Ever been a spectator at a race, the clay dirt and engine odors, the sounds of cars racing around a circuit, the electric atmosphere of a close race? Or maybe you dream of being in the race, in your sprint kart accelerating ahead of the pack, hitting a curve and feeling your kart launch, knowing how to control a drift and play it smart in a race that will last at least an hour. For people who love fast cars and want to compete in racing one option is that of go kart racing.
In the 1950s pilots developed the go-kart from making a simple frame that could be propelled by a motorcycle engine. The first was made in Pasadena by an Art Ingels and then it became an international phenomena. Many professional racers start out with karting before moving on to something like formula one. Karting is a beginners level of racing using basic models for the chassis, engines with single cylinders and simple components.
Sprint karting is what you think of when you think of amusement parks, arcade palaces, go-kart tracks and recreational area that have go-karts. Karts built with a sleek but sturdy design that fly around short tracks of concrete or asphalt covering a distance of no more than a mile in total. There are different classes, just as there are in boxing. Those classes consider whether the engines is two or four cycle, the weight and age of the driver, specifications of the kart and brand of kart. Sprint Karting is a scaled down version of the professional go-karting you see, technological is down graded, tracks are shorter, drivers are not as experienced, and components are downgraded.
Another version of sprint racing is called enduro racing. It is basically a longer version of the sprint race hence the name enduro being short for endurance. These enduro karts are a step up from the sprint karts and races last for more than an hour. Enduro racing is done on oval and dirt tracks and is most popular in the Midwest. With a longer race there is more focus on karts that are durable and pit stops rather than just speed, like there is with sprint karting. Just as with the Olympics you get your speed, sprint races like the 100m and you have your long distance running like a marathon. The Enduro is the marathon of kart racing so you need some focus on taking care of the tires and the chassis.
Sprint cars that see success at the races have components that are made well especially the engine, the tires and the frame. Sprint cars need to be built well so that they can handle the racing and they need to go fast. You can have a flexible or non-flexible frame, most are made from steel. For better maneuvering you want a flexible frame, you get better control of the kart especially in the turns. Go-karts that are not being run by professionals do not have proper suspension or traction systems to handle the bumps and so frames will be under more duress. Sprint races tend to happen on all terrain as the tires on the karts often don’t have grooves.
For Honda Formula One go-karts that are souped up, engines of 900BHP is standard so that they are able to go as fast as 200 plus miles per hour. For a beginner that is a bit too much power – a 2 cycle engine is more the thing though there are 4 cycle engines too. 4 cycles are weaker, about 20HP, 2 cycles have 90HP and are found powering European scooters and mopeds. They run on electricity and gas. At the top of the go-kart engine market are companies like Kawasaki, Honda and Yamaha. They are known for being innovative too often making adjustments or creating something new.
Sprint karts have a basic transmission system that use gears to control the speed you go at. Called shifter karts they have clutches making the most of the power you have whether you are taking a curve or going straight. You can commonly find shifters on road courses that are larger and it is called road racing.
The great thing about sprint karting is that anyone can have a go, there are local tracks where you can rent a kart and have a laugh with friends, and then you can also get more involved if you want to with your own kart. Just make sure when you visit a track that you learn the rules there, sign insurance waivers and follow instructions and guidance given. Karting can be a fun thing you do for birthdays, something you do as a weekend treat, a hobby you tinker around with, or it can be something more serious. You can use it as an entrance into advanced karting using it to improve your hand eye co-ordination, your technological understanding and your judgment.