April 21, 2023

Five Things I Wish I Knew Earlier in My Karting Career

Oliver Askew


Five Things I Wish I Knew Earlier in My Karting Career Image

Over the years, there are many things I wish I had known earlier in my career. I would have progressed much faster had I known these secrets. Today, I'm going to share the top 5 things I know will help you guys progress through your career faster.

Don’t Stress so Much

Early on, every race I was at, I would stress about performing well. I would focus on trying to prove myself to all the other drivers out there. The reality of the situation is that nobody is looking at you when you start karting. Nobody's looking to sponsor you, and it's unlikely that anybody even cares that you're out on the racetrack. That sounds harsh, but honestly, focus on your driving, and eliminate external distractions. Speaking for myself, I always thought every race was make or break. I would stress about every decision I made on the racetrack because I wanted to look like I knew what I was doing.

Focus on yourself and try to learn as much as you can about every aspect of the sport. The fundamentals you learn early in your career are so important to building a strong foundation for a strong racing career. So, if you focus on that early in your career and make sure that you're just putting in time to focus on your driving and to focus on what you need to learn, you will progress much faster through your career. So, don't stress early in your career about getting good results or trying to find sponsorships.

Hire a Driving Coach

I was fortunate enough early in my career to have a mechanic who really helped me out with my driving, but I never had somebody on the racetrack with me, coaching me around the track. I ended up hiring a coach later, and I realized how much I was losing by not hiring a coach earlier in my career. Also, hiring a coach isn't just a one-time thing. You should train over and over and over again with the same person to develop mutual understanding and build a consistent foundation for a good racing career. Also, a driver coach can really help you set up the kart for your driving style.

I know this isn’t accessible or affordable to everyone. That’s exactly why I’ve joined Blayze as their lead karting coach. Using Blayze you can send me your video from any kart, at any race track and have me work 1 on 1 with you as your coach. This is exactly how I work with drivers in-person but now anyone can access world-class coaches like myself and the other coaches on Blayze!

Learn From Others

While you’re out for a practice session, follow other drivers instead of “racing” them during practice. It’s tempting to pass drivers you catch in practice. If a better driver passes you, or even somebody you think is a slower driver passes you, stay behind them and try to learn from what they're doing. Following other drivers is like a free lesson on the racetrack. You get to see exactly what they're doing and exactly why they're faster than you. You can see exactly what line they're taking, where they're braking, and it helps a lot, especially with the technology that we have today. With a camera on your kart, you can watch that same session over and over again.

Communicate and Develop Relationships

There’s a lot of the Dunning-Kruger Effect at play early in your racing career. Early on, you don't know what you don't know. If you don't communicate with people, you'll never know what you don't know in the sport. You should be reaching out to everybody when it comes to kart setup, other drivers, mechanics and team owners. This is something you can do early in your career to see what other setups people have at the track. It helps to have an idea of what everybody else is doing so that you can kind of copy it and use it as a learning tool. It also helps to build relationships, which are so critical when you are looking for sponsorships.

Keep Things Simple

In terms of your driving, go out and get a good lap in practice, get a good lap in qualifying, and focus on consistency in a race. If you catch somebody and you have a good overtaking opportunity, take it.

When it comes to your setup, keep it simple and learn fundamental setup changes to a kart so that later on in your career, you can pinpoint exactly what the kart needs. Never do more than two changes at a time, because you're just going to get confused.Learn the characteristics about each setup so that you can get better on the racetrack. Tuning is half the game, so if you can learn what the kart feels like and which setup does what, you will be ahead of your competition later on.

In terms of your schedule, again keep it simple. There's no reason to race national-level races all over the country or regional races if you can't beat drivers at your local racetrack. As you improve as a driver, you can go to bigger races and challenge yourself. So keep it simple. Everything early in your career needs to be simple.

Learn More With Blaze!

The secret to mastering any skill is practice! Are you looking to start your racing journey? Could you use direct feedback from a professional coach on how to improve your racing and motorsport skills?

At Blayze we give you a personalized coaching session from the very best coaches in the world. For a truly unique and personalized feedback experience, submit your performance video to one of Blayze’s highly qualified coaches. The custom-developed coaching session can help you improve your on-track, so you are performing at your very best in every race. One easy click here will take you to more details on our coaching sessions.
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About the coach

Oliver Askew

IndyCar Podium Finisher


Coaching for Karts, Open Wheel, and Sports Car drivers.

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