Endurance Kart Racing + Loadcells = Fair Go for All
You’d be forgiven for not know too much about this distant cousin of race car driving. For a start it’s a hobby for people who can afford to buy go-kart frames, Honda motors, insurance premiums, entry fees while footing the bill for travel money as they haul their go-karts to organised races across the country.
Even more discouragingly, there’s hardly any money to be made for the winners. The top purses or prizes in countries with a bigger audiences like the U.S. generally doesn’t even pay above $2500 a race.
So you might be asking, what do loadcells have to with this off-mainstream sport? To their fans, everything.
While endurance karting may never reach the mainstream like F1, Daytona or Rally racing, people who follow the endurance kart circuit are passionate about their sport.
Like every sport, one of the biggest issues it deals with is fairness.
Endurance Karting is like “real racing” without the million dollar engineering of multinational motor manufacturers.
Instead of F1 engines, these karts are powered by two comparatively tiny 6.5 horse power Honda motors, achieving speeds of 100 KPH.
Like real racing, a lot of hard work goes into winning these races that last anywhere from 4 to 24 hours. Unlike real racing, there’s hardly any prize money. So it begs the question, why do it at all?
Endurance Karting isn’t like sprint karting, where races are over after 10 or 15 laps. Endurance events race for a minimum of 4 hours and can be as long as 24 hours, that’s continuous racing.
Pit stops, driver changes, refueling stops, race strategy and kart preparation all combine to offer a challenging and exciting “real racing” environment at a cost which is comparatively affordable.
The karts are powered by two 6.5hp Honda motors and can achieve speeds in excess of 100 kph. The racing is competitive and close with teams often separated by seconds or minutes at the end of a 6 hour race.
So every team is looking to gain a couple of seconds, which could make all the difference. Because these are endurance races, each team has multiple drivers. So teams need to plan when they will change the drivers, & how long they can maintain the pace. With driving stints usually between 1 – 2 hours at the wheel.
The lower the weight ratio to power the faster the karts go, which means any team can shave off critical seconds off their time, by dropping their weight.
So if teams are looking for a competitive advantage to go faster, then it would make sense to make their karts & drivers weigh less. Since all the karts have access to the same Honda motors, the lower the combined weight the faster the karts.
Any team which can find a bunch of skinny drivers, would be able to go faster.
So how do you stop Endurance Karts Teams from gaining an unfair advantage, by using skinny drivers?
So to make the racing about the skill of the drivers and the reliability of the karts. Each team’s Kart & driver needs to be a minimum of 185 Kilos.
TEKA The Endurance Karting Association, holds races around Australia. so TEKA, needed to find a portable weighing solution, which could be easy packed into a 4WD trailer.
AWE was approached to design a robust weighing system which was portable and accurate for Weighing the Kart and a fully kitted out driver.
The Kart weigher needed to be easy to set up in the pits, Reliable and able to cope with the harsh conditions of a racetrack. Of course it goes without saying, the kart weigher also had to help enforce the rule of the combined weight of the Kart & the team of drivers, being over 185 kilos.
One of the difficulties faced with weighing these Karts is the low clearance, of the Karts.
The kart had to be able to clear the ramps with out bottoming out the Karts frame, as this could damage the karts delicate set ups.
The Kart weigher was designed, as modules, so they could be put together quickly on race day, and provide an accurate weight of each teams karts & drivers.
The Kart weigher uses 4 AGX Shear Beam Load Cells at each corner, to weigh the karts & drivers, their weights flash on an indicator, so the officials can see the weight of the teams Karts & drivers. Every Kart and the drivers are checked to make sure, they comply with the minimum weigh of 185Kilos.
According to Blake McArthur Race Secretary ”Just having the Kart weigher onsite, provided an additional benefit, because the teams did not know when they would be randomly checked again. So this kept everybody honest, instead of trying to sneak an unfair advantage, on their competitors.”