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October 20, 2022 5 min read

This article is an adaption of the piece written by Greg Stuart on the Redbull.com website, you can find the original article here.

The de facto entry point into single-seater racing is now firmly established as karting. Previously, drivers could enter Formula One through a variety of sports; for example, 1964 champion John Surtees was a motorcycle racer, and five-time F1 champion Juan Manuel Fangio grew up competing in grueling Dakar Rally-style races in his native Argentina. However, today, every driver in the F1 paddock began their racing career in a kart.

This implies that your chances of beginning a serious career in circuit racing at your nearby kart track are rather good. Karting can appear daunting from the outside because it's crowded with young people wearing fancy helmet designs and appearing to be experts at what they're doing. But don't worry, we are here to walk you through the fundamentals of everything you need to start karting.

If you don't already know Lando's name, you will in due time. Lando began competing in motorsports when his father gave him a kart when he was seven years old. Most recently, he won the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC Award, continuing the careers of Jenson Button, David Coulthard, and Dario Franchitti. His three (three!) junior single-seater championships from the Toyota Racing Series, Formula Renault 2.0 NEC, and Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 brought an end to his successful 2016.
Lando also followed in the footsteps of a certain Max Verstappen by winning the 2014 KF CIK-FIA World Championship, which came one year after Verstappen's triumph in the KZ class. So who better to show you the ropes in karting?

Lando Norris:

At the age of seven, I began karting. After school one day, my father drove my brother and me to Clay Pigeon Kart Track to watch a British Super 1 Championship round. I informed my dad I wanted to try it as soon as I saw it. When I first started driving karts, I was just one of the people having fun on the nearby track. I didn't have aspirations to reach the sort of level I am at now at that time. I just got started, and I kept getting more involved.
Owning your own kart is something I believe is beneficial. It doesn't absolutely have to be brand-new; a used kart will suffice. Then you can go to the local kart track and just start driving around.

I joined the neighborhood kart team B.R.M. at Clay Pigeon when I was eight years old. There were just one or two drivers, including the team owner and a mechanic, who were local kart racers like me. I believe it's best to move forward at your own pace initially, and then join a team once you've reached a point where you feel more at ease. You don't need to join a top team unless you've been extremely professional from a young age; just pick a respectable team that's perhaps taking part in the national championships. You'll learn a few things from them and gain more karting expertise. After that, you have some building blocks.

In my first season in the British Super 1 Championship, I came in at position 14. It wasn't like I walked in and dominated or something; I was never really the fastest. I then began competing in the national and British Championships, and I believe that in my final year, I placed fourth overall. We hired a manager toward the conclusion of my "cadet era," and they provided me a plan for the years that followed up until the present. When I was 11 or 12, that is when it became more serious and professional.
You must first begin to think that you can succeed before you can adjust to it.

You constantly think, "They look extremely good — I'm never going to beat them," when you look at the guys winning in the category above you until you reach Formula One. You realize it is achievable though until you move on to the next category and begin to outperform them. I believe you must first begin to believe you can succeed before you can accept it.

Although I've never participated in KZ karting, which uses gears, I believe it's a highly beneficial skill to acquire before driving a car. KZ karts require a significantly different driving technique than regular karts because they are substantially faster. I believe there are some helpful lessons you may use from geared karting to car racing. From what I've heard from numerous sources, it's unquestionably a wise move. But winning this category is quite difficult, especially at the European and World Championship levels.

In karting, I advise using rib guards. They are somewhat necessary and greatly improve safety. Some people choose to wear neck guards. You only need a helmet, suit, and boots in addition to your kart, tires, fuel, and motor. You might wish to acquire a new set of tires or start adjusting gear ratios if you start visiting several different tracks. Your gear ratios start to matter a lot if one track has a lengthy straight and the other only has tight turns. If you want to move quickly, you must be accurate and determine whether the gears need one tooth more or one tooth less, just to be sure you are saving every last second.

PFI International is the kart track I like the best in the UK. It's one of the biggest, most reputable circuits in England and a very well-known track in karting. There is always a lot of competition there because everyone uses it and knows it well. Bahrain is still my all-time personal favorite, though. It's quite large, up and down, tight, and twisted, making it quite cool and distinctive from many other tracks.

Lando Norris offers five pointers for driving a kart quickly:

1. Be smooth
I firmly believe that smoothness is an essential quality. Of course, there are instances when you need to be aggressive and really push the kart, especially if it's rainy. However, when it's dry, especially at European tracks where there is typically more grip and it's hotter, you really do need to start driving more smoothly and never break the grip that you've had. I believe that is unquestionably a factor to moving quickly.

2. Spend a lot of time in the seat
Do as much as you can regarding racing or your neighborhood kart track. You get better the more you put into it.

3. Develop wet weather driving skills
The rubberized racing line becomes exceedingly slick and slow during rain. In order to move quickly in the wet, you must stay away from those rubbery lines, whether that means braking in the middle of the track rather than the outside, or going all the way around the outside of a corner or on the inside of a curb. If you attempt going wider on a corner and find it to be sticky, you might try it on other corners as well and gain more time. This is something that simply comes with practice and through hanging out with knowledgeable karting veterans.

4. Be willing to modify your lines.
One of the secrets to being quick is trying new things; being fast doesn't just mean doing one thing and doing it every lap. Try to brake later and start your engine sooner. In this way, you find time to learn. And it's undoubtedly a good thing and may be really helpful if you apply all of that expertise and knowledge to cars.

5. You'll move more quickly if you work hard
Karting requires a lot of hard work, and you need invest the time and energy necessary to wish to become a better driver. Some individuals may not be aware of the fact that if you want to become well-known or recognized in the sport of karting, especially at the lowest levels, you must work hard. You should surely be aware of that.



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