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The racing line

In karting, as in all motorsports, the racing line is the key to good lap times! A good position at the entrance of the turn allows better exit speed, especially when the turn is immediately before a straight. However, donít be fooled into thinking that the best line is the shortest one.

Theoretical approach (optional)
From a physics point of view, when turning, the kart is subjected to centrifugal force. When this exceeds a certain threshold it causes the kart to lose adhesion. On a mathematical level, this force, F, can be calculated using the equation:

F = mV ≤ / D

where V is the velocity, D is the diameter of the curve, and m is the mass of the vehicle (as this is constant, we can ignore it to simplify the example). A large diameter reduces the centrifugal force, and consequently provides better handling. To better understand this, let's consider an example.

Suppose the kart loses traction when the centrifugal force reaches 500 N (about 50 kg). To save time on the track, we must get close to this value without reaching it. It is not necessary to perform the calculation, it just helps in understanding it. Therefore, if we take a curve at mph, with a diameter of 5 meters, the force applied to the kart will be (49 x 49) / 5 = 480.20 N. Thatís fine, the kart will not lose grip. But if we now come to the turn at 60 mph with a turning diameter of 7.5 meters, the centrifugal force will be (60 x 60) / 7.5 = 480.00 N. By increasing the length of the bend you can maintain a higher speed than you could by staying completely to the inside of the turn, and therefore save precious seconds. In the hope that this somewhat "abstract" part has not scared you, now letís look at this in practice. Note: This calculation has been simplified to make it easy to understand (e.g. the units used are not correct, it should be meter per second for the speed).
 

Introduction section
   Introduction
   Equipment
   The flags and their meanings
Fundamentals
   Oversteer / Understeer
   The racing line : theorical approach
   The racing line : examples
   Braking
   Overtaking
In depth
   Special racing lines
   In
the rain
   The tight corner
   Trail braking
   Looking for sponsors
Conclusion

 

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