As with any skill, practice makes perfect and driving or racing go-carts is no exception because of the numerous skill, maneuvers, and strategies that can only be perfected by executing the activity. A thorough knowledge of how and why a go-cart reacts the way it does in specific situations is best gained by a first-hand driving experience. By driving and racing go-carts on a regular basis you can learn how to maneuver instinctively just by knowing how each turn or adjustment will move the cart.
Having a “feel” for how go-carts drive on the tracks, pavement, or off-road, is an important tool, but as the racing competition increases, more strategy will need to be involved in your driving. For some go-cart drivers, a sense of racing strategy comes naturally and allows them to judge the situation then react quickly. Other drivers prefer to practice what strategies they will execute in a specific scenario by mocking or imagining a possible racing situation. No matter your preference, when racing go-carts you will need to practice a strategic plan in order to drive to the full potential of yourself and the go-cart.
Any amateur or beginner driver should at least know some basic racing strategies or maneuvers, such as effective starts and what to do around corners. The first, effective starts, is important because the way you start a go-cart off the line may determine how the rest of the race will go. The type of start that is being administered, either staggered or a crowded straight line, will determine the starting strategies you should use. A good start off the line is helpful in many ways, but especially if you are participating in short distance and sprint go-cart races.
The second of the basic go-cart racing strategies, getting around corners is only necessary if you are racing distances over a quarter-mile, and many of these races do exist, such as endurance karting. The way you handle your cart around the corners is a large determining factor in who wins the race because many racers lose ground by braking or letting off the gas around curves. Braking your go-cart or letting off the gas around a corner can often cause the rear end to begin tailing oddly, in turn, causing you to lose speed. You must find a comfortable way to move around the corners while maintaining a constant speed.
The ability to plan out and perform more complex strategies will come with practice and experience. Go-cart drivers of any experience level should always know the official rules of racing. Because there are different types of races and separate classifications within each race the rules will vary, meaning you need to know them for the specific race you are competing.
If you are completely new to go-cart racing you could try taking a go-cart driving course. Information about where and how to sign up for a driving class can usually be found through local tracks established for go-carting.