What is Kart Racing?
Kart racing is one of the fastest growing forms of motorsports in the U.S. and extremely popular around the world. You can begin racing at age 5 and continue well into retirement. Many participate out of enjoyment while others use it as a stepping stone into a professional racing career. Most current Formula 1 drivers and many Nascar drivers started with racing karts, and many still use them for training during off season. Kart racing is relatively affordable and allows for more seat time than any other racing vehicle. Due to the wide array of classes available it is easy to find something that will fit your budget.
Kart Racing is a great family sport that everyone can get involved with. Some families have multiple drivers which can include, dad, mom, grandpa, etc. But whether you are driving, assisting, or a spectator you won t be disappointed. It s a great way to spend the weekend with the family. It teaches good sportsmanship, mechanical know how, mental strength, and offers fun physical activity. And keep in mind you don t have to race to enjoy karting. Many kart owners just show up to open track days to beat their time, burn off a little steam, tinker with equipment, and get some physical activity.
How to get started?
The most important thing to determine before buying anything is where you are going to run your kart and what class you want to participate in. Until you figure that out you might end up with a lot of equipment that you can t use. Go to your local kart track/s, walk around, and ask the racers questions. Most racers are very friendly and more than happy to give you tips to get into the sport they love. Find out the class offerings from the entry desk or the kart track website. Most tracks have a website with classes and results posted. Visit a local kart shop or two, browse equipment and ask questions.
What does it take?
One consideration before buying is seeing if your local track offers arrive and drive sessions. These are typically much slower karts but it will get your feet wet. A relatively modest budget can get you started, but the initial investment is up to you. As a beginner, a used kart in good condition (no more than 5 years) is an option worth consideration. A used kart can run between $1,500 to $7,000. For club membership and race fees, you should consider another few hundred dollars per year. Most local tracks require a racing jacket or suit, a helmet, and gloves at minimum. You can expect to spend $400 and up for safety gear. Expect around maybe $500 to $2,000 more for spare parts, extra tires, and professional engine maintenance for a season. Of course those costs can get more expensive in some classes of karting. As a beginner, these amounts should be sufficient. You should also compare prices and options available for a new set-up.
Transporting a kart can be done in the back of a pick-up, a small trailer, or the back of a van. We have also seen them in the back of larger SUV s, station wagons, and even strapped to roofs. For working area a small shed or garage will work well. Karts can be stored vertical against a wall if you are constrained for storage leaving a foot print of about 26 x56 . A small set of metric tools will also help you get started on the right foot. See the Recommended Equipment tab for a list of equipment you may want to get started.
Karting Classes and Age Groups
5-7 year olds Kid Karts: Usually powered by a small 50cc 2-stroke or 4-cycle engine. The most popular engines are the Comer C50/C51 2-stroke engine and the Honda GXH50 4-cycle engine. Most local tracks treat this as an exhibition class to allow the child to learn driving techniques.
7-13 years old Cadet Karts: Classes range from Briggs 4-Cycle, and many 2-stroke options like: Rotax Micro/Mini Max, IAME Micro/Mini Swift, Micro/Mini Rok. It is best to check with your local organization to see what is offered in your area.
12-15 years old Junior: Junior classes are faster than cadet karts. This is a very fun class that uses a full size kart, along with a 125cc 2-Stroke TaG restricted engines . At the club level, 4-cycle classes such as LO206 & Jr II Briggs are also offered for entry level drivers and tight budgets. Again check with your local organization.
15 years and older Senior: Similar to the Junior class but without restrictors. There are 2 stroke classes like a TaG , 4-cycle classes like the Briggs LO206 and World Formula, and Shifter kart engines like the Honda CR125 or ICC. Minimum weight requirements are higher and so are speeds.
32 years and older Masters: The masters classes have some of the best turn outs and can be the most exciting to watch. A higher weight minimum is used along with age, so heavier drivers can be competitive. Same motor applications as the senior karts.
45 years and older Super Master: This is a new class that was just started. We predict this class may grow. Will not be offered at every organization.
Karts: New, used, or rent
Kart Stand: with wheels
Tire Gauge: 0-30psi
Air Compressor or Tank
Tools: May vary depending on chassis and engine. But most chassis are made in Europe and use metric sizing. Hex wrenches, metric sockets, soft blow hammer, basic screwdriver set, drill, spring puller, impact driver, torque wrench, and a catch pan.
Chain Lube and Oil
Various Sprockets:You can ask your track or local shop what sizes are most commonly used
Miscellaneous nuts and bolts: We offer basic hardware kits
Helmet: We don t recommend used helmets (impact damage does not always show) A great choice for a new, safe, affordable helmet would be Zamp. Make sure to check the organization in which you race for the rating requirements.
Race Suit: Kart specific race suit. Some clubs will allow heavy long pants and an abrasive resistant jacket.
Gloves: kart specific, abrasive resistant, or leather road racing gloves.
Shoes: High top wrestling shoes will work at some clubs but we recommend kart specific shoes.
Neck Protection: We carry many styles to fit any budget
Rib Protector: Not required in adults but highly recommended. The most common injury in kart racing is a cracked rib. Cracked Ribs can occur just from the g-forces, not just an accident. We carry many styles to fit your budget.
Buying Used Karts
As a kart shop assisting many customers with used karts we want to advise you to be very careful when buying one. Buying a used kart may seem affordable at first but fixing it up can be very expensive. Keep in mind that most racing organizations have class rules and you want to make sure what your buying is legal. As technology changes so do motors and specs. Brakes also require maintenance even while not in use (brake fluid, brake seals, etc.)do wear. Whether you buy used or new we want to assist you in your karting venture. We don't want the new karter to get frustrated and give up before they even start.