Though it may be hard to believe, Formula One race car driver Michael Schumacher got his start on the go kart racing circuit. Other pro driver’s who developed their racing skills by racing go karts include Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart.
They understood that gokarts are a low cost way to learn the basic principles of racing. While professional racing is usually out of the realm of possibility for most people, gokarts bring racing within reach of most everyone.
The maximum speed that gokarts can achieve depends on a lot of factors. The 2-stroke engines can provide speeds of 100 mph or more. The superkart is the fastest kart available and can attain speeds of 160 mph and it typically has a 2-stroke engine and comes equipped with a 6-speed transmission. Because karts typically only weigh about 250 pounds, they can accelerate very quickly and can pump out 50 horse power or more.
The typical racing formats are as follows:
Sprint: These races take place on dedicated go kart tracks which range from a quarter mile to a mile and are mostly small dirt ovals. Sprint Karts sit low with the engine positioned immediately on their left side. Sprint racing consists of a number of short-duration races with a set number of laps, along with point scoring calculations to decide the overall winner.
Endurance: These types of races last over extended periods of time, ranging anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours. In Endurance racing, pit strategy, consistency and reliability are more important than speed. This type of racing is also known as Enduro and it takes a while to move up the ranks to get to this level.
Speedway: These races take place on asphalt or clay kart tracks, which are typically a quarter of a mile long. The tracks are normally oval in shape and consist of two straight sections and four left corner turns.
Great versatility is a key feature in go kart racing. Gokarts in many different classes can run on both pavement and dirt and on several different sizes of ovals, as well as on road courses at the national track level.
It is thrilling, but it can also be dangerous racing. Imagine running at a high rate of speed with your body just a few inches off of the track. Of course safety is not neglected. Gloves, jackets and approved helmets are required.
In addition, with the caged karts, seatbelts and arm restraints are mandatory. Go kart frames are built of steel, and the body is made of fiberglass. They have a high-tech braking system that uses a set of rear disc brakes, and they feature a super-responsive, straight-steering system.
In just a short span of time, gokarts have evolved from homemade, backyard tinker toys to modern racing machinery. Go kart racing lets anyone from five to seventy-five experience the adrenaline-pumping thrill of competition, while having the time of their lives. Racing karts not only helps a beginning driver get a feel for the road, it teaches a person discipline and control.
By geralt from Pixabay