Mostly known as “karting,” kart racing is a variant of open-wheel motorsport with minor, undeveloped, four-wheeled vehicles called karts, go-karts, or gearbox/shifter karts. Scaled-down circuits are areas especially dedicated for karting. Karting is commonly perceived as the stepping stone to higher and more expensive ranks of motorsports.
Karts vary extensively in speed and some of them can extent to speeds exceeding 260 kilometers per hour, while go-karts intended for the over-all community in entertainment parks may be limited to speeds of no more than 25 kilometers per hour.
A KF1 kart, with a 125 cc 2-stroke engine and an overall weight (including the driver) of 150 kilograms has a top speed of 140 kilometers per hour. Additionally, it takes a little more than 3 seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph with a 125 cc shifter kart (6 gears), with a top speed of 185 kilometers per hour (115 mph) on long circuits.
Shifter karts, which are karts with multiple gears, accelerate much quicker, however, have worse handling going into the corners because of added weight, and worse weight balance. However, they can quickly pull out of corners with their added power. Shifter karts also have four brakes, instead of the usual one, on the single speed karts. Lap times differ by about 2-5 seconds due to the shifter karts advantages.
Karting is dedicated to any age with different classes. 5-7 year olds can enter in karts that top out at about 30 MPH. 7-11 year olds go a step up with karts reaching speeds of about 80 kilometers per hour. 12-15 year olds are put in full sized karts with 100cc-125cc engines that will reach about 125 kilometers per hour. The next classes up all have about the same top speed with different variations to cope with added weight for older people. A single geared, 125cc, 2 stroke kart will do 0-60 in about 4-5 seconds and pull 3-4 g’s through the corners.
A Step Back in Time
The father of karting is Art Ingels. He built the first kart in Southern California in 1956. Afterwards, a lot of countries followed him.
American Go Kart Manufacturing Co. was Go Kart Manufacturing. The first company to produce engines for karts in 1959 was McCulloch. Later on, in 1960, motorcycles engines were adapted for kart use, before dedicated manufacturers in Italy started to build specialized engines for this purpose.