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Appealing Track Features (as Driver)

Discussion in 'Other Racing' started by Brian C. Stradale, Apr 10, 2004.

  1. Brian C. Stradale

    Brian C. Stradale F1 Rookie
    Lifetime Rossa

    Mar 17, 2002
    3,603
    Dallas, TX, USA
    Okay, I'm laying out a track design for karts. As a driver, what features would you like to see?

    Here's my list:

    1) 24' wide (is 18' wide enough for karts? 20'?)
    2) a decreasing radius turn
    3) an increasing radius turn
    4) an uphill turn
    5) a downhill, off-camber turn
    6) a high-speed turn
    7) a challenging turn leading onto a long straight (*2)
    8) a series of linked turns, where its unclear which
    turns to setup for and which turns to take "wrong" in
    order to setup for the others
    9) a double turn (2 90-degree turns slightly separated
    that can be linked into a long 180-degree, though maybe
    not the fastest way through)
    10) a 180-degree turn
    11) a high-speed chicane

    Am I missing anything?

    Any recommendations on the minimum radius turn for
    karts?

    Should I worry about paving run-off areas? Maybe do
    the track 18' wide, but extend run off areas at track-out
    to allow you a bit of room to save a miss?

    P.S. Which karts? I might go with Rotax Max; but I am
    tempted to go with the lowest-maintenance and quietest
    option... electric... I've seen some electric karts with
    damned-fast specs.
     
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  3. 62 250 GTO

    62 250 GTO F1 Veteran

    Jan 9, 2004
    7,732
    Nova Scotia Canada
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    Neil
    2 and 5 could be problems if the drivers aren't very good. All of the cars are going to be close in acceleration and top speed, no? I would try not to "bottle neck" the track like in a few of the F1 tracks, where a straight has a quick left and right that would limit passing and keep the field single field. And I found the Bahrain track had a problem with the double apex turns, which don't allow passing. Although if you screw up the turn you can be passed while leaving the turn, just like any other. Adding a corkscrew into the track should be fun. Run-offs will help limit damage and costs. Sound nice already.
     
  4. 62 250 GTO

    62 250 GTO F1 Veteran

    Jan 9, 2004
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  5. tifosi12

    tifosi12 Four Time F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Oct 3, 2002
    46,291
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    Andreas
    After having just been to a (indoor) go kart event I have only one request:

    Passing zones!

    Your mix of turns is nice and good and important and the indoor kart track had most of those, but it was hard as hell to pass anybody. Not wide enough and too short stints in between the turns. Obviously signs of an indoor track, but nevertheless pls make sure there is at least one passing opportunity. I have spent numerous laps behind the same driver. I knew I was faster, but every time I was about to pass (enough speed built up and the better line) he would close the door on me.

    So maybe just as important as the turns is the run off area. Indoor karting had none.
     
  6. Brian C. Stradale

    Brian C. Stradale F1 Rookie
    Lifetime Rossa

    Mar 17, 2002
    3,603
    Dallas, TX, USA
    Definitely! My current rough draft has 2 long straights and a medium straight between a high-speed chicane and a high-speed corner. IOW, I'd expect 3 solid passing zones. Question: is 18' wide enough or do I need 24'? It seems 18' would be plenty for karts, but I hear "ideal" is 24'.

    I'll definitely have lots of dirt run-off on the outside of every corner. I'm still playing with the idea of providing some paved run-off in addition to hopefully cut the number of OTE's down, and thus minimize dirt on track, etc. Basically add something like a six-foot band for 20' before proper track out to allow people to save an early apex or taking a corner too hot.

    Brian
     
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  8. LA Swede

    LA Swede Formula Junior

    Dec 5, 2003
    369
    SoCal
    you need at least one 180 degree hairpin!

    two of my favorite tracks had chicanes (of various width) going downhill. It was incredibly thrilling to gun it through the chicane. On one track, the chicane had drop that you really felt in your stomach (think Laguna Seca corkscrew, without the blind curve).

    Do you have any 90 degree fullspeed turns? I always liked those.

    On one track I raced, there were several hairpins, one of which was pretty severely banked and at the end of a loooong straightaway. much fun breaking into that turn and leaning against the kart you were overtaking.

     
  9. LA Swede

    LA Swede Formula Junior

    Dec 5, 2003
    369
    SoCal
    is this going to be a track for rentals? Rotax Max would be great fun, but too much work. Go with 4-stroke for rentals.

     
  10. Brian C. Stradale

    Brian C. Stradale F1 Rookie
    Lifetime Rossa

    Mar 17, 2002
    3,603
    Dallas, TX, USA
    Got that. Going clockwise it'll be at the end of a long straight... and entry into a tight technical section; going CCW, it will be following a downhill, off-camber turn, that if you don't hit the apex on you'll be set horribly for the hairpin, and the hairpin exits onto a long straight... so the penalty/reward will be huge.

    Hmmm... I could move my chicane back a bit and center it over a dip... unfortunately, I don't have a lot of natural elevation changes to work with. I'll have to think on that one.

    Full-speed? I have one high-speed 90' turn... CCW its at the end of a long straight... you will need to brake, but it'll be a very fast turn... CW its at the end of a shorter straight, so you may be able to hold speed or even accelerate some into it... in fact, if I pull that chicane back as I mentioned above, that would probably guarantee it was a turn you had to accelerate through.

    Thanks for the ideas!
     
  11. Brian C. Stradale

    Brian C. Stradale F1 Rookie
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    Mar 17, 2002
    3,603
    Dallas, TX, USA
    Can you elaborate? (I want to spend my time driving, not tinkering with the karts!)

    I need reasonably quiet karts though... I am surrounded by homes.
     
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  13. LA Swede

    LA Swede Formula Junior

    Dec 5, 2003
    369
    SoCal
    4-strokes generally require less maintenance than 2-strokes, even though a water-cooled 2 stroke might be ok. however, so far I have not seen any really fast 4 stroke karts, but they are on the horizon as I believe FIA/CIK have set some conversion mandate. 4 strokes apparently pollute less than 2 strokes.

    real racing 2-stroke karts, are very, very fast and fun, much different from the karts you can rent.

    I don't think there are any rental places that stay with 2 stroke engines for very long. I think maintenance makes it prohibitive. I have been to the Michael Schumacher kart track at Kerpen and I think they had 4-strokes.

    are you building this track for your own use? that sounds awesome. what is the budget for that? how big is the foot print?


     
  14. wax

    wax Four Time F1 World Champ
    Advising Moderator

    Jul 20, 2003
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    Dirty Harry
    Yes, outside of $, just what are you up to, young man?
     
  15. LA Swede

    LA Swede Formula Junior

    Dec 5, 2003
    369
    SoCal
    It would be cool if you posted a sketch of the track layout.
     
  16. Brian C. Stradale

    Brian C. Stradale F1 Rookie
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    Mar 17, 2002
    3,603
    Dallas, TX, USA
    Yeah, I am working on that... the sketches I am working with are overlayed on a topo of the property... don't scan well. I'll post a pretty pic sometime tomorrow... oops later today.

    The area I must work within is about 3 acres... the budget is "as little as possible, such that there's minimal maintenance going forward"... and it is targeted for me, my family, and friends...


    On that hairpin... what's the minimum radius that you would suggest for the inside of a hairpin turn with typical karts?
     
  17. LA Swede

    LA Swede Formula Junior

    Dec 5, 2003
    369
    SoCal
    This is just one mans opinion. The sharpest hairpin I can remember had about 2-3 feet of space between the tracks and it worked fine even though it may not in concordance with today's rules. (I don't remember how wide the track was, so I don't know the radius). If you have a 24 foot wide track, your hairpin becomes less sharp than if you have an 18 foot wide track. I think I also would want to consider the turn in the context of the whole track, for gearing purposes and flow etc.

    I think that a track width of 8 meters (24 feet about) is the FIA/CIK minimum for international competition, but it might be even higher now.

    There is quite a lot of work that goes into building a track before the asphalt goes down. Here is a link to a track that was recently completed outside of L.A., with some pictures from the construction (this track is 29 feet wide and almost 1800 meters long!):

    http://www.moranraceway.com/pages/gallery.html


     
  18. Brian C. Stradale

    Brian C. Stradale F1 Rookie
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    Mar 17, 2002
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    On that note, anyone know where such rules are available online? I'm not necessarily worried about satisfying them... but I suspect it could be educational.

    That's a lot bigger than mine will be!! They're on about 6x the area, have a 3x longer straight, are 5x the overall length, and have 2x the number of turns.
     
  19. Brian C. Stradale

    Brian C. Stradale F1 Rookie
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    Mar 17, 2002
    3,603
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    Another question:

    How important are apex curbs? They can be painful... but you need something to keep people from cutting the apex into the dirt...

    As a cheaper alternative, can I put down slick white paint on the inside such that you want to stay off and if you get on it a bit you naturally slide back out? Or do like one local go-kart track and put down bumps on the edge of the track, making it painful to go inside the track edge?

    Thoughts?
     
  20. Brian C. Stradale

    Brian C. Stradale F1 Rookie
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    Mar 17, 2002
    3,603
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    Here's one possibility... graphically... suggestions? issues? ideas?
     
  21. Brian C. Stradale

    Brian C. Stradale F1 Rookie
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    Mar 17, 2002
    3,603
    Dallas, TX, USA
    Note that those other lines are elevation lines... the corner in the lower right are major uphill and downhill... trying to form myself a little corkscrew-ish turn.

    Oh, in that drawing, the dashed areas beyond the solid-lined 24' track are designed to add 5-10' of run-off pavement to allow you to catch your kart when you get to apex and realize you are either too early or too hot and you need to straighten up and get on the brakes... just trying to make it a bit easier to stay out of the dirt. The one in the lower right that seems unduly extended given its such a slow corner is that way because that is majorly downhill and you're headed towards a drainage area... the extra pavement is to compensate for the downhill... allowing you to brake to a stop.

    And the dashed lines that cross the hairpin up by the pit not only provide a bail out if you screw up the downhill "corkscrew-ish" turn, but also form a full circle with 30' diameter inside and 54' diameter outside for practicing car control. That dot in the center is a tree which will be ringed with tires, just in case.

    The area from the 1"=50' scale down the "V" actually has quite a few mid-size trees that I am avoiding.
     
  22. joeyy

    joeyy Karting

    Nov 11, 2003
    190
    long island
    Full Name:
    joe
    I was thinking of adding an inner loop same as the one Watkins Glenn added. You can run the track as 2 configurations using the inner loop for carts that you feel are going too fast. There are always passing opportunities there because of the flat section if you block for one entry you are open for the second and there will always be action there. but there seems not to be enough room for one. Also be careful of dirt or sand gravel runoffs they can flip you very easily. Paved runoffs will have people slide. Maybe with tire barriers at the ends of them. Remember Bridgehampton racetrack in NY? If you got off there sideways over you went. ok with a rollbar but not good with nothing but a helmet
     
  23. LA Swede

    LA Swede Formula Junior

    Dec 5, 2003
    369
    SoCal
    I like curbs, actually fun to go over, unless they are too draconian. I have never seen slick paint used in lieu of curbs.

    Layout looks nice. Did you play around with a few permutations?
     
  24. 4RE Bob

    4RE Bob Formula Junior

    Feb 7, 2004
    567
    Muskoka, Ontario
    Full Name:
    Bob
    I assume you are running clockwise. Counterclockwise makes the lower right corner pretty hairy with speed and elevation change.
     
  25. tifosi12

    tifosi12 Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Actually Brian, you should make sure you can run the track in both directions. Makes it more interesting. At the same token a few direct connecting paths might help change the setup. IMHO not a bad idea.

    Oh, and one more thing:

    IMHO THE MOST IMPORTANT FEATURE OF ANY GO KART TRACK:

    Time measuring equipment. If I as a driver go to a go kart place and there isn't anybody to race against, I'd like to at least improve my own times. So a built in system would be perfect. Ideally a big TV monitor on the long straight that tells you your past lap time. Alternatively small displays on the steering wheel.
     
  26. Brian C. Stradale

    Brian C. Stradale F1 Rookie
    Lifetime Rossa

    Mar 17, 2002
    3,603
    Dallas, TX, USA
    I plan to run both ways. The hairpin will force you to slow way down... the following left should allow you to accelerate, but limited by the off-camber... you'll need to keep very tight there to both minimize off-camber and to setup for the next corner... which you'll want to hit tight and get lined up downhill ASAP so that you can get on power with the help of the downhill run.

    If you get wide on either of those, the off camber is going to eat you up... and you'll have to give up all your speed. And that's why I added that 15' of paved runoff following that turn... for those that realize too late that they failed to keep it tight enough and that they are going to need to give up that speed.

    That's my interpretation, anyway... does it look scarier than that to you?
    What would you change?
     
  27. 4RE Bob

    4RE Bob Formula Junior

    Feb 7, 2004
    567
    Muskoka, Ontario
    Full Name:
    Bob
    Perhaps I'm confused by which corner is off camber. When I look at the track, and I leave that pits going counter clockwise, the first right hand corner slows me down. The next left-hand corner is arguably two left-hand corners, but easier going counter clockwise because the radius opens up. The next corner is a high-speed sweeper (to the left) and for some reason it looks easier to straighten out the kink going counter clockwise, but maybe that's just my imagination. I'm now into a left-hand corner which may be blind, and I'm probably in too hot. At this point, I run out of road, or run out of talent, depending on your perspective. Don't get me wrong, I would learn from my mistakes, but that corner seems scary to me. Scary is not necessarily a bad thing. Maybe we need to number of these corners and show off camber somehow.

    Off topic for one second -- my titanium Modena arrived at the dealership late last week. I will get it this week. I think we concluded that our cars were on the same boat. Any word on yours?
     
  28. Brian C. Stradale

    Brian C. Stradale F1 Rookie
    Lifetime Rossa

    Mar 17, 2002
    3,603
    Dallas, TX, USA
    No, I just re-read your comment... thought you said it would be scary clockwise... I answered about clockwise... (d'oh)... let me try this again CCW..

    Easier to stay on track... but should be challenging... the key is getting on as much power as you can, meaning loss of traction at front, pushing your way through the second of that double-apex... and you need to hit both apexes.


    I see what you mean... except that you need to be fully right to set up for the next corner...

    I see what you mean... that will be a blind corner! But, and this is a big but... you will be going majorly uphill, which will make braking real fast... unless of course you don't realize that's a blind left hander...

    I think I'll add a bunch of paving straight back to catch those that crest the hill full power. Thanks.


    No word... either mine fell off that boat or it was actually on the next boat. I'm certainly hoping for the latter... I guess we'll know in about 2 weeks.


    Brian
     

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