Go-kart Racing For Kids: How To Start?

This comprehensive guide will provide valuable information and insights to help you navigate the exciting realm of go-kart racing for kids. Whether your child is a budding motorsport enthusiast or loves the idea of racing, go-karting can be a fantastic activity to enjoy together.

What is Kid Karts and how to start kid karting?

Kid karts are small racing karts explicitly designed for children aged 5 to 7. These karts feature small 2-stroke or 4-stroke engines with approximately 2 horsepower, allowing 30 to 40 mph speeds. Kid karts usually race on asphalt road courses, although some venues organize races on dirt ovals.

Visit Your Local Track

To embark on your child’s go-karting journey, visit your local track. Familiarize yourself with the type of karts used there and consider purchasing a similar style for your child. This approach offers several advantages, including access to advice from experienced families, availability of spare parts, and fair competition.

Remember, your first kart must not be perfect or extensively researched. Local tracks provide a supportive environment where you and your child can learn and grow together.

Styles/Types of Karts and Engines

Kid karts have two primary styles: “full body” or “CIK” karts:

  • Full-body karts have plastic bodies around the entire kart and are often found at tracks running 4-stroke engine classes or oval tracks.
  • CIK karts, on the other hand, feature plastic pods and bumpers commonly used in sprint karting on road courses. It’s crucial to align your kart style with the predominant type at your local track for compatibility and support.

Regarding engines, the most common options for kid karts are the Comer C50/C51, Honda GX50, and Briggs LO206. The Comer C50 is a 2-cycle 50cc engine widely used in influential organizations like WKA and Kid Kart Nationals.

The Honda GX50 is a small 4-cycle 50cc engine gaining popularity in certain regions. At the same time, the Briggs LO206 is a sealed 4-cycle engine that promotes cost-effective karting. Ensure you use the same engine type as others at your track for a level playing field.

Getting Your Child in a Kart

Before investing in a kart, it’s crucial to gauge your child’s interest. Visit your local track and arrange for your child to experience karting firsthand safely.

Check if your child can handle the sound and ensure they enjoy the activity. Safety is paramount, so ensure proper safety equipment and supervision are provided during these initial karting experiences.

Purchasing a Kart: New vs. Used

For your child’s first kart, we recommend buying a used one. Kids tend to be rough on their equipment, and a used kart allows for adjustments and repairs without significant financial strain. Invest in a reliable engine and make necessary adjustments, such as replacing the throttle cable or brake pads.

Budget around $500 to $1,000 for a used kart, plus additional engine, parts, and equipment expenses. A well-maintained used kart can last for years, providing ample opportunities for your child to enjoy karting.

Moving Beyond the Beginner Stage

Consider upgrading to a newer or new kart once your child becomes more proficient and consistently achieves good lap times. If your track has dealers with stocked parts, purchasing the same kart brand is advantageous for accessibility and support.

If a local dealer is unavailable, opt for the most popular brand at your track to facilitate setup sharing and spare parts availability. Online dealers can also provide equipment, technical support, and parts for a broader geographic region.

Going Regional and National Racing

If you decide to venture beyond your local area and participate in regional or national racing, be aware that expenses can increase significantly. Many families spend exorbitant amounts trying to buy success, which is unnecessary.

Focus on strategically investing in areas that truly impact performance, such as reducing rotating mass in the rear axle or utilizing engines built by reputable builders. Remember that driver skill and technique are vital in racing success, and money alone cannot guarantee victory.

What is the youngest age for go-kart racing?

The youngest age for go-kart racing varies depending on the track and country regulations. Children can start participating in the Bambino category between 6 and 8 in most tracks.

However, in some countries, kids as young as 5 or even 4 years old can race as Bambinos. The Bambino category does not have different classes based on age since all kids are races with identical karts and engines.

Is go-karting safe for kids?

Yes, go-karting is generally safe for kids. The karts children use have low power and speed, which reduces the risk of injury. The trouble is even lower with suitable safety precautions, such as wearing proper safety gear and ensuring a supervised and controlled environment. Parents may have understandable concerns, but go-karting is a safe activity for children.

Is go-karting an expensive hobby?

While go-karting can be a thrilling and enjoyable hobby, it does come with costs. The expenses associated with go-karting can vary depending on the level of involvement. The price of a go-kart itself can range from as low as $1,000 to over $10,000. You can expect to spend around $3,000 to $5,000 for a club-level season.

At the same time, regional and national championships can be much more expensive, often exceeding $30,000 to $40,000. It’s important to note that go-karting is a costly sport, and families should consider their budget before committing to the hobby.

Go-kart racing offers children a thrilling and rewarding experience, fostering teamwork and unforgettable family moments. Starting at a young age provides a solid foundation for future motorsport endeavors.

While go-karting for kids can be expensive, beginning with a used kart and gradually progressing can help manage costs. Remember to prioritize safety, enjoy the journey, and nurture your child’s passion for racing. The memories created through go-kart racing are priceless, making it an unusual activity for family bonding and pursuing dreams.

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