Karting, a sport for all
It’s pretty well-known that, barring a few exceptions, most of today’s top professional racing drivers all started their careers in karting. But what isn’t so well-known is that karting is a sport for all and there’s nothing to stop you competing week in, week out.
How does Karting work?
Think of Karting as scaled down circuit racing, for as well as the vehicles being smaller the circuits are too; most karting is ‘short circuit’, although more powerful Superkarts (or Long Circuit Karts) do run on full-size race tracks.
The principle is the same as for circuit racing; karts go wheel-to-wheel and the winner is the first to reach the chequered flag, which falls after the designated number of laps is completed.
Karting is split into four main categories: Cadet, Junior, Senior and Gearbox. To find out which is the one for you, get in touch with your local club.
Most Kart events comprise practice sessions, qualifying, heats and one or two ‘finals’.
How do I start?
Here is an overview of the Motorsport UK Karting Pathway.
The first step is to head to your nearest National Karting Association approved kart track, then once you are competitive and you feel ready for the next step, register for the British Indoor Karting Championship with TeamSport which provides the most accessible and cost-effective way of competing for a national title there has ever been. The series is open to children and adults alike.
The next step before buying your own kart and running it yourself is to try outdoor karting at your nearest NKA approved outdoor venue where you can drive faster equipment on bigger outdoor tracks, many of these tracks run outdoor leagues or Championships which are ideal to improve your race craft. Drivers aged 14 or over can then opt to start competing with Club100, It’s a properly structured and professionally-run championship across the country, but it’s run to an arrive-and-drive format, which means costs are kept to a minimum and competitors don’t need to own a kart or even any specialist equipment. The club uses two-stroke race karts, too, which are a world apart from the four-stroke corporate machines you might have driven before now.
Club 100 also run a British Universities Kart Championship which is a nationwide arrive-and-drive karting championship for anyone in full-time education at university.
There is a British Schools Karting Championship which is a nationwide arrive-and-drive karting championship for anyone aged 13 to 18 in full-time education at either school or college.
If you have decided to buy a kart and race at Motorsport UK club events, you’ll need a licence. The first thing to do it buy the Motorsport UK ‘Go Karting’ Starter Pack, which costs £59 and includes the cost of your first karting licence. You can purchase this from shop.motorsportuk.org. Next, you’ll need to find your nearest kart track that’s a member of the Association of Racing Kart Schools (ARKS).
If you want to compete in karting, go to some meetings and chat with the competitors. Most of them will be happy to talk but choose your moment; the waiting (holding) area pre-qualifying or pre-race is not the best timing to ask questions.
Once you have passed your ARKS test you can then apply for your Kart Inter-Club Competition Licence. If you are under 18 years old one of your parents must also apply for an Entrant Kart PG Licence. At this point, you can start racing at clubs up and down the UK Or you can also join series like DRS (Daniel Ricciardo Series) where the equipment is tightly controlled to keep costs down. The Daniel Ricciardo Series is a Motorsport UK Club backed personally by F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo himself! The Daniel Ricciardo Series is a fantastic next step after the British Indoor Karting Championship with Teamsport or arrive and drive outdoor racing with Club 100.
You can try out and take part in the Daniel Ricciardo Young driver Academy without purchasing a kart and use it to see if owner-driver racing is for you and experience and receive some driver coaching too. You can also take your ARKS driving test at the same time during the Daniel Ricciardo Young driver Academy and have your driving evaluated.
The Daniel Ricciardo Series is an owner-driver series ( you own and run your own kart) with all drivers using the same type of DRS Ricciardo karts, so it is lower cost and the performance is more equal with the emphasis being more on a drivers ability and not the size of their racing budget! Why not take a look – https://youtu.be/CqOv06DLgsQ
What kind of kart do I need?
Karts are small, purpose-built racing machines with rigid frames and no suspension. There are different Karts for different classes, so you need to choose your class first. Most karts are broadly similar, with the main differences being the size, engine, tyres and whether or not it has a gearbox.
If you want to compete on long circuits you will need a Superkart, which has a gearbox, clutch and aerodynamic bodywork, and is significantly faster than a normal kart.
What equipment do I need?
You’ll need Motorsport UK-compliant safety items such as helmet, race suit, gloves and boots. You would also be wise to buy a rib protector, which isn’t mandatory but will save you from some post-race aches and pains.
Where can I find technical regulations for Karting?
General technical regulations can be found in Section U of the Motorsport UK Yearbook. For technical regulations specific to a particular class, please refer to the class regulations in the Motorsport UK Kart Race Yearbook. Specific event or Championship regulations are found in Supplementary Regulations (SRs) made available by the organiser.
What personal protective equipment do I need to wear?
As a minimum, you will need to wear a helmet to an approved standard and overalls that are CIK-homologated or a leather suit in accordance with technical regulations in Section U of the Motorsport UK Yearbook. For long circuit karting, a leather suit is mandatory.
How old do you need to be to start Karting?
Competitive racing can start as early as the 6th birthday in the Bambino class. Details of age groups for individual classes can be found in the Motorsport UK Kart Race Yearbook.
Where can I find the individual Class Regulations?
Where can I find the individual Class Regulations?
Regulations for most classes can be found in the Motorsport UK Kart Race Yearbook.