Karting, a sport for all

The Sport

Karting

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 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 and no prior experience in karting is necessary. www.team-sport.co.uk/go-kart-racing-events/bikc-2020

The next step before buying your own kart and running it yourself is competing with Club100 (www.club100.co.uk). 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.

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.

Once you’ve 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.

What kind of kart do I need?

Karts are small, purpose-built racing vehicles 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 Motosrsport 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 8th birthday in the Cadet class. Younger drivers who are aged 6 or 7 years can participate in 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.