EVERYTHING YOU DIDN’T KNOW... ABOUT KART TYRE PRESSURE
Getting the tyres to work better results in greater competitiveness of vehicles in all the motorsport categories. Even karts do not escape this rule. On the contrary, in such an "essential" sport the issue has an even greater value, with tread grip on the asphalt that can vary very quickly depending on the temperature reached by the tyres during a race.
In fact, the basic concept that we need to know is that an increase in temperature corresponds to an increase in tyre pressure. Since tyres necessarily heat up during a race, in order to have the ideal pressures to optimise performance when required it becomes essential to set the right values right from the start. With the help of the technicians of the Tony Kart Racing Team, we analyse the practical steps to achieve an optimal result.
If you don’t know the right pressure to set when the tyres are cold, during the first lap on the track you can set a base pressure, which we can call a "standard" value that, with tyres in dry conditions, generally ranging from 0.45 to 0.60 bar, even if it depends on the tyre model, the weather conditions and how you wish to take advantage of the tyres on the track. It is important to note the set value, because this will help us understand the right pressure to be set in the next rounds.
If you know the correct pressure when the tyres are warmed up (but not cold), you can try attempts, starting from fairly high values. You can run on the track and stop when you feel that the tyres are hot and, therefore, generate the best grip. Check the pressure and, if it is higher than the recommended temperature, lower the pressure. Then allow the rubber to cool and, once cool, check the pressure: that will be the ideal value to set, when the tyres are cold, in the climatic conditions in which you find yourself.
Once you have finished the first stint on the track, if you know the recommended hot tyre pressure values, just compare them with our hot tyre pressures, subtract the difference, or add it to the cold tyre pressure. For example: if the ideal hot tyre pressure is 0.85 bar and the tyres of your kart are at 0.95, 0.10 bar must be taken off the cold tyre pressure so you obtain the right pressure and optimise performance on the track.
In qualifiers, you need to quickly bring the tyres to their maximum performance, so start with higher tyre pressures. Of course, it always depends on the type of tyre: if the mixture is very hard, the pressure value will be set higher than with a soft tyre.
All the above, however, bearing in mind that there are many factors that affect the choice (from the temperature of the asphalt to the atmospheric temperature, from the model and type of tyre to the kart set-up). Indicatively, it can be said that if you enter the track for a qualifier where you will possibly have 4-5 fast laps, you can risk a pressure of 0.55; while, if you have to complete an entire race, you can stay at a pressure of 0.48.
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