March 31, 2022

Five Tips for Racing on Street Courses

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Ryan Norberg

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In this blog post, we’re going to talk about things you should know before racing a street circuit, especially the ROK Cup USA, Las Vegas race, or the SKUSA Super Nationals at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas. There is something special about street racing, and I’m going to give you five tips to help you guys out when you go street racing.

Experiment With the Track

The first thing you should know when you go street racing is to experiment with the racetrack. Normally when you go on a street circuit, the track is new to every driver. Experimenting on the racetrack, trying different racing lines, different turn-in points, different braking zones, different throttle-application spots, will give you a huge advantage over your competitors.

You find what works and what doesn’t, and if you can find the racing line before your competitors, you can start working on kart setup and engine performance, among other things. Your competition is also going to find the racing line, but if you find the line earlier, you’re going to have an edge on everybody else throughout the race week.

Want to learn how to improve your braking technique on any race track? Click HERE.

Ignore The Walls

I’ve worked with drivers—and I have even caught myself doing it—who focus on the walls that surround the race course. When you go to a racetrack, how many times do you drop a tire or hit a curb accidentally? Not a lot, right?

Street racing is about committing to the racing line that you’re on—committing to carrying as much speed as you can going into the corner. If you’re not committed to the correct racing line, you’re just slowing yourself down and losing time. Commit to running all the way out to the barrier on the exit of the corner. Commit to your turn-in point and get close to the barrier at the apex. If you commit to it early in the week and get comfortable getting close to the walls, they will not be an issue through the rest of the week.

Commit to Your Passes

We just talked about committing to your racing line, but you also need to commit to your passes. When racing on a street circuit, there is little room for error. The problem when attempting to pass half-heartedly on a street course is that the driver that you’re passing won’t see you there and will turn into the corner naturally. You already know what happens next.

Get to the inside of the driver that you’re going to pass and let him know that that’s your apex and you’re taking the corner. Be forceful with your passes on a street circuit. Give him enough time to realize that you’re there so he can back out of the corner and get back in line—behind you.

Adapt With the Racetrack

This is probably one of the most important things for racing on street courses. When I say adapt with the racetrack, not only am I talking about driving, but I’m also talking about setup.

For example, every session on the racetrack adds more grip. Street tracks start off with no rubber at all, and they evolve as the event goes on. If you evolve with the race, you’ll continually be fast and you’ll be able to stay at the front of the pack. If you don’t adapt and don’t change your racing line, as the weekend goes on you’ll be fast early in the week, and then you’ll probably slow up as the week goes on. For example, if you go into the corner and you’re sliding past the apex, brake a bit sooner. If you go into the corner and you realize you’re really in control of this corner, you probably should brake a little bit later and push the kart into the corner. If you turn into the corner and the kart understeers, you probably turned in too late. And if you turned into the corner and go right down to the apex earlier than you thought, you probably need to turn in a little bit later.

You need to pay attention to these things on track. If you don’t, your competition is going to get a leg up on you and take advantage of you in a race. The same holds true for setup. If the kart is super free early in the week because the track has no grip and you tune a bunch of grip into the kart, by the end of the week you’re probably going to be slow. Tracks rubber in. Temperatures change. Don’t get stuck with one setup throughout the event.

Adapt and try different things on the kart to keep up with the racetrack. In all my years of racing street circuits, I never started and ended the week on the same setup. I’m constantly adapting and trying different things on the kart to keep up with the racetrack and to keep my speed.

Part of adapting is ensuring we are not over driving as well. How do you know if you’re overdriving? Check out our free in-depth coaching lesson on that HERE.

Never Give Up

This advice is true for any form of racing anywhere, but you should never give up, especially on a street circuit. Street courses make the racing much slower. When two or three drivers are going at it—blocking, defending, passing—their lap times are much slower than they would be at a regular racetrack. This is an opportunity for trailing drivers. I’ve seen drivers in the back of the pack of a lead group who end up winning the race because of something that happened in the last two laps. If the drivers in front of you seem too far ahead for you to catch, keep pushing because the race is not over for you. Give it everything you have until the checkered flag, because you never know what’s going to happen. Street racing is unpredictable.

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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Blayze Coach Ryan Norberg

Ryan Norberg

5 Time Pro Karting National Champion

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