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Karting: Motorsport For The Masses


Karting is best described as an open-wheel sport that involves karts. Depending on the nature of the design, the vehicles can either be karts, go-karts, and shifters. Given the chosen vehicle, the sport involves racing on circuits that have been scaled down. The understanding is that karting creates the foundation for developing into much more competitive and larger sports. When placed in the context of the public, the karts are often limited to 16mph. Such safe speeds are intended to protect the public and competitors from the risk of injury in the event of a collision.


Karting has its history located in Southern California. It was started in the year 1956. It is widely acknowledged that Art Ingles came up with the original idea of karting. Upon its inception, karting gained the favor of most people in the region. With time, karting became a national phenomenon.

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Image credit: Berliner K-Wagen-Rennen” by Bundesarchiv, Bild

The development of karting has been attributed to the actions of both McCulloh and Go Kart Manufacturing. The former designed and built the engines that were used on the karts. While the latter, built the body and the first version of the engines. At first, the karts primarily used chainsaw 2-stroke engines. However, with time motorcycle engines were later adapted for these race cars. The beginning of the 1960s ushered in the building of dedicated engines that were especially designed for the karts.


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Given the nature of the sport, the karts are built using steel tubing. There are no provisions for incorporating suspensions into the car. Therefore, the steel tubing structure has to be both flexible and strong enough to survive tough corners.

Different kinds of chassis are used for different weather conditions. Chassis used in wet conditions will not work effectively for dry conditions. For wet conditions, a flexible chassis is often employed in order to ensure that the kart is able to accommodate the effects of wet roads. The ideal situation is when the chassis is able to accommodate the bends and slides. On the other hand, when in dry conditions, a much stiffer chassis is preferred. In such conditions, the driver needs that kart to have a high degree of traction.

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The braking system is located in the rear end of the car. However, in some situations, a front mounted system is preferred, which in most cases is used with shifter karts. In some designs, the shifter class often accommodates two breaking systems, one in the front and the other in the back. In this way, depending on the bias, shifts between the front and back can be implemented.


With regard to the engine capacities, there is the 4-stroke option and the 2-stroke option. For go-karts, there is the alternative of the 4-stroke engines and the electric motors. 

Racing categories

International Racing

The international championships are KF1, the KF2, KF3, KZ1 and the KZ2. The aforementioned classes are the highest levels of karting.

National Racing

Dirt oval classes are the most common classes in the U.S.

Racing Licenses

In order to qualify to race for karting, an individual needs to have a license. Depending on the region, either clubs or associations can provide the licenses. There are some situations where an insurance coverage is necessary. However, this is not always the case. Various countries have different requirements for licensing. In some situations, a capability tests is required.

Driver equipment

Driver safety is critical in karting. There are various equipments that are needed are those that have been perceived as enhancing the safety of the drivers. Full-face helmets, driving suits, gloves, and boots are required.


Karting is a low cost undertaking. The only cost-intensive measure has to do with setting up the facilities for competing. However, aside from this, the other associated costs are quite low budget. The costs of acquiring a license are quite low. 


The demand for karting will be perpetuated well into the future. The low costs associated with the sporting experience are expected to further motivate additional demand for the sport from racers and spectators.

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