychology and confidence and if you master it I guarantee you will be bloody quick.


I call it looking ahead, sounds daft because you already do that, so lets modify it, let's call it looking further ahead than you do already. The implications of doing this are huge, so I'm briefly going to explain how it works, then I will show you how to do it, step by step.


Have you ever noticed this effect, a kart has spun off in the next corner, you see it well in advance and as you watch the driver getting started again you find yourself actually driving towards him, like you're magnetically attracted. I did this once on a quick right hander, and ended up landing on my head in a corn field after clipping a stationary kart. This is because your movement naturally follows where you are looking, it's just something us humans do.


Read more...

How to Get Past Karts at the Start (Rather than Being Swamped Yourself)

As a driver coach I get asked more about making great starts than any other subject. It seems that there are loads of drivers who can put together quick laps and make passing moves no problem….but they get such bad starts that the race is already ruined before the end of the first lap.

So, here is how I help some of the UK’s best drivers get great starts


Step 1.

The key to getting a good start is confidence and self-assurance. The biggest problem for drivers at the start of a race is that they get a sensory overload. There is just way too much going on around them to be able to make the right move at the right time.

Normally to get over being overloaded I would suggest get out and practice, but there is a limited supply of race starts….you don’t get to practice starts enough. So use the next best thing. Visualisation.

Sounds like psychological rubbish I know, but frankly it works wonders with my drivers and will make your starts go much better if you take it seriously. Here’s what you need to do.


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How to Become a Karting Rain Master.

How to learn to love karting in the wet and whoop everyone else.

Karting in the wet is the ultimate way to learn how a kart works, and how to become a super-sensitive kart driver. The other great thing about the wet karting is that it will magnify any driving problems you have, so you can spot them easily and nail them straight away.

Read more...

The Secret to Overtake Karts as if They are Standing Still

Karting Secrets to Overtaking, Perfect Lines and Getting in the Zone.....

Right, what you are going to learn today is what puts the magic into driving. It is also the key to completely hammering your lap times down, making kickass overtaking manoeuvres, slicing through back-markers like they're not even there, driving a perfect line, and trail braking like you're floating into corners. In other words how to become a driving GOD.

Read more...

If You Want to Win Karting Events....You Need to Know How to Brake

How to Earn Your Title as the Karting 'Last of the Late Brakers

How do I learn to brake like those flash Super 1 karters?

This is where you're going to get the answers you need. And in my usual tradition I'm going to give you nice'n'easy step-by-step instructions.

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Body Posture - The Karting Secret that Transforms Kart Drivers

Ok, let's get on with introducing some fundamentals of driving a kart that every driver should know. Getting these techniques nailed will really pay off later in the course, and are really going to boost your confidence in the kart.

Don't worry, I'm not going to patronise you, I'm assuming you are already a reasonable driver and you're here to perfect your techniques.

Here's what you're going to find out today

Read more...