After telling us how best to manage a race weekend, the three-time world champion Marco Ardigò, an official Tony Kart Racing Team driver, explains his tricks and habits to ensure good positioning at the wheel of a KZ kart
The important thing about driving positions is to be at ease once sitting on the kart, without feeling “dragged around” by the movements. In this respect, we can say that there are no big differences between karts with gears and single-speed karts: personally, when I find the right seating position, I try not to move it anymore. If I have to change the kart set up, I prefer to hold the seat in my position and work on everything else. Then, of course, if there are serious weight balancing problems, then you also need to change the seating position, but it is almost always the last change to make.
The perfect position is that which allows you to drive “in a relaxed manner”, a rather strange term for those who drive a competition vehicle but which reiterates how, on board a kart, you must first of all be comfortable.
The steering wheel also plays an important role in the driving position: it must not be too close or too far, but this also greatly depends on personal preferences. My advice, especially for first time drivers, is to try more settings, so as to be able to determine which is the best position for yourself and memorize it if you change the chassis. However, almost everything, depends on how a driver takes bends: there are those who use their arms more and those who use their shoulders more, the setting and the distances change in relation to this. My recommendation is to look for a driving position that, even during a normal run on the track, does not stress your arms: they must not be stressed to get closer to the steering wheel (this means that you keep the steering wheel too far away).
In KZ karts I would advise you to keep a distance of about two fingers between the steering wheel and the gear lever, a measure that allows you to quickly pass from the steering wheel to the gear lever.
There are very few indications in regard to the clutch lever: it must be convenient to take hold of. Care must therefore be taken not to set it too far from the steering wheel, because, especially during the start of the race, it is important to have the maximum level of feeling: your hand must feel the whole race in the release phase. The release must be done as quickly as possible, but also very gently.
The positioning of the legs is also important: I have a setting for the pedals that means I have them stretched out. I grip the fuel tank with my knees, especially on wide-angle bends. The Tony Kart overall has an internal protection, at the knees, just to increase comfort in a rather stressed area: in fact, the steering wheel and fuel tank are the only points where the pilot can hold onto the kart when necessary, especially in case of “jolts”, as can happen on curbs.
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