How To Drift Go Karts – Best Practices

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Can you drift go-karts? The simple and short answer is yes. Professional drivers often execute drifting as a cornering maneuver while driving go-karts, saving time and adding a stylish flair on the track.

It’s not commonly taught to learn how to drift a go-kart, but a few key techniques, such as watching professionals, reading drifting guides, and seeking advice from experienced drivers, can make drifting a go-kart easier. Mastering this skill will give you an advantage over your competitors in a race or enable you to showcase your abilities during recreational karting.

How To Drift Go Karts - Best Practices


So, in this guide, we will show you how to prepare yourself and execute go-kart drifting. Let’s get started…

Preparing for Go-kart Drifting

If you’ve decided to participate in a go-kart racing competition that requires drifting and you believe you can perform it, we recommend that you review the guidelines below for your safety and to improve your skills.

Before attempting drifting, take the time to observe other drivers on the track. Each track is different, so observe how they handle corners, maintain their speed, choose their lanes, and steer their karts. Once you understand these aspects well, you’ll be ready for the next step, which we have explained below.

a drifting go kart

Know the Course Before You Drift.

Before drift-karting, you must be well familiar with the track. You have to make sure you have raced many times on that track. In this way, you will be able to know upcoming corners’ length and severity before you arrive at them. 

Moreover, there can also be several invisible characteristics of the course that you may feel while driving. For instance, the road roughness, blind corners, and slipperiness because of different weather conditions such as rain.

Make Use of the Necessary Safety Equipment.

Prior to getting started to move in your go-kart, wear an appropriate helmet, gloves, and knee protectors for the protection of your body if an accident occurs. Furthermore, you should tightly strap yourself in the seat of your go-kart to fit snugly in the kart chassis.

If your drift fails, it will stop the go-kart in the middle of the corner. Moreover, you can also hit the track sides in case the drifting goes wrong.

Straight Your Back by Correcting the Posture

You must keep your back straight and lean back in your seat, even if you are a professional go-kart driver. This way, you can have maximum control over the wheel, brakes, and gas when you drift go-kart.

Speed of Your Go-kart.

When you reach a corner, most probably your natural reaction can be to apply the brakes to corner it. However, the most significant factor for drifting is the speed. If you are driving slowly, you will probably end up cornering normally. You have to practice to perform high-speed turns so that you can estimate how much speed you will need to go. Usually, the drifting is done at 64 km/h (40 miles per hour).

Keep Yourself Calm Throughout the Race.

When drifting, you may feel that you have gone out of control. It is a strange feeling. Moreover, you may feel chaotic. However, drifting enthusiasts will say that it is a form of controlled chaos. In case you are drifting for the first time, you should slow your heart rate by breathing out through the mouth and in through the nose. In addition, if you are not comfortable to drift on the next corner, cool down and retry next time.

Drifting Go Kart

Approach the Corner in the Outside Lane.

You must always approach the corner in the outside lane to complete your drift. This way, you will get the maximum space to complete the drift and reduce the chances of crashing into other drivers. Generally, the turn’s outside lane is darker because most drivers take that line. In case you are unable to see the outside lane, you should look at the track under you for the dark strip when you are close to the corner.

Accelerate When Approaching a Corner.

Before most corners, there is a straight section. When approaching this section, accelerate the kart to gain the necessary speed for drifting. Normally, you will need to exceed 64 km/h (40 mph) to drift.

If you are unable to have sufficient speed, you will turn the corners normally. Speed is the necessary factor for drifting.

Lean Your Body and Kart Away from the Turn.

If the turn curves to the right, you must lean your body and kart left when approaching the turn, and vice versa. This way, you will have sufficient space for drifting around the corner.

Point the Kart Back Toward the Turn.

You should point the kart toward the turn as quickly as possible so that you now face the corner’s inside lane. In case you are not confident about drifting, over-correction is possible at that moment, which can kill the drift. If it is helpful for you, imagine your normal kart orientation and try to turn the corner in that position.

Maintain the Drift

You should apply the brakes gently and release them immediately. Your go-kart will then drift. Now, pulse the gas when taking the corner to maintain drifting. The amount of gas you will need depends on the turn severity. A sharp and intense burst will be required for the sharp turn; however, long but low gas pulsing will be required for the gentle turn. Moreover, you should not press the brakes too hard; if so, there will be a danger of spinning or a complete stop.

Align Your Kart Again.

If you are performing the drifts for the first time, the kart will probably not be aligned appropriately with the track when you exit the corner’s other side. In this case, you will need to reorientate the wheels and be ready for the next corner.

Is Drifting Faster as Compared to Cornering?

Around a corner, you can’t go at a faster speed because you can always go faster in a straight line as there will not be any interruption in the straight line. However, drifting can be fast cornering as compared to traditional cornering. In addition, you may also wonder, “is drifting faster than grip?” No, compared to drifting, grip racing is faster.

Conclusion

The new drivers want to perform the go-kart drifting but don’t know how to do it. To enable them to drift, in this article, we discussed how to prepare yourself for drifting and how to drift go-karts. So, be ready, take safety measures, and perform drifting. Good Luck!

FAQs

Is drifting a go-kart easy?

Drifting a go-kart isn’t rocket science; you can master it easily by following the guidelines mentioned above.

Is drifting in a go-kart necessary?

Yes, drifting in a go-kart is essential. It adds style to your racing and allows you to navigate corners more efficiently, helping you overtake competitors.

Is 20 minutes enough for practicing drifting?

In my personal experience, you should practice drifting for at least 40 minutes a day.

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