LMK Speed Secret: Tire temperature. Many race cars at the highest forms of motorsport will swerve back and forth on caution or formation laps, sometimes violently, in an effort to put heat into the tires. This is because tire temperature has a huge effect on a car’s grip. But is it a factor in karting as well? Absolutely! In an hour-long endurance race on our Mega Track, it is very common to see lap times fall by as much as a second or more.
When racing for position, it’s important to get the most out of your kart on every single lap. Developing a sense for the amount of grip you have at any given point in the race will allow you to be on the edge all the way to the finish. The best way to develop this skill? Seat time. But if you’re just getting started, you can use the first lap or two of qualifying to drive a bit beyond where you think the limits of the kart are. Taking the approach of “throw away” laps will allow you to concentrate on driving up to the limits you’ve found without having to waste time working up to them bit by bit. If you have a break in between qualifying and the race, use the formation lap to get a sense of where your limits are. But gently, please – you’re under caution conditions!
Tires will cool rather quickly, so keep this in mind when going out for a new session. Know that, in general, you can continue to push a bit harder each lap as tire temperature increases.