March 2, 2022
Kart racing is the type of racing that is widely regarded as the most economical form of motorsport in the world. It can be done by almost anyone as a leisure activity, and as a motorsport in itself, it is one of the sports regulated by CIK. Anyone over the age of eight can obtain a licence to race in motorsports.
Karting is generally seen as a stepping stone to the higher and more expensive ranks of motorsport. Karts are usually driven on scaled-down circuits. Karting or kart racing is a variant of open-wheel motorsport involving small, open-four-wheel vehicles called karts, go-karts, or gearbox/shift karts, depending on the design.
Karts vary widely in speed and some other specs. Super karts can reach speeds of over 160 miles per hour (260 km/h), while go-karts intended for the general public in amusement parks may be limited to speeds of no more than 15 km/h.
Go Kart Manufacturing Co. was the first kart manufacturer. Similarly, in 1959, McCulloch was the first company to produce engines for karts. The first kart engine was a modified chainsaw 2-stroke engine. Motorcycle engines were also adapted for go-kart use in the late 1960s, before dedicated manufacturers, especially in Italy (IAME), started building engines for racing motorsports.
Karts lack a differential, which means that one rear tyre has to slide in corners. But this function was also achieved by designing the chassis in such a way that the inner rear tyre allows the tyre to lose its grip and come off the ground completely.
Likewise, the rigidity of the chassis allows for different handling characteristics for different scenarios. In dry environments, a stiffer chassis is traditionally preferred, but in wet or other poor conditions, a more flexible chassis may work better. With the right chassis, rear, front, and side reinforcement bars can be added or removed depending on race conditions.
The main thing about karting is that the braking is achieved by using a disc brake on the rear axle. Because front disc brakes are becoming increasingly popular, they are not allowed in certain classes. Power is transferred from the engine to the rear axle via a chain. Both motor and shaft gears are removable; their ratio must be adapted to the track configuration to get the most out of the engine.
Previously, karts were direct-drive only in the early days, but the inconvenience of that setup soon led to the centrifugal clutch for the club-level classes. Centrifugal dry clutches are now used in many categories and have become the norm as the international top classes moved to 125cc clutched engines from January 2007.
Let’s talk about the KF1 kart. KF1 karts have a 125cc 2-stroke engine with a total weight including the driver of about 150 kilograms. It has a top speed of 85 kilometres per hour. Interestingly, KF1 takes just over 3 seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph with a 125cc 6-speed shift kart, with a top speed of 115 miles per hour on long circuits.