Karting Tips From World Champion Tom Joyner

Not many people can claim to be a World Champion. Tom Joyner can. Not only that, when he won his FIA KF world karting title in 2013 he did so by leaving Max Verstappen, Lance Stroll, Lando Norris and George Russell in his wake.

From what he told me I’ve picked out seven points that help Tom succeed in a class that is infamous for excessive expense.

This interview was carried out before Tom’s World Championship successes.

Embrace what’s difficult

Tom doesn’t shy away from things that might faze other drivers. For example once at PFi “for the final we set up the kart to come on really late and I really struggled at the start, dropping back seven places. The tyre pressures were so low I didn’t know if I could get round the first corner.”

He says his favourite track is Braga as “it’s really old and bumpy, which makes it really interesting, and you struggle with the same lines on each lap, and the kerbs show up your mistakes. I like that about PFi as well.” In the UK his favourite track is Rowrah, for the same reason with the kerbs and also the inclines.

Pick a good team and stick with them

Tom has been with AMT since 2007 when he was racing in JICA and thinks they are a huge reason why he can be successful. “I go over everything with Ash and go over the data and have learned not to just go out and change everything and to think about it more.

“We get on well and believe in each other, there’s no doubts anywhere. Lots of people change teams quite a lot, but you’re going to have good and bad days so it’s better to build relationships.”

Stay calm

“At PFi we didn’t think we’d be that far at the sharp end but it gave us a bit more confidence and everyone worked extra hard.” A few years ago Tom thinks he might have fluffed it at PFi being in the position he was in but now is in a really good frame of mind for it. He also says not to make rash decision when in reality you’re not far off the pace.

Keep learning

Tom does admit he would be at a disadvantage from his limited track time if he was younger and less experienced. But you can mitigate this by taking in everything you can whenever you can.

Don’t listen to paddock rumours

“People are put off by what they hear about the costs but Rotax can be just as bad. A works team will charge a lot of money but if you go with a good national team it costs much the same as other classes. With the engines there’s quite a lot you can change if it’s not good enough whereas in Rotax you often have to pay a lot for a good one and can only change the carb.

“Going abroad costs more but it’s the same for Euromax. In the European Championship tyres are free, in WSK the tyres cost but I haven’t done that.”

Keep fit

“I can’t stay kart-fit, but I ride my bike to work and I’m cycling for four or five hours at work as well,” said Tom, who works as a postman during the week.

Enjoy it

“Every time I stop for a while I want to get back racing, not because I want to get into F1 or anything, just because it’s a good feeling and I enjoy myself.”