What I Learned My First Weekend Kart Racing!

If you follow me at all, you know that I finished last at my first race weekend.  I finished last on Heat 1, Heat 2, and the main.  I was supposed to start on the pole for Heat 2 but decided to start in the back since I knew that I would be in the way of the other racers.

So, onto what I learned my first race weekend.

  1. Tire Pressure is important! I initially had my tire pressure up around 20psi!  This was way to high for a kart and found out though some research that they should be much lower.  Usually in the 10-15psi range.  I thought since it was cold out that the higher psi would help but I was wrong.  For my last race I had the psi at 15psi and my lap times were much better.  I also just happened to see True Racer’s psi video, which also confirmed my suspicions.
  2. The PRD Fireball makes better power in the optimal temperature range. I found this out later on after wondering about the tape on the radiators.  I always thought you wanted the engine to run as cool as possible, but in racing that may be incorrect.  At least for the 2 stroke engine.  It was a cold day and everyone had tape on the radiators.  I did not and my engine temperature was in the low 100’s.  After doing some internet research, I was able to determine that the optimal engine temperature is between 122-140 degrees.  I may have been on the low end of that on the last lap but I’m not sure.  Now I know what the tape is for!  This may have also had a factor in not being able to keep up on the straights.  I was losing a lot of time coming out of the corner and hitting the big straight.
  3. You need a good tire pressure gauge! The gauge on my hand pump doesn’t read very well.  It goes from 0psi to 15psi in one pump.  Even if you let the air out.  This is not accurate and does not help with #1.
  4. You will not be competitive! I always thought that I could just out drive the other people or the flaws in my kart and be at least in the mix.  I didn’t think I would win my first race or anything but I thought that I would at least be competitive.  This was not the case and it will take a lot of learning to get up to the level of these competitors.  I am not discouraged, just humbled.
  5. Weight is important! Unfortunately this is a fact.  I was weighing in at around 393-394 with all my gear.  That is 13 pounds over the minimum.  This may be why the other karts were getting out of that turn so good and leaving me in the dust.  The class that I’m running makes provisions for that with gearing.  The PRD Spec class specifies a 10/77 +/-1 gear combination which allows either a 76 or 78 rear gear.  They also allow 1 tooth for every 20 pounds over the minimum.  I’m not quite there, but I will be changing out to a 78 gear for my next race.  We’ll see if that helps, the track is pretty technical so it might!

I’m sure I learned a lot more about karting over my first practice and race but those are the things that I think will help me become more competitive.  I will order this stuff soon and install before the next race.  We’ll see how it goes!

If you found this helpful or think anything should be added, please leave a comment below.


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