Karting Data: Getting ready for Tri-Cities Shootout

Writer’s Note: So, before I get started, these posts are going to be a bit of stream on consciousness as I write down my thoughts. I might come back and edit these later, or I might make other posts (shrugs).

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This weekend, we have the Tri-Cities Shootout, which is a night race that is held in the Richland area. It’s one of my favorite tracks to race on, but outside of being on the podium in a freak rain race there, I haven’t had the best success at this track.

So this morning, I decided to pull up some of my data from some reason practices, and races there and see if there were any areas where I could improve.

Spoilers: There are a ton. (Sigh.)

Step 1: See where there is noise

The first thing that I did after pulling up my test, was  take a look at a run where I’ve done several laps in a row. That way I can be sure to be looking at data where I was already in a rhythm and trying to put out good laps, can eliminate laps where I’m passing karts/getting passed, or made an outlying mistake.

I like to use GPS Speed as an easy place to see where there are large differences in speed lap overlap. That tells me a few things before going any deeper.

  1.  I could be more consistent at the speed that I enter the corner, and where I’m applying the throttle coming out of corners. On this track especially on Turns 1, 2, the transition between 4&5, 6 and the chicane. (So basically everywhere)
  2. Some areas have greater inconsistencies than others, so that’s where I’ll focus my attention on more the next time that I’m on the track. I lose up to .2 during the transition between Turn 4 and 5, and almost .3 going through the chicane. (Honestly, that chicane has always been a bit of a PITA for me, so I’ll need to dig deeper into my positioning there on the track using the GPS view when I get to that part of looking into it)
  3. Turn 6 is worth looking at too, because it’s a sudden 90-degree corner that approaching it too narrow or decelerating too much can cause me to lose a ton of time, that’s just compounded into the chicane.

Not to beat myself up too much, once I get through Turn 1, that section is somewhat consistent, but it’s Turn 1 that sets the tone for the rest of that section, so if I screw that up, then you’re just bleeding that pain for the majority of the lap.

You can click on this one to enlarge it.

You can see that same evidence on lateral Gs on this track. There is a ton of spikes and noise after I enter corners, which means that I’m loading up the kart mid-corner and  just a ton of not-smoothness.

Step 2: Look at where I’m positioning myself on the track.

I’m just going to do a zoomed out screenshot here.

Taking a look at the GPS map, it also reflects what I’m seeing in the GPS Speed data, but from a different point of view. Because I’m taking severly different lines lap after lap, in some of the areas that I’ve mentioned above, my entry and exit speeds vary too much. I need to calm that down, before I really start seeing any gains.

That damn chicane

I decided to zoom in on the chicane especially because that’s an area where I see massive differences in mph through the corner. As much as 4 mph, which is immense in a kart. The general speed trends of the traces are similar, which tells me that I’m doing similar actions when I’m in the chicane, but I’m traveling at significantly different speeds each time I do it.

A good part of that comes because of what I’m doing from the corner before in Turn 6. Looking at some of the lap data of sessions that were back to back, if I don’t use all of the road in that tight 90-degree corner, then I’m not moving as fast on the exit of 6 and into the chicane.

There is too much deviation in the ways that I’m approaching Turn 6, which then compounds into the chicane.

So I need to focus on using all of the road into T6, using all of the entry on the left, and also getting a smooth exit coming out, to help give me a better chance into the chicane.

So, what’s the plan?

  • The name of the game needs to be better consistency on where I’m putting the kart each lap. That means being more intentional in what I’m doing, and where I’m doing it.
  • It’s probably more of a matter of slowing down, to go faster, to make sure that I’m putting the kart the same place, before adding more speed. (I’ll come back after the weekend, and we’ll see how did.)
  • Well, that and stop dragging the brake…but that’s a story for another day.

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