Friday, May 28, 2010

Karts and Kart Racing

John Marine | 5/28/2010 11:24:00 PM | | |
(UPDATED: May 27, 2012)

At their very core, karts are the most basic pure race cars. These machines are among some of the most fun (and sometimes dangerous) machines to drive. Those who ride in karts for fun just love the thrill of driving these machines around a certain neighborhood or on some makeshift tracks. Kart racing can be enjoyable ranging from childhood to far into adulthood. The thrill of kart racing is incredible and enjoyable. Those who just want some thrills mostly do go-kart racing at family fun centers. Those who really take karting more seriously compete in various leagues ranging from local racing leagues to major championship karting series. Where do most kart racers usually anticipate going in the future? Many aspire for racing in major series such as NASCAR, the IndyCar Series, the American Le Mans Series, or that kind of racing you might have heard of before- Formula 1. A variety of races and race series help to enhance the profile of kart racing.

This blog entry concerns kart racing. It may be updated based on how much traffic I can get to this blog or if I simply wanted to add some extra content.


MAY 27 2012 - made several updates (useful old posts need new life)

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--- Karts and Kart Racing in General ---

The original premise of this thread is on kart racing, but I've decided just to talk about karts in general. Here are some random pictures to set the mood:

Australia kart
^ from: - a racing kart in Australia.

Tony Kart
^ from: - Tony Kart is one of the best kart racing teams in the world. They also make some exceptional racing karts.

^ from: - Superkarts can lay down laps at or past the time of much larger, much expensive, much advanced race cars. This even with no suspension!

The appeal of kart racing comes in racing something so low to the ground but pretty fast for its size. Many people see go-karts as slow machines that aren't as fun as being in big cars. Some others just see go-karts as being only good for charity events and family fun centers... and not much else. However, considering how many racers started out in karts, you begin to appreciate just what kart racing can do in the development of a driver and his/her racing career. So kart racing can be quite a big deal. It is something you do not want to sell short under any circumstances.

Now that you have a look at karts, let's continue on with karting.

--- Basic Thoughts on Karts and Karting ---

Nothing can be more enjoyable than driving or racing a kart. I know having done some karting at a family fun center (no longer with us) and at a proper indoor kart track. The family fun center deal was fun. It was back in 1997 or so as I raced around this course shaped like a capital "G." I felt like I was flying on such a small course! That's the beauty of karting- driving fast without needing a license. I did about two different sessions of racing on this course in that one night. Today, that course is now just a big parking lot for some business.

Nothing was as exciting as doing kart racing at a place once known as Davy Jones Kartzone. This was a facility based near Ferrari of Houston. I use the past tense because this track is also no longer operational. The appeal of this place was in how this track was so adaptable for both adults and kids. It was an indoor track that had some electronic limiters to regulate speeds. The track was exceptional! It was a tough track with some tough racing. I mostly raced against my brother and his friends, one of those friends would later become my sister-in-law.

For the one looking to go up the motorsports ladder, kart racing is usually the premier outlet of future racing talent. For the recreational kart driver, karts provide the thrill of going full speed (in karting terms) on a set track. It's a fun way to get around whether you have a driver's license or not (I don't have one). A number of cities have a lot of different kart courses ranging from family fun centers to dedicated kart tracks. Kart tracks can be held at family fun centers, indoor kart tracks, temporary kart courses (such as a custom-built race course around city streets or in parking lots), and even kart courses within major race tracks. There are also proper kart tracks made for racing. For faster karts, the full track is open for kart competition.

--- Types of Karts and Racing Karts ---

Types of karts in pictures.

Recreational Karts.

two-seat recreational kart
^ from: - a two-seater recreational kart.

Recreational karts are made for just that- recreation. They weren't meant to be machines to really drive or race hard. These are usually enjoyed by children. Besides children, there are mostly recreational karts at various kart facilities. Most of them probably have six or 12 horsepower engines. Some recreational karts have off-road tires for which to enjoy some recreational off-roading.

Racing Karts.

racing kart
^ from: - a kart made for racing.
racing shifter kart
^ from: - Shifter karts can literally be a handful to race. You'll have to keep the kart in its paces while also making timely shifts.

The majority of this blog entry has been about racing karts. A number of these karts either have or don't have their own transmissions. Shifter karts are capable of higher speeds. As you can imagine, trying to keep a kart on the track while also making timely shifts can be pretty challenging. Some racing karts have about 80cc engines, but you may see some powerful ones with 125cc engines. Some of these racing karts even come with digital readouts on the steering wheel similar to what you might see in most advanced race cars.

Speedway Karts.

^ from: - one variety of speedway karts, karts specifically made and tuned for racing on short ovals.
Much like you have flat track ovals for motorcycles on short ovals, there are karts specifically made for racing on short ovals. These can be tarmac or non-tarmac ovals these karts race on. Dirt tires for karts are usually installed to handle dirt roads.


superkart MS Kart
^ from: - a superkart made by Czech kart maker, MS Kart. Superkarts have aerodynamic bodywork and are insanely fast.

Superkarts are the ultimate karts. These are karts that have aerodynamic bodywork and can lay down lap times as easily (and I use this word loosely) as some elite race cars. I mostly know superkarts for having 250cc engines, but I've heard of some that have 125cc engines. According to Road and Track Magazine, Eddie Lawson (4-time 500cc World Champion) lapped Laguna Seca in superkart at 1:23.875 about five or six years ago. Let's compare this with some other times:

Machine Lap Time
Eddie Lawson in a 250cc superkart 1:23.875
Formula Mazda 1:25.069
480hp ALMS GT2 Ferrari F430 GT 1:23.611
250cc Honda motoGP Motorcycle 1:22.823
Audi R8 LMP Race Car 1:15.392
2007 Panoz DP-01 with Sebastien Bourdais 1:05.880 (lap record)
^ (all times courtesy of

Dirt Oval Racing Karts.

dirt oval karting
^ from: - a common saying is that dirt is for racing. Well, here's some kart racing on dirt.

If you love your kart racing on dirt, you have some options. The least of which includes racing on some dirt ovals and some other dirt tracks. This is where you see karts equipped with dirt tires racing on dirt ovals.

Recreational Karting.

recreational karting
^ from: - Karting is a great destination for many people. For many others, there are always family fun centers with kart tracks, such as thie Andretti Indoor Karting and Games facility in Alpharetta, Georgia, USA. And yes- THE Andretti family has their name lent to this place.

So you have an idea as to how fast they can go compared to some more capable machines.

--- Kart Racing Videos ---

You've done enough reading. Now, it's all about seeing the pros go to work! Here are a few YouTube videos for your enjoyment:

Shifter kart racing:

Superkart racing (from 1990):

Speedway Karts:

Just for Fun:

--- Kart Racing Resources ---

(added: April 10, 2011)
I want to thank all of my readers for finding this blog post! I want to thank you by adding this section. The resources you will find here are all items to help you to begin or maintain your kart racing. I hope to add more resources in the future.

--- Resources: Kart Manufacturers ---
If you are looking to shop for karts from varying kart makers, I can help you here. Feel free to visit these manufacturers to find a kart from a manufacturer. Click on the headings to each manufacturer to visit their official websites and to perhaps build a kart for you to order.

Shockwave Karting.

Shockwave Karting is an American maker of various kart chassis and other products for kart racers. There are dealers for Shockwave Karting across the United States, in Canada, and even a dealer in New Zealand. Learn more about Shockwave's racing team from their website as well.


TONY KART is an Italian kart manufacturer with a multitude of success in kart racing. The familiar white color with green and red accents are iconic and distinctive of TONY KART. You can shop for both kart chassis

Kosmic Racing Kart.

Kosmic Racing Kart is yet another kart manufacturer with a good deal of experience. Their karts are noted color-wise by their white colors with navy blue and magenta accents. They offer racing karts for a variety of applications. You can also learn more about the Kosmic Kart Racing team by visiting their website.

FA Kart.

FA Kart is noted with their sky blue karts with red and yellow accents. FA Kart offers chasses, spare parts, and race wear.

Exprit Racing Kart.

Exprit Racing Team is a brand launched by TONY KART in 2009. No karts are offered for sale, but you can see some of their karts offered from this Italian make by visiting their website.

Zip Kart.

Zip Kart is a British maker of kart chasses. Their experience and heritage goes for over 40 years. They have a variety of karts and kart teams in a variety of different classes of road racing karts. Zip Kart has been responsible for being the kart manufacturer that helped launch the careers of championship-winning races. Drivers that have raced with Zip Karts include the likes of Lewis Hamilton, David Coulthard, and Martin Hines among others. From their website, you can check out their karts, purchase parts and accessories, racing gear, tires, and more. You can actually order karts from their website (currency in British pounds oe in Euros)

--- Resources: Kart Dealers ---
These are kart dealers you can visit to shop for or learn more about kart chassis.


The American branch to Original Tony Kart.

Find a racing kart online through this site.

Comet Kart Sales.

Comet Kart Sales.

--- Resources: Kart Parts ---
Things like engines and spare parts are offered here.

Vortex Engines.

Vortek Engines make kart engines. You can learn mor eabout the Rok Cup Championships by visiting

BRP Rotax - New Age Karting.

This is the BRP Rotax link for kart engines. Power your kart proper with their engines.

(More material may be added in future edits.)

I salute all of you kart racers out there and fans of karts. I had initially planned on showing you some stuff on Amazon to offer kart resources to you, but I can't find enough to help compliment this blog entry. So instead, I'll end it here. However, I may edit this blog entry to include more material. This may even depend on how much traffic I get for this blog entry.

Thank you for reading!

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Kim said...

I love it ! i actually never did it but I really want to

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