Karting is the best value in four wheel racing. Sprint karts out-brake, and out-corner the most expensive Ferraris and Porsches and even the cars from many popular televised racing series. The fastest sprint karts raced at PKRA will out-accelerate them using motors that generate Formula One levels of HP/displacement.
But despite the incredible value, too many new kart racers succumb to the steep learning curves of kart maintenance, chassis tuning, motor tuning, and driving. These are true racing machines and small mistakes and oversights can lead to expensive repairs or fun sapping problems. And some racers who master the basics, struggle to improve as fast as they would like.
Kart shops give customers the basics and more, but the truth is some karters need more than that to realize their expectations.
PKRA provides safety training for new karters on Tuesday nights. Shops and schools offer various levels of support and instruction. But the jump from learning safety rules and how the controls work to turning quick consistent laps in traffic is too big for some new karters to make on their own. The evidence is the number of for-sale ads that begin with “Like-new kart for sale. Only driven a few times in practice…….”
To help new karters get up to speed and established karters hone their skills, PKRA is evaluating a mentoring program. The basic concept is to have volunteer experts mentor karters who want that type of assistance. Ideally, there would be an expert for each racing class who is a current (or recent) successful racer in that class and also has mentoring skills/experience.
PKRA Training Director, Joshua Lyon, has volunteered to be the mentor for a pilot program. Joshua is a TaG and Shifter champion at PKRA and other series and is a part-time professional driving coach. He decided to do the pilot program in Shifters rather than TaG because PKRA is experiencing an increase in shifter racers. He also felt that if the program is expanded, it would be easier to find someone else to fill the mentor role in TaG than in Shifters.
What the program entails is subject to change based on results and feedback.
Initially, Josh plans to do a group presentation once a month on topics of interest to the group (shifter racers). That could be at the track or indoors somewhere. If the topic applies to other karting classes, racers from those classes can attend. Josh will also answer questions for shifter racers via email or phone. Shifter racers can even call him from the track with immediate questions and he will respond as soon as practical. Questions that would apply to others and their answers will be posted in a forum thread for that purpose. About the only kinds of help he won’t give involve what to buy or where to buy it. It would be better to get those kinds of opinions by talking to a number of customers.
Please let Joshua know if you are a shifter racer who wants to participate in the program and what you would like to get out of it.