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TKART magazine Champion Advice | How to change the setup of a kart from qualifying to the race
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29 November 2016
Dino Chiesa, one of the best team managers in the paddock and winner of several World Championships, reveals how fundamental it is to change the kart set-up between qualifying and race. To aim to win



"When deciding the best set-up for the decisive laps in qualifying, we often rely on the results of the practice sessions on Fridays and Saturdays, when the track is sufficiently rubberised to be more or less similar to the conditions in qualifying and in the race. To get more reliable data, on the closing practice laps some mount a new set of tyres. Obviously, this isn’t an investment that everybody can or wants to afford, so it’s important to have the sort of know-how that allows us to understand in advance the changes to the set-up required to adapt the kart to the new tires that will be used for qualifying".



"As in all motor sports, in karting we must take into account that hundredths of a second make a difference and, therefore, the set-ups in qualifying and the race need to be analysed, and optimised, differently. You can achieve pole position on the Saturday, but the differences are so ridiculously low that everything can change in the race, also in the knowledge that it is common for the leading karts to remain in single file for much of the race. However, sometimes drivers who start further down the grid manage to climb up the standings and go on to win in the closing stages of the race, thanks to a set-up that was specifically prepared for the race. That's why I say that the set-up in qualifying and races can change, sometimes quite markedly”.



“Tyres of any compound and type usually peak after a couple of laps and then fall way, sometimes significantly. We need to get to the “quick” lap under optimal conditions: the right set-up for the new tyres; the correct pressures and temperatures; a free track and a concentrated driver. That’s the only way to achieve pole position. In truth, given that perfection is difficult to achieve, we need to get to the quick lap with conditions that are closer to 100% than our opponents. Warming-up the tyres quickly is crucial. To do that we need a stiff set-up, which allows us to get to the third and fourth laps with the tyres properly warmed-up. The pressure of the tyres (compared to race tyre pressure) will also be increased by 0.05 to 0.08 bar, although the value depends on the temperature of the tarmac.
However, everything needs to be assessed in relation to the strategy: sometimes we decide on a set-up that is less extreme so that we can have a few extra quick laps in qualifying, perhaps even sacrificing pole position, so that we can go all out in the race. In this case, we soften the set-up a little.”
Axle, front bar, camber, caster and tyre pressure: the key elements that we work on in order to change the set-up of a kart from qualifying to the race
Axle, front bar, camber, caster and tyre pressure: the key elements that we work on in order to change the set-up of a kart from qualifying to the race



A stiffer axle is perfect in qualifying, to warm-up the tyres quickly
The effect of the front bar is limited and is only felt when entering a bend
"In the search for a stiff set-up for qualifying, we use a stiffer axle. I refer to the material in particular, while the length of the axle and the hubs, which many consider important, have a limited effect on the set-up, in my opinion. In the race, on the contrary, we use a softer axle. The difference is clear-cut, given that the race is long and the tyres must under no circumstances be placed under too much stress.
The front bar is more linked to the driver’s sensations, mainly because its effects are only felt when entering a bend, the moment the driver turns the steering wheel. We can use round or flat bars, ones that are more or less stiff, depending on needs. The idea, however, is always the same: in qualifying, with the bar mounted, in theory we try for a stiffer set-up; in the race, without the bar, we aim for a softer set-up".
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