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Racing Go-karts

Racing Go-karts

Art Ingels is accepted as the father of go-karts. He was a race car builder, and built the first kart in Southern California in 1956. Today, go-karts have rapidly spread to other countries, and currently has a large following in Europe and Asia also.
Ranjan Shandilya
Would you believe if I told you that the legendary Michael Schumacher started this career as a Go-kart racer? Not only him, many famous racers had to start of their career racing go-karts. It is an excellent way to adapt to the basics of racing, and learn the basic principles which can be applied to full motorsport races later on. The high costs involved in motorsport is beyond the reach of the common man. Out of all the racing sports present today, the most economic motorsports activity available is racing go-karts, which lets a number of people compete together. It is available for both children and adults, and has fewer regulations when compared to other racing events. No doubt, this sport is cheaper when compared to other racing sporting events, but even then, the cost can run into a couple of thousand dollars.

Go-karts are also known as 'Go Carts', and the maximum speed that these machines can attain depends on a lot of factors, the main being the design of the vehicle and the engine that it is equipped with. If a machine is equipped with a 4-stroke engine like those made by Briggs and Stratton, then it can attain a maximum speed of about 50 mph only. Compared to these, a 2-stroke engines can provide much faster speeds, and can go at 100 mph. However, the fastest machines are considered to be the shifter karts which typically have a very powerful 2-stroke engine along with 6-speed transmissions which are manual. These machines can attain a speed of 160 mph. As they weigh only about 250 pounds, they accelerate very quickly. When equipped with a powerful 2-stroke engine that can pump out 50 horse power or more, the power to weight ratio is excellent. The tires used are much smaller as compared to a normal car, and are made using magnesium alloy and aluminum. Special solvents are used to soften the tire and increase grip, but these solvents are banned by many racing organizations.

Types of Races
The typical racing formats are:
  • Sprint: These races take place on dedicated go kart circuits which range from a quarter mile to a mile. This format consists of a number of short duration races usually defined by a number of laps along with a number of point scoring calculations to decide the overall winner.
  • Endurance: These type of race last for extended periods of time, ranging from 30 minutes to 24 hours. Consistency, pit strategy and reliability are given more importance than speed. They are popularly known as 'Eudora' and run continuous with no pit stops.
  • Speedway: These races take place on clay or asphalt tracks which are normally quarter of a mile long. The tracks normally consist of two straight and four left corner turns and are oval in shape.
Manufacturers of Go-karts

The prominent manufacturers of go-karts are Margay, Emmick, Trackmagic, and Coyote. The engines for these machines are built by Vortes, Komet, Comer, Parilla and Yamaha. Briggs and Stratton specialize in 4 stroke engines. Earlier, these machines were fitted with motorcycle engines, but these days, engines built for go-karts specifically only are used.

Go-kart Organizations
One of the organizations involved in racing is the World Karting Association (WKA). Some of the other prominent organizations are the International Kart Federation (IKF), Karters of America Racing Triad (KART), and Touch and Go USA (TAG USA).

If you are of faint heart, then go-karts are not meant for you. But, if you have adrenaline pumping through every cell in your body, then you will enjoy this sport to the fullest.