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YOUR KART TUNING AND MAINTENANCE SOURCE

These guys are going to want to know what’s going on with your car during a race, so will your tuner, so should you.

To refresh your memory, I started the “How To Drive Your Own Race” series at the request of one of my subscribers who wanted help in this area.  One of the things he stressed was his inability to recall what his go kart was doing during the heat of battle in a race.  Consequently, he was unable to make any meaningful tuning changes to his go kart before the next heat because he felt he would just be guessing.  So how do you focus on what your go kart is doing and still focus on the race – establish a proper test procedure.  I’ll explain the correlation below.

By establishing a proper test procedure you are ingraining a natural instinct to think about what the go kart is doing while you are driving so you can analyze the feedback and make the go kart better for the next session or race.  Your goal is to make this a habit so that you are automatically thinking about what the go kart is doing regardless of whether it is a test session or the main.  How do you get there?  Change the way you practice/test…

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Given the plethora of kart classes out there and the hundreds (well, maybe not hundreds but it sure seems like it sometimes) of different racing kart engines, you may be wondering how is FKI going to tackle the art of engine tuning.  Well, at the end of the day, regardless of the type of motor you run, engine tuning usually boils down to one component – how does your sparkplug look.  Your sparkplug reveals many things about your jetting so the more knowledgeable you are about reading a plug, the better you will be at optimizing your jetting.  So what are you looking for?  Well, with the help of SwedeTech’s owner and founder Reine Pierson, we will show you…

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Categories : Engine Tuning, How To's
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This is the article the guys I kart with didn’t want me to write before SuperNats last year.  Why?  Because this tuning area caught out one of my teammates at a previous SuperNats so they didn’t want me to give the competition any advantage by bringing this area to their attention before last years SuperNats.  Since the area may seem obvious once I mention it, let me tell you what was going on with my friend’s go kart and see if you would have guessed the solution to the problem beforehand.

For the 2009 SuperNats, one of my teammates bought two identical chassis to run in two classes – G1 and S4.  Neither chassis was bent or had any defects.  With what he thought were identical set-ups, one go kart was on rails and the other had a big turn-in to mid-corner oversteer.  He called me (I missed that year) to get my opinion and we tried everything we could think of to change on the rear to give the rear more grip – longer hubs, softer axle [30mm Tony – see axle article – FKI September 2010], increase tire psi, rear to full width, raise rear ride height, different seat position.  Nothing seemed to work, he still had oversteer.  I had him double check the front caster and toe out setting, they were exactly the same.  So, what was the issue?

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Categories : Chassis Tuning
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It seemed appropriate to start the Data Analysis series with choosing a gear since the first thing I do when I go to a new track is look at the data to assess my gear choice.  While sometimes it is obvious that you are geared too long or short, using both the graphs and the Time Compare feature of your data acquisition system can be crucial to picking the optimum gear that will move you up the grid in qualifying or a race.  So what are you looking for?  I’ll explain…

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This is harder than it looks and a great exercise for karting!

I think we would all agree that finishing an Ironman, a 2.4 mile swim followed by a 112 mile bike ride capped off with a full marathon distance (26.2 miles), is a heck of a physical and mental achievement.  How about finishing 10, not as a professional, but for fun.  That’s exactly what fellow karter Steve Ferrario has done.   Steve was also a very capable driver with 3 ProKart Challenge victories and numerous podiums to his credit.  So, if Steve gives you advice on how to train for karting, you listen.  The complete workout outlined in March’s FKI Newsletter is Steve’s and prepares you very well for karting…

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Categories : How To's
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If your braking in any way resembles this picture, you are Lazy Braking and leaving time on the table.

Lazy Braking. If there is one bad habit I fall into more often than I would like to admit, its Lazy Braking. What exactly do I mean by Lazy Braking? Lazy Braking is when you brake early and/or brake under your go kart’s braking threshold. Why? Because it feels safer and you are less likely to go off, especially if you have a kart with only rear brakes. How do you know if you are braking at the threshold and if you are not, what can you work on to make sure you are? Well, there are a couple of things you can do plus there are some instances where Lazy Braking may actually be faster…
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Have you ever put new tires on for qualifying, actually gone slower, and wondered why?  Ever had your go kart perfect in the last heat, rolled into the main without any changes and gone backwards?  If so, you are most likely tuning to where the track has been, not where it is going.  If it makes you feel any better, I spent far too many street races in my Indy Lights career doing the same thing.

You may be saying to yourself, “tune to where the track is going” sounds great in theory, but how does it break down to me.  That’s a great point, because essentially what we are taking about here is how tire wear affects your kart or more specifically how your kart’s handling changes as it progresses through a tire’s given life.  Furthermore, you are the one that has to do the homework week after week to ensure you stay on top of how your kart and the track changes over the course of a day.  There is a definite art to tuning to where you are going, I will try to expose as much of it as I can below…

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Categories : Chassis Tuning
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Data Acquisition – quite simply this is the key to you getting faster in the shortest amount of time.  Luckily AIM makes a very user friendly line of data acquisition systems for karters that are easy to understand and operate once you get up and running.  For many people, actually getting up and running is the challenge as the owner’s manual is a little overwhelming and confusing.  So, my goal here is to simply give you the set up process and basic procedures so that you can log and download accurate data.  Then, starting next month, we will delve into how to analyze and use the data to get faster.  For those of you using other systems, don’t worry, once we begin talking about data analysis, the way you interpret and use the graphs generated by any data logging system is universal.  In the meantime, it might not be a bad idea to look over this article as there are some key set-up facets and tips that will pertain to any system…

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Categories : Data Acquisition
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Although it is possible to accurately align your kart with the items above, I highly recommend buying or borrowing an alignment tool for optimum results.

I have a confession to make.  For the longest time, I thought aligning your go kart was just a matter of “set the toe and go.”  While toe plays a big factor in a kart’s handling equation (see Myth Busters article for more on this subject), “squaring” the front wheels with the rest of the kart by properly centering the steering shaft plays a much bigger role in a karts handling.  If you miss this part of the alignment equation, you will be compromising performance at the very least and battling a difference in handling from left to right hand turns at the worst.

Regardless of what alignment tool or method you use, there are some basic procedures and steps that you should be following in order to make sure your kart is aligned properly.  If you don’t have an alignment tool, don’t worry, it is possible to align your kart accurately using a few the items pictured above.  Interestingly enough, the steps you use to align the kart without an alignment tool are the exact same steps you should be following with any alignment tool.  I will stress however, that to obtain optimum results I highly suggest you purchase an alignment tool or borrow one from a friend.  For those of you interested in purchasing one, I will provide an overview and buyer’s guide at the end of the article to help you…

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At the 2010 SuperNats, I and three other drivers I race with decided to work together and share information with great success.

If you continually get caught out on your set-up over the course of a race weekend due to the changing grip levels, this article is for you. It is widely thought that multi-car teams out perform single-car teams at every level of motorsport. Why? Because the drivers and engineers on multi-car teams share information and cover twice as much ground in half the time to arrive at an optimum set-up quicker. How important is this at the karting level? Well, the three other guys I race with felt it was important enough to all be on the same exact chassis for the 2010 SuperNats that two of us, Arie Luyendyk Jr. and I, bought new chassis to match the ones owned by the other two drivers on our “team.” It was also fortunate that three of us ran in the morning sessions, three classes apart, and the fourth driver ran in the afternoon session (more on this later).

Just so I am clear, I am not suggesting that you need to buy another chassis or convince your friends to take up karting to “form” a multi-kart team (although your kart shop owner will love you). It is possible to accomplish the same goals even if you are on your own at the track. Let me explain…

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