Having a race strategy is a must in endurance racing and a failure to plan out the race might see a team make crucial errors of judgement that may result in unnecessary time lost.
Items like knowing when to pit, which drivers are to go into the kart at a particular stage of the race and when to take on fuel are commonplace on a typical team’s strategy.
Some teams have their own customised race plan documents to help them with this process, however a simple pen and paper with the race schedule on it is a tried and true method for keeping track of who should be pitting and when.
Whatever your preference, getting in the habit of planning your race out is the difference between taking the prize or going home empty handed.
Fact: You cannot go it alone in endurance racing.
Every kart on the track at an SEKQLD event is run by a team. This feature makes endurance racing totally unique from other forms of kart racing whereby it would normally only be one driver competing for the prize.
The make up of your team and how many people you have in it are up to you. Not every team member has to be a driver for example (some may opt to mechanic), and some groups may be large enough to field a two or even three kart presence on the track.
Whatever your preference, the camaraderie you build with your teammates is an important factor in this sport.
Keeping your teammates in the loop as the race unfolds is crucial for success in endurance racing and this can be done in a variety of ways.
For some teams a cheap, yet effective set of signs may be used to signal a driver to pit or alert them to the presence of the Safety Kart.
Many teams make use of pit to kart radios. These are typically either a Bluetooth motorcycle intercom system, with popular brands including Blueant and SENA. Headsets are simply converted hearing protection head-sets with a bluetooth radio mounted.
Alternatively a UHF radio setup may be used.
Driver swaps are where an endurance racing team will pit their kart in order to take one pilot out and substitute them for another racing team member.
It is this feature that makes racing for extended periods of time manageable and is therefore strategically very important for teams to time correctly. Factors like fatigue, race traffic and individual driver characteristics will determine when the optimum time to make a pit stop is.
SEKQLD’s rules are set up to ensure both driver safety at all times, as well as fairness throughout the field. For this reason, as part of the driver swaps rules it is mandated that teams:
Must take at least one driver stop per racing hour;
Must not allow one driver to drive for an excessive period of time without pitting (this is stipulated in each event’s race rules); and
Must have the correct minimum number of drivers participating (the number of drivers you need is based on the race length and may be 2-6).
Although not required at every race on the SEKQLD calendar, changing tyres on the fly is an important part of endurance racing.
Teams will typically only change tyres when they need to, be it through excessive tyre wear (very rarely) or because the weather conditions have changed.
SEKQLD also hosts a unique ‘Marquee Round’, in which teams are required to use both the ‘hard’ SL1 and ‘soft’ SL6 tyres. In this event, tyre change strategy is a critical component to success, with leading team’s trying to not only turn their karts around as quickly as possible, but select the best time to stop.
To finish first, first you must finish as the old saying goes. And you’re not going to be finishing any time soon without fuel.
Of course safety is our primary concern, so all refuelling stops are completed to a set time (usually 90 seconds) using an electronic timer, and are completed by an SEKQLD official. In addition the series has spill kits and fire extinguishers on hand should there be any issue.
The timing of a fuel stop can often be make or break for a team’s strategy. Pit too early and you mightn’t have enough fuel to make it to the end, and have to take an extra stop. Pit too late and you may find yourself having to queue for fuel, losing valuable time to your competitors.