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TKART magazine Expert Advice | Tire management on the track. Answers from the experts
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Max Bernardi
06 April 2020
Measure the circumference of the tires mounted on the rim and inflated at the same pressure.

As all kart drivers know, tires are an essential component of the kart. Not everyone, however, knows how to make the most of their potential. Stefano Mantese owner with the brother Paolo of Vega, a historic Italian company leader in the manufacturing of kart tires, comes to aid all the enthusiasts. Thanks to his extensive experience, there is definitely not a more competent person to explain what the correct procedures to follow on the track are in order to manage a kart’s tires in the most precise way.

1 Do the “things to be done” begin before mounting the tires on the kart?

Yes, first of all it is necessary to measure the circumference of the new tires with a measuring tape. If the difference between the tires is 4/5 mm there is no problem. Otherwise, it is necessary to place the bigger wheel on the side which remains on the outside in the corners with respect to the direction of travel of the track. This operation helps to prevent the kart from sliding outwards. Basically, with the wheel with a larger diameter on the bearing side, the inclination of the kart will be inwards, providing greater grip on the in the middle of the curve. It certainly is not something that you feel very much. Less experienced drivers can also avoid this expedient and be careful only if the difference between the tires’ diameter exceeds 1 cm.

The lug nuts allow them to set a lower pressure on cold tires without danger.

2 How should I adjust the pressure during open practices?

The maximum yield of the tires is obtained with the lowest possible pressure. For example, with the “Vega White”, it can reach up to 0,45 bar. The important thing is to always use the lug nuts now present on all the rims available on the market. With lower pressure, the tire performance remains constant during the practice seasons. Lowering the pressure is particularly important if during the open practice one has to go through several rounds, as by doing this, one limits the tire wear to a minimum.

3 If, once back in the pits, the pressure on the hot tires have different values, what do you do?

Indicatively, if there is a difference in pressure between the two front and the two rear tires, it is necessary to adjust them, always based on the data recommended by the manufacturer. Let us take as an example to understand this in a better way. If at the end of an open practice session the pressure is 0.78 for the front tires and 0.82 for the rear ones, we should not make the mistake of lowering the pressure to 0.78 on the rear tires too while they are hot, because at the time of the restart we will have too low a pressure and we will have no grip in the first laps, an important factor if we have to race a heat. The important thing is to stay in the window recommended by the manufacturer. If, for example, this window is from 0.80 to 0.84 while hot, we could lower the rear pressure by 0.02 and always raise the front ones by 0.02 to fall within the proper range.

To be thorough, if we manage to stay towards the lower values within this range, we can make the most of the tires.
The values recommended by Vega range from 0.78 to 0.82 so, to give another example, if we had a hot tire pressure of 0.78 at the front and 0.80 at the rear, we could leave everything unchanged as we are within the indicated range.

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