Go Kart Racing Classes a Beginner’s Guide for All Racer

The article emphasizes the different classes Go Kart Motorsports represents, giving the reader the overall guidelines when entering the sports. Providing the formats for racing according to the World Karting Association (WKA).

A variety of classes are introduced defined by age groups, engine sizes, and driver skills. The candidate can enter the class that is best suited after reading the article.

First and foremost, we will discuss the different types of go-kart racing formats as mentioned below.

Types of Go Kart Racing Format

Sprint racing

Sprint racing is the most known format in motorsports, as the major competitions including the Karting World Championship and FIA Championships follow the Sprint Format.

It includes a combination of races with a few laps that qualify for the final sprint race. The better position of the qualifier determines their chances of winning the race. The top performers of the qualifying races get more points, hence starting at the top of the final race grid.

The candidate gets a better chance to lead the race from the top position of the grid and showcase their speed on the track scoring the First, Second or Third position.

Typically, the race duration is no more than 15 minutes and the lap length ranges from 600 meters to 1600 meters. Go Karts are resilient vehicles hence organizers customize the tracks with turns and obstacles to increase the competition among the drivers.

Endurance racing

Endurance racing as the word suggests is performed for the long haul. To win the race you can’t just rely on speed but the strategies between the driver and pit crew must be sublime. Any mistake even causes a delay of seconds that can turn out to be vital for the race.

The race usually lasts from 30 minutes to 24 hours. The tracks used are full-sized road racing circuits with lengths ranging from 1.6 to 4 kilometers. Consistency, strategy, and reliability are key for the race, most races in the USA are run in 30 minutes and 45 minutes time with no pit stops these are called ‘Enduro’ racing.

The most famous Endurance race known as “24 Hours of Le Mans” lasts for a full 24 hours and takes place annually at Le Mans, France. The race is being held since 1986 and is the dream of every Go-Kart driver to conquer the resilient track.

Speedway racing

Speedway racing usually takes place on asphalt or clay oval tracks. The track lengths are much shorter ranging from 1/10th to 1/4th of a mile.

The track commonly includes straights for sprints and just left turns making the track look like an egg-shaped oval roundabout.

The Karts are built for precision handling and to turn at left sides with little to no loss of speed. The major difference with Sprint races is the number of laps in Speedway races which range from 4 to 20 laps.

The major two formats used in Speedway races are heat races. Which are heats of a few laps usually 10 laps. The best position in qualifying starts at the front with the final race consisting of 20 laps heat.

On the other hand, timed laps are also considered for race wins. Groups of 5 to 10 drivers are sent with transponders. Their individual times are denoted by the best time to be the winner.

Go Kart Racing Age Classes

Kid Karts age (5-7)

kids kart racing age classes

As the name suggests the Kid Karts class is at the beginner level. Basically an introduction to how to start karting. It’s better to start them young.

The kids are taught the basics of Kart racing at this early stage of their long and illustrious career to prosper. Kids learn the basics of driving and just having fun and enjoying the sport.

There is a huge advantage in starting the kids at this age group. This class is a kid’s Go-Kart Racing School.

Cadet Age (8-12)

Cadet kart racing age classes

This is the next step on the ladder for the drivers. This stage is more competition among peers.

The kids now get the adrenaline rush of competing with other drivers at this stage and experience the thrill of being the best at racing.

The kart sizes are increased for the drivers and are at almost 3/4th the size of the professional kart.

The Cadet stage opens up Classes of Go-Kart Racing with High-Speed Go-Kart Racing Classes and Courses for the candidate.

Junior Age (13-15)

Junior kart racing age classes

These classes begin for the candidate once they turn into their teens.

Now, things get fierce in terms of competition. The transition gets hard as the drivers need to adjust from the 3/4th size kart to the full-size kart.

The candidates get to experience the full potential of the kart driving the full-size karts.

The full-size karts generate higher top speeds and the hands-on experience of driving them in this class is important for the candidates.

Senior Age (16-30)

Senior kart racing age classes

The class starts with anyone who is at least 16 years old. This is a huge step for the young ones as the age range for this class is from 16 to 30.

This means the young drivers need to face off with many experienced drivers that have driven the karts for a much longer time and have the know-how of the racing world.

Need to know: Where can I drive my go-kart legally & Where not

The young drivers willing to learn from their experienced counterparts tend to grow a lot quicker in the sport because experience is the best teacher in sports.

As the classes tend to get higher the cost for Karts increases as well. Unfortunately, Go Kart isn’t a cheap sport and your pocket may take a certain blow with the cost of the kart.

Master Age (30+)

Master kart racing age classes

The rules and settings are exactly the same as the Senior class except for the age limit. These are basically karting lessons for adults, and any candidate above the age of 30 is included in this class.

The competition is less fierce and most candidates racing here are on the verge of retirement or just racing for the fun of it.

To re-ignite the golden days of their careers and relive the memories they have made throughout the journey of their long and consistent careers in the sport of Kart racing.

Different Kart Racing Classes by Engine

Different Kart Racing Classes by Engine

50CC Engine

The Engine size is reserved for Kid Karts in the initial stage for kids getting a hang of the Karts. This is more of a hobby based on the children’s first experience of motorsport. The beginner kart drivers start with the restricted version of the engine with speeds up to 30 mph.

The more advanced candidates turn to the faster version with an operating speed of 40-50 mph. Explain the Go Kart Classes, they are split up into two major categories.

The first category is called Race Series these are categorized by engine specification in the Kart. For example, at the beginner level, you can see three-race series, IAME Comer C51 series, Honda GX35 series, and Rotax series varied with engine size and displacement.

The second classification is based mainly upon age ranges and in some cases depends on the weight classification as well.

60CC Engine

You may wonder what a difference of a mere 10CC will do to the performance but the extra displacement for the engine really creates a huge impact on the kart.

The Engine is mainly used for the Cadet class, and the main manufacturers of the engine are IAME and ROK.

The engine is categorized into two sizes, the first being the Micro engines used by the age group of 7-9 with a top speed of 50 mph used by beginner candidates.

Secondly, the Mini engine is for the age group of 9-12 it has more speed with a top speed of 60 mph driven by intermediate and advanced candidates.

This is how the Cadet Go Kart Racing Class is sub-divided. The levels are determined through driving tests performed by the organization.

100CC Engine

The Racing Class is the stepping stone between the lower displacement racing class and the highly popular 125CC racing class, the age range for the class is 12-16 on the junior level.

The most common engines used in the 100CC bracket are the YAMAHA KT 100 and IAME KA 100.

125CC TaG Karting

You may wonder what TaG stands for, the term stands for ‘Touch and Go’ these basically mean they are electric start karts with no shifting feature which makes them highly desirable for the simplicity of the rig.

Therefore, the 125CC TaG engine is the most popular and most used engine of all the classes.

The top speeds of 70-80 mph make the engine an exciting machine to race with. The most common engines used are the IAME X30 engine, ROK TT engine, and Rotax Max EVO engine.

125 CC Shifter Karting

The Shifter Karting class is restricted to the more experienced candidates, equipped with an additional gearbox it delivers more variable torque and hence greater speeds.

This class is easier to drive for people who usually drive manual cars. The combination of engine torque and proper gear changes results in the maximum speed outputs without over-revving or over-speed.

Higher speeds at lower gears make overtaking easier and the races more exciting to watch. The speeds are like the TaG version, but the use of gear shifting at the proper junctions can result in top speeds of up to 90 mph.

The most common engines used are the Honda CR 125, IAME Shifter, ROK Vortex Shifter, and Rotax MaxDD2 EVO.

250CC Super Kart Racing

This is a major jump from the 125CC class, and the additional displacement makes for a mind-blowing top-speed potential.

Unlike Go-Karts, the Super Karts possess far more body works the design is made similar to a car just a smaller version of the vehicle.

The design is made keeping in mind the aerodynamics of the super kart to provide better speeds against air resistance, the top speed of the 250CC engine is upwards of 140 mph.

The common engines manufactured for the class include Honda RS 250, Yamaha TZ250, and RC 250.

LO206 (4 Stroke Engine)

The 4-stroke engine is quickly becoming popular among kart drivers. The 4-stroke engine means the piston movement is just as the displacement steps followed in the car engine.

The first stroke of Intake, the second stroke of Compression, the third stroke of Power, and the fourth stroke are Exhaust.

The 4-stroke engine is more efficient and hence adds up to the cheaper running cost as compared to the 2-stroke engine. LO206 engine is a 200CC capacity and is in demand with both professional and beginner-level Kart candidates.

The top speed reaches upwards of 60 mph, you may wonder how the 200CC engine produces a lesser top speed.

In comparison, the 2-stroke engine produces more power than the 4-stroke engine, but the 4-stroke engine is more reliable and cost-effective in the long run.

The common engine used is the Briggs and Stratton LO206 engine.

International level kart racing classes

International level kart racing classes

Direct-Drive Karts (OK and OKJ)

The karts are used by karts at the start of their careers. Direct-drive transmission makes the kart easy to drive as the gearbox isn’t installed. The kart is driven by junior class candidates.

They are simple and easy to maneuver with just an accelerator and brake pedal on either side of the footboard used to drive and stop the Kart.

OK, and OKJ is beginner classes for ages starting from 8 up to 15 years with a top speed of 40-50 mph.

Gearbox Karts (KZ and KZ2)

Senior candidates prefer KZ Karts, driving 125CC engines with a gearbox attached to them.

KZ2 is the second-fastest amongst the series and fundamentally it is the same kart as the KZ except that the KZ2 gearbox must be fully mechanical without servo motors as per the regulations of the CIK-FIA.

The top speed for the kart is approximately 125CC and is used by professionals.

Super Karts

A specially designed body to cope with air resistance, 250CC of monstrous power with the engine makes the Super Kart a perfect beast to handle.

This is one of the top levels of Go Karting internationally, with the top speed exceeding 140 mph.

Only the top professionals consider driving the Super Kart. With the Kart being the epitome of the Kart Motorsport world.

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