Top 7 Tips to be insanely FAST Driving a Shifter Kart in 2021

If you’re thinking about driving a Shifter Kart for the first time or to start winning races with it, then this article is for you.

I will share with you the top 7 tips that I’ve learned over the years which will turn you into a Pro driver if you take them seriously and put them into practice.

As I’ve said, these are coming from over 15 years of driving Go karts at intentional level and after even crowing a World Championship title in Bahrein back in 2013.

Lorandi Kz2
Shifter Kart – Alessio Lorandi

Though, as with everything in life, once you discover the secrets, you will then need to put them into practice in order to become successful.

And you have to put them into practice every single time.

Not just once or twice and then completely forgetting about them.

Here’s the list of the top 7 Tips to be insanely fast on any shifter kart:


  1. Use the engine brake aggressively
  2. Take a V line in the hairpins
  3. Use all the traction in the exits
  4. Brake as late as possible
  5. Take advantage of the extra grip on new tires
  6. Make sure you get the shifting right
  7. Don’t use exit kerbs out of hairpins


So having said that let’s get started with the first shifter kart tip on our list.


#1 Use the engine brake aggressively


So what’s the big difference between a single speed kart and a shifter kart?


The great thing about gears is that they allow you to slow down a lot when you downshift a shifter kart, also known as a KZ or KZ2.

Of course you need to do it properly if you wanna be a pro driver.

What I mean is that the number one thing I focus while downshifting is to keep my engine revs (RPM) high.

The reason I want to do that is because by keeping my revs up, I know that the deceleration will be much better.

And so my kart will slow down faster thus allowing me to brake later and later.

Got it?

This is crucially important if you wanna be fast with a shìhifter since it will guarantee you to have a really strong braking.


#2 Take a V shaped racing line in the hairpins


The other big difference between driving a single gear and a shifter kart is that with a shifter you will need to take a near perfect V shaped racing line in the hairpins, whereas with a single gear it will be rounder overall.

Again, the reason for it is because it will allow you to maximize your braking efficiency which is much stronger for a shifter kart since it has front brakes too.

Therefore you should really focus extensively on this V shaped line and braking technique if you aren’t yet doing, which will improve your lap times enormously!

The other reason why you keep that V line on the exit is to take advantage of all the traction available for that aggressive 2nd or 3rd gear which is way more than what a single gear engine delivers.

So by staying tight and straight on the exits, you will allow yourself to accelerate in a much better and efficient way!


#3 Use all the traction on the exits


So adding up to what we’ve just mentioned, with a shifter kart you will need to maximize all the traction available on the exits.

Those 2nd and 3rd gears are really powerful and will give you an amazing acceleration if used properly.

The best way to do that is by trying to straighten up the kart on the exits so that you can use all that traction while keeping the steering as straight as possible.

Of course without overdoing it because then you will lose too much time in the middle of the corner.

This kind of technique is not so simple to grasp, therefore you should really take lots of practice and time to internalize it.

Patience is key.


#4 Brake as late as possible


The fourth tip I have for you is to brake as late as possible.

Of course that is a recurring thing with Go kart racing and motorsport in general, but with Kz and shifter karts it is a real priority to focus on.

As we’ve previously mentioned, you want to make sure you keep a V line by staying tight on the entry and that will allow you to brake as late as possible while using all the engine brake available.

I know that “as late as possible” is somewhat subjective, but what I mean is to maximize all the grip available from the track and the tyres you’re currently driving with.

Of course if your tires are 10 times more consumed than other drivers, then you can’t expect to be braking in the same place since the grip level is way less then what they’ve got.

So you should always be taking these things into consideration while analyzing key areas of improvement.


#5 Take advantage of the extra grip on new tires


This tip could be quite obvious, you might argue, but hold on a sec.

The new tires will always give you some extra grip.

It could be just a couple of tenths or even a full second.

It really depends on how worn those tires were and how much grip there is on track.

Usually the lower the grip on track and the higher the new tires’ advantage.

The great thing about shifter karts, though, is that they can help you extrapolate even more lap time out of those new tires than what a single gear kart does.

That is because the traction and the braking efficiency on a shifter kart are way higher and therefore give you a huge chance of improving your lap time drastically!

Make sure you can brake a little bit later and go to throttle a little more aggressive on new tires than what you normally do with used tires!


#6 make sure you get the shifting right


Since you’ve got gears, you have to get them right.

Shifter karts ain’t line automatic road cars where the machine takes care about gears for you.

You’ve gotta shift them and you’ve gotta learn how to shift them as well and as fast as possible!

You do that by practicing a lot on reducing the throttle lift time as much as possible.

You obviously can’t expect to take 3.5 seconds to shift a single gear.

You’ve got to do it fast, and that’s why there are go kart coaches like me that teach you how to do it!


#7 Don’t use exit kerbs out of hairpins


The final tip I have for you is to avoid exit kerbs as much as possible.

Actually, hairpin exit kerbs.

The reason being is that those kerbs will disrupt your grip level and reduce your traction a lot.

That’s why you could (and should) still use them in the exit of medium to high speed corners, but staying away completely from low speed corners.

Because out of slow speed corners you need lots and lots of traction.

Therefore you should aim to exit at around the white line of the corner exit, but not using those kerbs with your shifter kart.

Got it?


There’s a lot of competition in the world right now. 

If you want to win, it takes more than just hard work and dedication – you’ve gotta be insanely fast!

The 7 tips we have outlined here should help you get started on your journey towards being an unstoppable, unbeatable racer – but only if you put them into practice! 

Start thinking about how these principles can apply to your own driving today and see what changes for the better. 

Remember that there is no time like the present- or as they say at this point in history “too late”- so start applying these Shifter Kart driving techniques immediately before all those other drivers beat you out once again!


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