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Old 12-17-2002, 01:29 PM   #1
BruceC
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Default Karting: good off-season AutoX practice?

Since I live near a major local indoor kart track (Kart2Kart), I was wondering if karting would be useful to maintain/sharpen my (modest) skills for AutoXing my WRX. Or are the vehicle dynamics etc. too dissimilar to be useful?

Of course, there's the fun factor...

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Old 12-17-2002, 02:39 PM   #2
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In a word, NO.

Karting has such different dynamics that your timing will be all off and you'll end up being frustrated when you return to autocross.

However karting is GREAT for getting seat time and learning the basics of driving fast.

So, in conclusion- YES, karting is good practice. Just expect a fairly harsh re-adjustment when you move from a low-mass, instant response, high grip vehicle to a high mass, body-rolling, slidey vehicle that has POWER!!

Hope that didn't confuse ya.. just relating my experiences going from Kart to WRX. (Involved a fun spin )
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Old 12-17-2002, 03:20 PM   #3
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I guess one good thing you can take away from karting (in the karts at a track like that not a 125 Shifter, well, maybe a shifter too) is momentum and how to keep it and smoothness.
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Old 12-17-2002, 03:26 PM   #4
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I would have to disagree. I used to frequent Kart2Kart quite often (back when I had the time) and I felt that a lot of the skills I developed in the karts translated directly to my car. The near instant correction that is required when the kart begins to oversteer is one example of a skill that carries over to a road vehicle. Another is the careful yet lightning quick throttle modulation required to put the kart where you want it on the racing line. Things happen so quickly in the karts that I now find it easier to drive a car near the limits.

Bruce, PM me sometime if you want someone to go up there with.

-Dave
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Old 12-17-2002, 06:23 PM   #5
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Oops, I hope it was clear that I was saying it IS helpful.

There will be a small adjustment period though. Like two runs or so

The things that carry over are very basic, like improved reflexes, driving a good line, being SMOOTH, maintaining momentum..

These are not only basic, but critical to driving fast in any setting. However, the details will be different. A car simply doesn't go around a course as well as a kart does.
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Old 12-17-2002, 06:48 PM   #6
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The vehicle dynamics are totally different from the WRX to a kart...
night and day mean anything to you?

karting will keep your basic driving skills honed during the winter months.
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Old 12-17-2002, 07:02 PM   #7
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Anyone that says vehicle dynamics in a kart are *totally* different than a car have no idea what they are talking about. Throttle-lift oversteer, trail braking oversteer, power oversteer, smooth throttle and brake applications and smooth steering input can all be learned in a kart just as it can be learned in a car...for a lot less money. Karts demonstrate the same handling characteristics as cars...you can't overcome physics.

The main difference is the suspension. Karts don't hide your mistakes like a WRX will with its forgiving suspension.

As far as karts not having power...ANY 125cc shifter kart with beat ANY WRX from 0-100-0, and my Rotax (with a clutch) will beat my 300hp WRX from 10- about 70mph...how is that for power.

In a nutshell...even the rental karts will improve your driving dramatically.
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Old 12-17-2002, 07:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by TBreu007
Anyone that says vehicle dynamics in a kart are *totally* different than a car have no idea what they are talking about. Throttle-lift oversteer, trail braking oversteer, power oversteer
Just because they can do the same things doesn't mean they drive the same. In most cases you as a driver will be doing very different things at different times to get the same effect. As for power oversteer, I would be surprised to see that in either an indoor kart or a stock WRX. That is my experience.

Quote:
As far as karts not having power...ANY 125cc shifter kart with beat ANY WRX from 0-100-0, and my Rotax (with a clutch) will beat my 300hp WRX from 10- about 70mph...how is that for power.
In terms of power an indoor kart is a whole world apart from a 125cc Rotax. You know that...
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Old 12-17-2002, 08:53 PM   #9
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go karts and autocrossing are the only two motorsports I do.

a go kart is just a very low, very light, very stiff car.

all the same rules apply.

if you go too fast around a corner in a go-kart, youll risk understeering, or oversteering, depending on the setup of the kart.

At one time, I got a kart that behaved very much like a stock WRX, it plowed through every turn, and I had to use the brake to push the nose down and get the damn thing to turn.
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Old 12-18-2002, 01:56 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by PaulC
[b]

Just because they can do the same things doesn't mean they drive the same. In most cases you as a driver will be doing very different things at different times to get the same effect. As for power oversteer, I would be surprised to see that in either an indoor kart or a stock WRX. That is my experience.



In terms of power an indoor kart is a whole world apart from a 125cc Rotax. You know that...
A driver will not be doing different things at different times for the same effect. If you trail off on the throttle in a kart or a WRX, the vehicle will probably oversteer. If you brake through a corner, either vehicle will probably oversteer. If you go flat out at apex of a faster corner, either vehicle will understeer. If you don't trail brake, both will probably understeer at corner entry. That is controling your weight distribution and controling the dynamics of the vehicle. Something karting will teach you very efficiently.

In most cases, a good racecar driver can jump from a World Challenge car directly into an improved touring car, or even a formula car and still outdrive 99% of the people on the planet. He's (or she's) not quite used to the different intracicies of each car right off the bat, but since the driver knows almost instinctually what the car will do when lifting off or applying the throttle or brake, they are still competitive. Cars and karts are a lot more similar than most people think. I used to agree with you that they are very different, but as I got more and more track time in karts and cars, I started to see the whole picture.

True, you won't find power oversteer in a WRX or a rental kart, but you will experience everything else.

You're right, Rotax is a whole different animal than a rental indoor kart, but I still do get in the painfully slow 6.5hp Honda rental karts on occasion at my local kart sprint track. Nothing teaches you to be smooth with your brakes and turning like a 6.5hp motor. When I feel stale in the Rotax, the rental karts always help me to iron things out.

Good luck
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Old 12-18-2002, 11:00 AM   #11
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Power oversteer can be induced even in a 6.5HP rental kart. When coming around a corner at the limits of adhesion getting on the gas too early will overwhelm the rear tires and induce oversteer. Sure the tires aren't spinning 2.5x the speed of the kart with billows of smoke pouring out but throttle induced oversteer is a reality even in a underpowered kart.

-Dave
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Old 12-18-2002, 11:44 AM   #12
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The F1 guys do a lot of karting in the off-season, so I don't think it could hurt for us to do the same thing. If anything, it sharpens the reflexes
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Old 12-18-2002, 12:43 PM   #13
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yup
I get power oversteer in the 6hp karts here in houston all da time


Quote:
Originally posted by Oakos Automotive
Power oversteer can be induced even in a 6.5HP rental kart. When coming around a corner at the limits of adhesion getting on the gas too early will overwhelm the rear tires and induce oversteer. Sure the tires aren't spinning 2.5x the speed of the kart with billows of smoke pouring out but throttle induced oversteer is a reality even in a underpowered kart.

-Dave
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Old 12-18-2002, 01:11 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by TBreu007


True, you won't find power oversteer in a WRX or a rental kart, ...

Good luck
what

PaulC, have we, or have we not power oversteered my WRX? (With the right suspension setup of, course.)

The driving techniques are the basically the same. But, while your overall driving skills are honed with karts. Karting is very repetitive, you take the same corner again, and again.
What you don't get from karts that is very important to autox'ing is the ability to pick up a new course quickly (within 2 runs). Karting is also really good if you want to learn left foot braking, your forced to.

Like I said before. Karting is good to keep you driving skills honed... But the difference between my ~290hp, 3000lbs WRX and the 6.5hp, ~300 Kart is totally different.
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Old 12-18-2002, 03:32 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by ChrisW


what

The driving techniques are the basically the same. But, while your overall driving skills are honed with karts. Karting is very repetitive, you take the same corner again, and again.
What you don't get from karts that is very important to autox'ing is the ability to pick up a new course quickly (within 2 runs). Karting is also really good if you want to learn left foot braking, your forced to.

Like I said before. Karting is good to keep you driving skills honed... But the difference between my ~290hp, 3000lbs WRX and the 6.5hp, ~300 Kart is totally different.
No, you're right karts handle too different from all other cars. F1, Cart, Touring car drivers and even NASCAR drivers use them to train, but karts are too unlike the WRX to do any good

As far as keeping "basic driving skills honed," what else is there to going fast? When you have driving skills, you can go fast in just about anything.
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Old 12-18-2002, 05:53 PM   #16
mvb
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Default Rotax anyone?

So does anyone race Rotax Max Challenge karts. I relatively new spec class that keeps costs done by leveling the playing field.

I am researching buying one of these karts and would appreciate talking to some of you that kart.

Feel free to email me at: matt@vanbogart.com

Thanks,
MVB
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Old 12-18-2002, 06:44 PM   #17
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I've been racing karts for 18 years on road courses as well as paved and dirt ovals, with numerous class championships over the years. My whole career has been in 4-cycle stock Briggs and Stratton classes, about 12 h.p. and 295 - 410 lbs. total weight, depending on the class. I find that kart racing, especially in lower-power situations such as these, definitely has an effect on driving street cars. It has made me very aware of being as neat and efficient as possible in everything I do on the street, because the name of the game in racing a low-powered kart is conservation of momentum. Racing karts can only improve your street driving because all the dynamics that apply to a kart also apply to street cars, but because things happen twice as fast in a kart, driving a street car becomes kind of slo-mo in comparison. It also makes you more fearless and willing to do things on the street that frighten normal people, but that's another story.

The bottom line is, I think karting can only improve your autoX skills because it will teach you effectiveness of line, neatness, smoothness, and momentum conservation.

(If you really want to learn effective car control and hone your driving skills, race karts in the dirt -- it's the best.)
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Old 12-19-2002, 12:45 AM   #18
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MVB, I race Rotax Nationally in the Rotax Max Challenge and in SKUSA. E-mailed you.

I would be happy to answer any questions.

Tim
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Old 12-19-2002, 03:21 AM   #19
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Im spending my off-season on the Initial-D arcade game.

No, its not 100% accurate, and its not real, but the last track is super-twisty and stuff like left foot braking and downshifting for hairpins are there, and you can drift like a sea captain on crack.
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Old 12-21-2002, 11:08 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by JVG

The bottom line is, I think karting can only improve your autoX skills because it will teach you effectiveness of line, neatness, smoothness, and momentum conservation.
Bingo! That's just what I'm looking for. After only a year of autox I've improved, but my concept of line is at best sketchy. My technique is pretty much, "oh CRAP, another TURN....screeeeeeEEEEECHHH!" Well, maybe not that bad - I've learned a bit about when to brake and such. But I can't analyze a course as well as I'd like to on the course walk, and I have a lot to learn about smoothness.
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Old 12-21-2002, 06:06 PM   #21
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Not trying to hi-jack your thread, but........

What are the REAL costs to be competitve in shifter karting. Please, please break it down for me a little, if you will.

Thanks very much.

Roy
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Old 12-21-2002, 08:09 PM   #22
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Thread's already been hi-jacked, so this doesn't count.

You're in Michigan, so you aren't far from ice racing. Ice racing sounds like exactly what you're looking for, because you can do it in your WRX, and it'll be perfect practice for the off-season ( summer autocrossing ).
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Old 12-21-2002, 10:22 PM   #23
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Winters in lower Michigan, especially in the southeastern corner where I live, haven't been what they used to be (I'm dating myself!) and reliable ice is hard to come by. For instance, Lake St. Clair (between lakes Huron and Erie, just north of Detroit and about a ten minute drive for me) used to be an ice boating Mecca but one hardly hears of them there anymore. Even the ice fishermen hardly had ice last year. Even last year's Sno*Drift rally in northern lower MI was more like a Mud*Slide according to reports and what I saw on Speed last year.

Otherwise, that might be both educational and fun.
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