Go-Kart 101 – Karting Basics From Childhood to Adulthood

Go-Kart 101

Drivers, start your engines!

Are these the words you long to hear as a pro-go-kart racer?

You’re not alone. Plenty of people around the world love the thrill of kart racing. There’s a good reason go-kart tracks always have lines of customers ready to drive.

Whether you are a very young kart racer or you’ve been on the circuit, this article can help. In this article, we aim to discuss the different courses you need.

Understanding the right course of study will help you get better and better. With enough practice, you may even be able to race professionally.

So, let’s get our helmets on and buckle up.

What Courses Are There?

In this section, we will talk about the courses available to people who want to learn karting.

There are courses for most ages, and karting is a safe and fun activity for families to enjoy.

Karting Basics

Driven Raceway of Rohnert Park, California, offers a course that everybody should take as they go about their journey.

It is a driver training course and will teach you the basics. Your local track will probably have their version of this course.

In it, you essentially learn how to race like a pro. At Driven Raceway, they even make use of radios to coach you. You can learn as you practice. This will help you fix your errors right away.

In their course, you will learn:

  • How to Follow Racing Lines and Why They Matter
  • How the Kart Operates
  • The Physics Behind Racing
  • How to find the Tire Edge
  • What Rolling Speed is
  • How to Corner/Finding the Apex
  • Braking Strategy and Techniques
  • How to Become a Better Driver/Improve Your Lap Time

The racetrack portion of this course entails the following:

  • Session 1: 10 Laps to Critique Your Performance
  • Walk Track with Instructor, Visualization of Classroom Concepts/Analysis of Performance
  • Driving Skill Evaluation with Radios and Instructor-10 Laps
  • Lead and Follow with Instructor, 14 Laps
  • The instructor demonstrates skills to you
  • Final Session: Applying all you have learned in a real race situation for 14 Laps

This is an excellent course for racers of all ages. It will help you see where you need more work. It will also help you perfect your technique.

Kart Safety

A course in basic Kart safety will be another one you will need to take regardless of your age. It will keep you safe. Karts get up to 70 MPH-real highway speed, so safety is always first.

You should know that karting is super safe and lots of fun. Kids and adults love them. The frames on a good kart are usually made of steel and are sturdy, designed for wear and tear.

Many karts make use of gasoline, or in the current times, battery packs. Batteries may make them a bit heftier, but it’s better for the overall cost and the planet. You may also use them indoors if battery powered.

A heavier kart is better, too. It is less likely to tip over when driving. Tips are not anything you will need to worry about when you drive safely. However, a great safety course will teach you what to do if it happens.

Karts also features a low center of gravity. They are easy to handle but still need to be respected. That’s just another reason an excellent safety course is necessary for you.

Here are some crucial features you will learn during your time in a Kart Safety course:

  • Kart wheelbases should not exceed 50 inches or 127 cm.
  • Kart weight should not exceed 100 kg or 220 lbs.
  • The Chassis of a kart should not have temporary fittings or parts.
  • Wheel protection is vital for amateur racing circuits.
  • Drivers must always wear gloves, helmets, and other protective clothing and gear.
  • Drivers must always wear a seat belt. Seat belts must be in good condition.
  • The Chassis may not exceed 201 cm or 82 inches.

I recommend you read the following articles that are safety-related:

Other Things You Will Learn

For you, younger drivers, and maybe the adults, you will learn about some safety features. These are things like the remote emergency switch or speed control.

Young drivers may lose control of their kart and veer away from the track. All drivers can get to higher than recommended speed rates. If this is the case, drivers should know how to stop the kart.

Your course may teach you how to operate these features, so you know when to “pull the plug” in case of an emergency.  This is great for parents and instructors watching youngsters drive. They can stop the kart if things get too out of hand.

This will help you prevent injury and accidents.

Age-Related Courses

In this portion, we will cover courses that you can take at different ages. Karting is great fun for everybody. There are certain age and height requirements to be met.

Karting at different ages is essential. You can learn to control a bigger engine. You can hone your skills as you grow and learn more and more.

This will help in providing a safe time for everybody. Check with your local track to see what they are.

Ages 5 to 7

Most of the time, kart drivers can start at age 5 in racing. This is the youngest of all the age groups and goes to ages 5-7. You might see this listed as Kid Karts or Baby Karts.

You will find that smaller engines power these karts. You can expect a 50cc, 2- stroke engine. This is found on equipment like chain saws.

Many of these karts feature a Comer C50/51 2 cycle engine. You might find that your club uses a Honda GX35 or perhaps a GXH50 4 cycle engine.

If you plan on buying a kart for your child to practice with, find out the engine size before making a purchase. This will ensure your child is practicing with the correct equipment.

You may also want to verify the karts used at your track feature the safety mechanisms you want. For instance, you might ask the instructor if the karts feature a remote stop or throttle stop.

Be sure you find out how fast the karts go and if they are governed for younger racers. (A governor device will prevent a kart from going above a certain speed).

Ages 7 to 12

Your local track will probably name the classes. For instance, very young racers may be called Baby Karts, while kids in this group might be Cadets.

This is what Super Karts USA calls racers of this age group.

Your group name, if any, will differ. These classes feature more significant engines at a size of about 60cc. They may be eligible for higher speeds since these racers are older and have more control.

SKUSA divides Cadets into two groups. MicroSwift is for racers aged 7-9. Mini Swift is ages 9-13. They may use Mini Swift engines on their karts.

Your karts will vary with your track-this is just one example.

Ages 12 to15

Junior class is a very competitive place, and youngsters learn the fundamentals of good sportsmanship while racing. They use a full-size kart, too!

A sample engine size might be a 125cc two-stroke type. At this age, you can take some other fun classes.

Ages 15 and Up

Nothing is off-limits now! You can take all sorts of fun karting classes that we will talk about next. Speeds are super high-they may go above 70 MPH in some cases!

Skill Courses

This section will go over some other courses you can take once you are old enough! These are based on engine types. Be sure to make sure there are lots of other people in the class-it’s more competitive.

Touch and Go (TaG)-This is a class that Junior level and up will enjoy. You might use a 125cc two-stroke engine. These are about 27 to 30 HP.

They are fun to use. This course is at a moderate cost in most areas.

World Formula-Your local course may have a different name for this course. You make use of a 212cc 4-cycle engine. These are about 18 HP in power.

This is usually an affordable class.

The LO206-This course features a sealed engine. The cost is pretty low. It’s great for beginners, too-speeds are not so high.

Shifters-This is no course for beginners! Even experienced racers are asked to start in a single-speed class before trying this. These karts can get up to 80 MPH or 115 MPH, depending on the track!

You have to be able to shift skillfully and quickly. These engines are not cheap, and so the course will be expensive also. However, it is TONS of fun.


Don’t think twice about signing up for Kart classes. It’s heaps of fun, provided you take it seriously and learn karting basics.

Enjoy the competition that comes with go-karting!

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