Kart Racing – An Economic Motorsport

Kart racing is the kind of racing which is generally accepted as the most economic form of motorsport in the world. It can be performed by almost anybody as a free-time activity, and as a motorsport in itself, it is one of the sports regulated by CIK anyone from the age of 8 onward can be licensed for racing motor sports.

Karting is commonly perceived as the stepping stone to the higher and more expensive ranks of motorsports. Karts are usually raced on scaled-down circuits. Karting or Kart racing is a variant of open-wheel motor sport with small, open, four-wheeled vehicles called karts, go-karts, or gearbox/shifter karts depending on the design.

Karts vary widely in speed and some other specifications. Super karts can reach speeds exceeding 160 miles per hour (260 km/h), while go-karts intended for the general public in amusement parks may be limited to speeds of no more than 15 miles per hour (24 km/h).

Go Kart Manufacturing Co was the first kart manufacturer. Similarly McCulloch was the first company, in 1959, to produce engines for karts. The first kart engine was an adapted chainsaw 2-stroke engine. Motorcycle engines were also adapted for kart use late in the 60s, before dedicated manufacturers, especially in Italy (IAME), started to build engines for the racing motor sports.

Karts lacks differential which means that one rear tire must slide while cornering. But this feature was also achieved by designing the chassis so that the inside rear tire which allows the tire to lose its grip and lift off the ground completely.

Similarly the stiffness of the chassis enables different handling characteristics for different scenarios. Traditionally, for dry environments a stiffer chassis is preferable but in wet or other poor conditions, a more flexible chassis may work better. The proper chassis allow for stiffening bars at the rear, front and side to be added or removed according to race conditions.

The most important thing about Karting that it’s braking is achieved by using a disc brake on the rear axle. As front disc brakes are becoming popular but certain classes do not allow them. Power is transmitted from the engine to the rear axle by way of a chain. Both engine and axle sprockets are removable; their ratio has to be adapted according to track configuration in order to get the most from the engine.

Previously karts were direct drive only in its early days but the inconvenience of that setup soon led to the centrifugal clutch for the club level classes. Dry centrifugal clutches are now used in many categories and have become the norm as the top international classes have switched to 125 cc clutched engines as of January 2007.

Let’s talk about KF1 kart; KF1 karts are with a 125cc 2-stroke engine with an overall weight including the driver of more or less 150 kilograms. It has a top speed of 85m per hour. Interestingly, KF1 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 115 miles per hour on long circuits.

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