The camber is one of the key parameters for performing a kart’s set-up. As is well known, this is the angle that defines the lateral sloping (compared to the longitudinal axis of the kart) of the fuselage: changing it causes an increase or decrease in the the grip of the front tyres, thereby affecting lap performance and the durability of tyres (and thus, longer-term performance, for example, in races). Rickard Kaell, an ex-kart driver and expert of the highest level, explains, in his experience, all the effects the camber has on set-ups.
1. Let’s start with the grip: how does it change when the camber is adjusted?
Firstly, it is always necessary to consider that track, tyre, driver, etc. variables may change the effects of any adjustments.
Generally, however, can be said that a greater positive camber angle (with the wheel in a position that the angle between the longitudinal axis of the tyre and the asphalt is greater than 90° – editor’s note) changes the surface area of the tyres on the ground at the front and therefore reduce the grip.
As a result, it tends to increase the grip at the rear in a relative way, also because the lifting of the inner rear wheel tends to be reduced by a positive camber.
2. Let’s start with the grip: how does it change when the camber is adjusted?
A greater camber angle makes the kart easier to drive and less shaky; this, of course, is a generalisation.
Reducing the camber angle and adjusting it, for example, to zero (neutral), increases the area of the tyres in contact with the asphalt, making the steering stiffer.
If the track is very rubbery, you risk the kart jumping with a small or neutral camber, making driving much more complicated and extremely shaky. in fact, the rear axle tends to slip more suddenly.
3. When is the effect of the camber felt the most on a track?
The effect of the camber is felt along an entire bend.
By comparing it with a caster (the angle adjusting the inclination and heights of the front wheels on a bend – editor’s note), if this has a great effect when entering and racing along the first half of a bend, the camber can…
4. And what about the tyres: what is the effect of the camber on them?
5. Is the camber’s effect similar on all tyres?
6. Is the camber adjusted differently for qualifiers and races?
7. What should you do on a wet track?