Common go-karting mistakes

Go-Karter Karting At TeamSport Eastleigh

Common Indoor Go-Karting Mistakes to Avoid

13 May 2024

It’s the little things that take the casual racer to the go karting fiend. Have you been looking for tips to improve your go-karting performance? Sometimes the problem isn’t what you’re doing - it’s what you’re not doing. 

In our previous blog, 10 Ways to Win Your Next Go Kart Race, we covered the most important tips for go-kart racers. This blog will focus on the ten most common go karting mistakes to avoid, and why doing so will take you to the next level!

#1 Holding the wheel the wrong way

Steering is sensitive, so you have to keep your hands fixed in place at the widest part of the steering wheel (10 and 2 or 9 and 3 position). This also gives you the best control. You don’t need to move your hands all over the wheel, either.

#2 Not breaking hard enough

Any passionate karter will tell you that the way you brake makes or breaks your racing experience. Don’t ease gently into braking because you won’t feel the effect in time - when cornering, brake hard (until the wheels almost lock) and slowly release.

#3 Use all of the track

As we explain in Understanding the Racing Line, the quickest way around a go-karting track requires you to strategically move outside and inside the lane. 

For example, when you are approaching a corner, you should do so from the outside of the lane, moving inside towards the corner apex, and then exiting the corner from the outside again. Learn more in our blog on How to Improve Cornering

Using the entirety of the track is the most crucial, and often forgotten, key to winning a race. 

#4 Not adjusting the seat properly

If you’re able to, make sure you adjust your seat before the race starts. If you’re not far back or too far down, this will not only affect your performance, but also just make you really uncomfortable in the kart. If you think something isn’t right about the way you’ve been sitting, speak to a member of staff about the best positioning or test different positions until it feels right. 

#5 Driving consistently

We’ve all heard the fable about the tortoise and the hare, and the lesson absolutely applies to go karting (well, except the part where slow and steady wins). If you’re switching back and forth between different speeds, if you’re taking the track a little differently with every loop, you’re going to fall behind. Stay consistent, and you’ll win the race!

#6 Steering too aggressively

Smooth motions are key to go-karting - every action should be planned in advance and executed smoothly and deliberately. Steering too sharply will cause understeer or oversteer - understeer is never ideal because the car turns less than you want it to and the front wheels slide out of control. Oversteer, however, is okay if you’re Drifting a Go-Kart - that said, we still recommend avoiding this completely, as both understeering and oversteering will slow you down.

#7 Not looking ahead

This rule applies for go karting as much as it applies for driving. Looking a few metres whenever possible gives you a better idea of what's coming up, where other racers are, which turns are approaching and more. Try looking one stage ahead of where you are so you can build important soft skills like decision-making and problem-solving.

#8 Focusing too much on everyone else

While looking ahead and staying aware of everyone is important (so you’re aware of everything, able to strategise and stay safe), you have to balance it with concentrating on your own performance. This is the surest way to make you a better racer.

#9 Not adjusting your technique from track to track

We understand that when you’ve created a technique for yourself you want to stick with it. Every go-karting experience you sign up for will present new challenges to overcome. Every track and every kart is different, and failing to adapt your technique will set you back. For example, the way an e-kart races is totally different to a petrol kart! Indoor vs outdoor karting are completely different experiences too. 

#10 Not enjoying yourself! 

We love a competitive spirit, but if your competitors are making you angry or stressed, take a (mental) step back. Thinking five steps ahead will only take you out of the race, so take a mental step back - focus on the feel of the kart and how exhilarating it is to fly across the track. We promise you’ll be flooded with endorphins again in no time.

Key Takeaways

Here are some conclusions you could draw from these common indoor go karting mistakes:

  • Find balance between strategising and having fun - employing different tactics is great, but the best way to win a race is to know you were laughing all throughout it.
  • Be flexible. We would love it if go-karting was as simple as learning one strategy once and using it forever, but in practice you need to treat every race like a new challenge.
  • A lot of technical mistakes can be solved with practice - keep working on your technique, and you can’t fail! Reading our guides on defending your position, overtaking, cornering and more will also help.

If you’re itching to put your new knowledge to the test, head down to one of TeamSport’s 40+ indoor go-karting venues across the UK!

Find your nearest track here