Q: “Living in the UK, the combination of all our rental karts being fitted with slicks and reliably crappy weather gives me plenty of opportunity to become a very capable wet weather driver. Whilst my raw pace is actually pretty good, one thing I particularly struggle with is staying consistent and knowing how much speed I can carry through corners on a constantly changing circuit (weather in the UK is so changeable that a track can go from wet to damp to wet again within an hour!). Are there any particular drills or techniques I can use to help adapt faster to this?“
A: Ask any race driver in the world and they will tell you that the most challenging conditions to drive in are the in-between conditions – not full wet and not dry yet. So, you’re not alone in feeling challenged by this. I think you know the answer to your own question – deliberate practice, right? Fortunately, you have more opportunity than most to practice in the changing conditions, so just keep doing that.
But, here’s the thing: be very focused on sensing traction. Whenever possible, just do laps solely focused on how much traction you have, and especially how much each tire has. Drive with the question, “How much traction do I have?” in your mind at all times. Just make note of how it changes with the changing conditions, and look for grip. Move your line to see if different parts of the track have more or less traction. You know that the grip is going to be in different places, depending on how wet the track is. So, go looking for it. Don’t be afraid to try some very different lines, and just make note of how much grip there is. When you find a part of the track that has less grip, that’s also a good thing because you’ll need your car control to manage it. Look at everything you notice as a good thing – a learning experience. This whole process is like Sensory Input Sessions, but just focused on traction, and all the ways you sense it.
Something I’ve noticed that many drivers do when driving on a wet track is they get overly focused on the traction that isn’t there. Instead, focus on the traction that is there. It seems like a subtle difference, but it’s worth it.