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TKART magazine Expert Advice | The basic concepts regarding kart tyre temperatures and pyrometers
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Luca Barnaba
24 June 2021
"Knowing the operating graph associated with the temperatures of your set of tyres is essential to getting the most from your kart"
The temperatures expressed in degrees centigrade are shown on the y-axis, while the friction coefficient is shown on the x-axis. 3 colours can be seen in the area of the graph: blue indicates the range of temperatures below the optimal range, therefore temperatures too low for maximum grip/friction; green, between 75°C and 90°C, indicates where the rubber reaches its highest grip/friction standards; red, once the critical threshold of 95° is exceeded, indicates where a drop in performance occurs which is accentuated gradually with an increase in temperature.

Tyres are the only point of contact between the kart and the track: using them to the fullest can really make a difference in trying to achieve the best performance. To do this, it is necessary to identify elements (the feelings of drivers, the experience of the technicians, the empirical measurements, etc.) to search for any problems and, above all, to then resolve them. One of these elements is the analysis of the temperatures of the tyres, a vast topic in which a multitude of factors come into play. A few examples? The choice of the right pyrometer, suited to your needs, or the use of the correct method of collecting and reading the available data. Working on this field can be worth several tenths in terms of lap time. This is why we asked Pascal Cardinale, owner of Prisma Electronics, (a company specialised in the production of digital pressure gauges, pyrometers and chronometers for the motorsport industry), to guide us, with advice and clarifications, in regard to tyre temperatures for karting.

1 Why it is so important to monitor the temperature of tyres?

Temperatures are the litmus test of the tyre pressures and set-ups of a kart: knowing them can help a lot about understanding your vehicle and preparing it for tests or racing. Each tyre, taking into account the manufacturer and compound, has an operating temperature range in which the rubber generates its highest standards in terms of durability and performance. Knowing the operating graph associated with the temperatures of your set of tyres is essential to getting the most from your kart. All temperatures below and above this range, in addition to affecting the structure of the tyre, by decreasing the level of grip with respect to the asphalt, negatively affect performance and prevent you from racing or working optimally. For example, an increase, even of just 5°C in tyre temperatures beyond the ideal range of use generates a sudden loss of grip. At that moment it will be impossible to lower the temperatures simply by changing your driving style: if you are involved in a test, you will have to stop and change the set-up or the initial pressures; if you are racing, however, the final result will be compromised. The difference between throwing away a set of tyres and making the most of them is therefore the result of careful analysis of their temperatures.

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