Equalising the Fleet

Go ahead. Ask any keen karter their biggest gripe when rental kart racing, and you’re bound to get the same answer from the majority of your survey:

“Kart Equality.”

Personally, these are my favourite two words – it’s something we really pride ourselves on at Formula Fast, and it’s one of the reasons we are picked as the host venue for events like the BRKC (British Rental Karting Championship).

Our number one focus is on investing time and resources on the fleet, with state-of-the-art technology and an F1-inspired approach to testing. Murray Walker’s misnomer ‘The car in front is absolutely unique, except for the one behind which is identical’ actually makes a lot of sense to us!

What is Kart Equality?

“Your kart was faster than mine”.

Sound familiar? Let’s be honest, we’ve all felt this way at some point in karting, and it’s really something we wanted to avoid people feeling when driving at Formula Fast. We figured it was worth pulling out all the stops, and going the extra distance to make our karts as equal as possible.

Keeping karts equal is not just about power. It’s also about grip, acceleration, deceleration, braking and much more. Mostly, it’s about the whole package, the ‘feel’ of a go kart. The combined operation of all these elements give you the most visible reference of kart parity – your laptime.

A brand new fleet of karts will all feel nice, and most likely handle beautifully – but from previous experience, we know that lap times will vary hugely, even if you’ve only just taken the kart’s wrapper off. No engine, kart chassis or kart set up is EXACTLY the same, and it takes a lot of work – and many minute adjustments – to equalise each kart, a hundredth of a second at a time.

How Close is Close?

We test our entire fleet of Sodi GT5 200cc and Biz 120cc Cadet karts multiple times per week. Not to put too fine a point on it, this represents a fair few hours of work for our engineers – not to mention being physically pretty demanding on the test driver. However, after all this – having the fleet performing within a 2-tenths of a second (about the blink of an eye) is also tremendously satisfying.

Speed adjustments are done through a range of tiny adjustments to the carburettor and kart’s engine. Certain parameters are measured within 0.01 of a millimetre, approximately 10 times thinner than a human hair.

Take today as an example. With our next Adult Championship round approaching on Thursday, we’ve scheduled in a series of tests, with the last two tests taking place on the day of the event itself. Take a peek at the latest results:

IMAG0303
This is the 2nd round of testing, with the next due after the adjustments have been made.

From these results, we would adjust the top and bottom 3 karts to narrow the difference, followed by a re-test.

Almost 100 laps later – we should have our finished fleet.

What about the ‘Feel’?

Ok, so I’ve talked a little about Equality. Now it’s time to talk about Quality.

To create a consistent and well performing kart – Formula Fast carry out intense and detailed checks on the entire fleet, throughout each day, 7 days a week. We also have a maintenance programme which usually involves taking one kart completely out of line for the each day, for the equivalent of a ‘deep clean’ and rebuild.

We don’t wait for parts to wear out, or fail on a kart. We make sure these things are replaced well before it’s too late. The amount of individual parts that are tested, checked and replaced can be pretty astonishing, but it’s the key to keeping the fleet to a high standard.

Quality also means having a test driver capable of replicating the same drive, lap after lap, to highlight differences in kart performance, and the ability to deliver accurate feedback on the handling and performance of the kart. Formula Fast are lucky to have a fine pedigree of current and past racing drivers in the team – who have competed on a national and international scale – but each test driver still undergoes months of training before being given the task of testing the fleet. This ensures that driver error is minimised and feedback for the engineers is accurate.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little behind-the-scenes of Formula Fast. Hopefully next time you take a drive one of our karts, the dedication that goes into our fleet will be rewarded with the race of a lifetime!

Check out these snapshots of a working day from the point of view of our above.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little behind-the-scenes of Formula Fast. Hopefully next time you take a drive one of our karts, the dedication that goes into our fleet will be rewarded with the race of a lifetime!

Ollie
Sales & Marketing Director

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