Tire Prep for Go Kart Racing

by Jeremy Dunn
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As with any brand of auto racing, all competitors seek to find an advantage to enhance and maintain speed and handling. Go Kart racing is no different from the international, national and regional auto racing divisions. Certain techniques are necessary in order to achieve competitive lap times in Go Kart racing. Tire preparation, or tire prep, is a fundamental method used in Go Kart racing to improve traction as well as to reduce lap times. Tire prep varies depending on the surface of the track, usually dirt or asphalt.

Tire Prep Formulas

Most, if not all, Go Kart racing professionals apply tire prep solution on their tires. Tire prep formulas usually consist of a combination of mineral spirits, acetone and sometimes fuel and transmission fluid, as well as other various elements. Go Kart racers paint a coat or multiple coats of tire prep formula on their tires prior to a race to improve traction and reduce lap times. Most tire prep formulas work best when you soak the tires in the solution for a specified amount of time. Tire prep formulas are made for different circumstances. Some are designed strictly for asphalt racing or strictly for dirt track racing. Others may work best for short runs, such as qualifying, while the benefit of others may be that they last for more laps. Some popular brands of tire prep formulas include Hot Victory Lap, Hot Lap II, Goat P, Wintergreen Tire Prep and Speedy 500. Some Go Kart racing professionals prefer to blend their own tire prep formula. The recommendation, however, is to use established brands.

Tire Prep Techniques for Dirt Track Racing

In regard to Go Kart racing on tracks with dirt surfaces, many racers cut a thin slit on the surface of the tires in order to improve traction, especially on surfaces that contain some moisture. Many refer to this technique as siping, which reduces heat on the tire due to the cooling effect of air passing through the slits.

Tire Prep Techniques for Asphalt Racing

Most Go Kart racing professionals agree that hot lapping is vital when it comes to tire prep for asphalt racing. Hot lapping is when you drive the Go Kart on the track without the purpose of competing with other drivers. Others simply refer to it as heat cycles or practice sessions. The purpose of this course of action allows you to determine the appropriate dimension of the tire, as well as air pressure. Furthermore, you can accurately adjust your stagger settings. Asphalt-track tires can be expanded or condensed according to stagger settings or requirements.

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