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Discussion and questions related to the course Race Driving Fundamentals
Should the traction circle look the same for a kart ?
The kart I race is an OTK and doesnt have front brakes, nor susspension. With that in mind, is it still possible to achieve a good traction circle using the same techniques such as trail braking and releasing the steering lock etc ?
I don't think physics changes just for karts. As long as the vehicle will accelerate, brake and turn, then a traction circle can be used to understand the limits.
As David said, physics is physics - it's the interpretation that's the tricky bit.
So, discussion points - you will have to experiment for yourself to see what works best.
Kart's don't have formal suspension, but rely on tuning things like chassis flex, wheel offsets and/or caster which also affect the 'jacking' as the steering is moved, toe-in/out, maybe a little weight trimming - oh, and tyre pressures are VERY important! They also have locked rear axles and a wide track relative to wheelbase, which can mean significant understeer and the locked axle has more affect on the understeer.
For most of those reasons they seem to work best with a 'chuck it in' technique, deliberately provoking oversteer on entry to overcome the inherent understeer, and so trail braking would seem to be the optimum technique as it also loads the front a little more. One has a natural tendency to lean into the corner but perhaps trying to stay centred, or even leaning a little to the outside like loading a quad bike's outer tyre, may be of benefit in tighter corners, to increase the outer tyres loading and hence drive? The 'jacking' I mentioned earlier also does this, as it will increase load to the inner front and outer rear, which should increase front grip and reduce rear.