Karting needn’t necessarily …freeze when the cold season steps in, however, all round, it is better to take some precautions to face the lower temperature.
With winter upon us, it is normal to expect cold weather. And for anyone who is exposed to the air, like kart drivers, rally drivers are to be envied), the environmental situation is really felt. At this point, as we say in another column too, you can decide whether to hang up your kart or keep on going to the track for a few laps. However, if you decide to continue using your kart and especially if you want to go back home in one piece, it is better to do a few jobs on it, technical and non-technical. Let’s take a look at one or two things that you could do.
GIVE SETUP A BIT OF GO
If we aren’t lucky enough to find a warm day, almost certainly our kart will start to skid very much more than it usually does. This is due to various reasons: tyres don’t warm up as much as they do in summer, or they take longer to reach the right temperature, and already just for this reason we’d be slower round turns; but travelling at a slower speed it is more difficult to load tyres to the right point because they warm up properly, in a vicious circle from which there are few chances of getting out. So the first “mechanical” warning is to let the tyres work harder, loading those more. We can easily see that the firs thing to do is work on track (especially rear) so that the centrifugal force round the turn conveys more weight and pressure on the tread. With this same aim, you can increase chassis height from the ground, both at front and rear, and also the seat height. In this basic adjustment you must also consider hubs, mount longer ones that load tyres directly. Watch out though because some chassis and some axles tend to work less if they haven’t got sufficient “lever arm” between the wheels and the rear bearings, something that could influence kart behaviour on the track very much. So, if there are problems you could start doing some “experiments”, for example work on the height of the third bearing on the axle and check the reactions you get by locking it loosening it. This is a rather simple operation and above all, one that allows you to check rapidly which is the best direction to aim for, whether to make it stiffer or adapt flexion in the area. Yu see we have to always bear in mind that not all the chassis react in the same way, and that situations are hardly ever “coherent” and unvoiced: at times the conditions are such that you get the desired effect doing the exact opposite of what you have always done.