3-S: Practice Days

~ by Daniel Demaras ~

I’ve heard people talk about 3-S Go Karts for years. A track that so many people in the paddock had grown up at and have nothing but fond memories of. Despite its storied past and famed history, it had been a while since any big races went down at Sutton. That was, of course, until it was announced that they would be hosting the final round of the KartStars Canada series on two weeks notice.

There were many questions that I and many others had about Sutton’s addition to the calendar. What was the state of the track like? How prepared were they for the large fields? More than anything, how do I drive this track?

Learning a new track is never easy. Every circuit has its own unique quirks and challenges, and this is exceptionally true for Sutton. The track is incredibly high speed, with only one real braking zone. Every corner on the track other than the grid corner is either flat out or almost flat out, which makes the circuit quite unique. Grid corner, so named because it is right in front of the grid, leads into one of the most important but challenging parts of the circuit. An interesting characteristic of Sutton is its flow. Every corner sets up the next corner, sometimes the next sequence of corners, and the conventional racing line is often not the right approach.

For a circuit this complex, it was a tall order to get up to speed by the weekend. The first thing to do was to figure out the layout, where to turn left and where to turn right, and how not to throw it off the track. After gaining a baseline understanding of the track, it was time to figure out how to find speed. Pushing the limits and trying new things on track, I realized that Sutton is a much more challenging circuit than I thought. “Slow in, fast out” was very much real, and simply carrying a ton of speed into corners wasn’t the fastest approach. A more methodical line, setting up each section three corners at a time. With the help of New Speed Motorsports’ cast of 3-S veterans Anthony Simone and Max Preston, I was able to use their knowledge of the circuit to improve my driving.

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