You only have to check out the latest pictures coming from the CIK European Karting events to see how all the top teams are now using data to maximise their speed!
A screen with a bunch of lines on it may look a bit confusing and almost pointless at first, but the magic hidden within them can bring amazing results. New website Kart Intelligence is hoping to show you how effective data is to use with some video, and written tutorials. Using AIM DATA equipment here is their article on how studying the throttle trace can bring stunning results.
Invisible Secrets of How Throttle Control Magically Makes You Faster
Remember this from the telly where they showed Michael Schumacher's throttle trace vs Johnny Herbert's. Skip forward to 2 minutes into the video to get to the important bit.
You can see how Schumacher is off the throttle gently and progressively back on it, whilst Herbert has a more conventional sudden lift, followed by a hasty return to full throttle. Schumacher's throttle control makes him quicker in an F1 car.
Can we use the schumacher throttle technique in karts?
I fitted a great new throttle position sensor to find out. I used two drivers, one who super smooth (Twinkle Toes) and the other with a more aggressive style (Lead Foot), and took them to Whilton Mill. I was astonished by the differences in time and how much time Twinkle Toes made in one corner... Almost half a second!!
Here are the throttle traces for both drivers with the speed trace just like you can see in the video above. The corner is the fast left hander turn one at Whilton which leads into turn two.
The green line shows the throttle position for Lead Foot, and the red is for Twinkle Toes. The difference is clear, the green trace is on full throttle much longer than the red, then lifts heavily before slamming back on the throttle. Meanwhile the Twinkle Toes is already off to 80% throttle and hovers between 40% and 80% before climbing less drastically back up to 100%.
Now, with just the throttle trace, if you told me that the green driver was quicker than the red I'd buy it. Logic says that he is lifting later, and getting back on earlier. Also visually both drivers looked smooth and there wasn't any excessive sliding. So surely green is quicker????? Nope, he's losing over 4 tenths which he doesnt recover up the following straight.
Despite being off the throttle early, the red line of Twinkle Toes is carrying more speed into the corner, carrying more speed through the corner and onto the straight.
I won't fully explain the reasoning why Twinkle Toes is so much quicker, but its enough to say that if you are progressive with your throttle rather than lead footed, you will be quicker, especially on high speed corners. And also, next time someone tells you that the earlier you get hard on the throttle the better, you can say that isnt always true!