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TKART magazine How To | Optional accessories to improve a kart’s set-up and driving position
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14 December 2018
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One of the "missions" that drivers and mechanics have every time they get out onto the track and try to go fast is to be able to adapt the kart to the specific conditions of grip. Many variables come into play (ranging from humidity to atmospheric temperature, from the number of drivers to whether a race has taken place on previous days... for example) and it is not a given that a kart which has been optimised today will replicate its performance on the same track even just a day later. In these cases, a significant hand can be provided by optional accessories, i.e. all the variations in terms of components that, without touching the chassis, engine or tyres, can improve a kart’s response and optimise the driving position to get the best out of a driver. With the help of IPK, the company that owns the Praga Karts, Formula K, OK1 and RS brands, we have analysed the main options available to kart enthusiasts.
There is no fixed rule for choosing a particular type of stub axle, because much depends on the type of set-up you prefer. The variables that come into play concern inclination and hardness. Regarding the latter, for example, certain manufactures have designed a stub axle with an interchangeable pin, which allows you to change the hardness of the accessory without having to disassemble it altogether. IPK, on the other hand, has focused on the angle of inclination, offering 3 types of stub axles for chassis used in the OK, OKJ and KZ classes. The 10-degree stub axle is the standard version: the best compromise for tracks with medium grip. The 11-degree stub axle allows a greater angle for the front end, thereby improving grip when entering bends. It is recommended for wet tarmac and conditions in which there is less grip in general. The 9.5-degree stub axle has the opposite effect, helping to free the front end of the kart in the middle and latter stages of a bend. It is normally used on rubberised tracks, but can also be mounted in medium grip conditions, depending on the type of set-up used.
As a whole, the braking system offers various alternatives for modifications. One of the main ones concerns the materials used for the pads. There is no universal solution here, either: certain manufacturers (Tony Kart, for example) prefer to offer a single type of pad, optimised so that it provides the best possible response under different conditions. On the contrary, in the latest round of approvals IPK introduced 4 different pads, the friction materials of which vary to offer the most suitable response according to the driving style or the grip of the tarmac. The soft pad, which is green, is made using the softest friction material. It allows more aggressive braking with little pressure on the brake pedal; however, it also wears faster. The medium-soft pad, which is red, is new and created specifically for the latest braking system to be approved. Mounted as standard on IPK Group chassis, it is considered the best "default" choice by works Racing Team drivers, too. The medium pad, which is black, is mid-way between medium-soft and hard: it allows immediate, but at the same time modulated braking, depending on the bend. Lastly, the hard pad, which is blue, is made using the hardest friction material: its is recommended for drivers who are after gentle braking or for those who exert a lot of pressure on the brake pedal.
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