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The Expert Advices | Ask… stefano mantese: how is the tyre pressure for karts adjusted?

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Despite the fact that kart tyres have evolved a lot over the years, both from the point of view of the casing and the compounds, and that they have to comply with much higher safety standards than even just 15 years ago, the secret to making them work is always the same: inflate them to the right pressure. It is therefore up to the driver and the team to find the correct value of a parameter which, when practicing high-level karting, is difficult to guess: a few hundredths of a bar more or less can decide the result of a race. A value, therefore, which is also the only number that can help us interpret a mysterious object like the tyre. We invited you on our social media channels to ask questions about it, to ask Stefano Mantese, Development and Competitions Manager of the historic Vega brand. You went for it (we selected the most interesting and frequent questions) and so did Stefano. Here are his answers.

1 Why do manufacturers provide information on pressures and not on temperatures?
Miguel P.

The reason for deciding to give the pressures as a reference is because the temperature is a very difficult parameter to "capture", which is influenced by too many factors: the graininess of the asphalt, how much rubber there is on the track, etc. would be too complicated to analyse, especially for an amateur. In addition, a laser thermometer is not enough to get a correct reading of temperatures. A pyrometer is instead needed, an instrument that not everyone decides to buy. In fact, a laser thermometer gives a completely incorrect reading. If, for example, with a kart that has just returned to the pits, you carry out two measurements a few seconds apart, with the laser thermometer the second will be a little higher because it is misled by the tyre which, even when the kart is idle, emanates a lot of heat. In fact, the real temperature that counts is the one inside the tread band.

The pyrometer probe must be positioned in the middle of the tread, never towards the outside or inside of the tyre, and always at the same point, usually the consumption indicator.
The table illustrates the recommended pressure values for tyres manufactured by Vega.

2 What conditions are you referring to in the recommended pressure we also find on your site?
Curtis M.

The recommended pressure is a value that takes into account the fact that a driver can run on a track whenever he/she wants, even when the conditions are not exactly ideal. It is a reference especially for those who practice karting as amateurs. The recommended value is essentially a parameter resulting from the experience gained by a manufacturer over the years which aims to help a very wide range of users to get the most out of the tyre regardless of numerous variables, including the weight of the driver and the type of asphalt.
During the races, however, compared to the values we indicate, we always start with a lower pressure (see question three for a more precise value, editor) since the asphalt is much more rubberized by the many turns on the track and by the many drivers present gives more grip and the tyres work harder.

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