If you’re getting into karting, you probably want to know more about how to drive a go-kart and how it works. But whether you’re beginner or an experienced veteran of the tracks, knowing your kart inside out is a great way to get better.
Find out all about the features of the typical go-kart and how simple (but thrilling!) they are to drive – you’ll be behind the wheel and speeding around the track in no time!
You might see different models of go-kart at different tracks, but by and large they all share the same features. A go-kart is basically a scaled-back Formula One car, but they still pack some serious power!
Most adult go-karts you’ll see at our tracks use a four-stroke petrol engine, pretty similar to the one in a car which is about 200cc, while junior karts get a smaller 120cc engine.
Speeds for an adult kart could exceed 40mph, and over 25mph for juniors – and that’s heart-racingly fast when you’re low to the ground and coming up to a tight bend!
The all-important control centre of the kart, the steering wheel tells your rear wheels which way to go. Along with every other vital component of the kart, the steering column is regularly tested by our trackside team to make sure it’s responsive and fighting fit for high-speed thrills.
The heavy-duty plastic or fibre glass seating is fully adjustable, so whether you’re tall or small you’ll be able to reach the pedals without a hitch.
Along with the steering, these are the bits you need to master if you want to know how to drive a go-kart! There’s no gears to worry about on a standard kart, just an accelerator pedal that pumps juice into the engine and a brake pedal that helps you control your speed.
Many karts are fitted with anti-double pedalling tech, which stops you accelerating and braking at the same time and protects the clutch from damage.
The go-kart’s twin-tube chassis is lightweight and aerodynamic to keep it nice and responsive, helping you make those all-important accelerations back up to high speed after you’ve bossed your way round a corner. There’s also a rubber shock-absorbing system mounted on the chassis front for extra protection.
The bumpers at the front and rear are important safety features. Made of heavy-duty plastic, they surround the kart to absorb the worst of the shock on any impact. So even if you do lose control and go into the tyres, you won’t be out of the race for long!
You might have noticed go-karts have super wide tyres. Just like with an F1 car, this increases their lateral traction, which means you can take those tight corners without sacrificing too much speed - as long as you’ve got the skills for it.
If you’re go-karting for the first time, you might be wondering what to wear on your first visit to the track. In most cases, your normal everyday clothes will be fine – we’ll supply the crash helmet, race suit and gloves that give you all the protection you need for an epic high-speed race.
It’s best not to wear too much loose and baggy clothing (for obvious reasons) and take off any jewellery, and if you have long hair we advise to tie it back and tuck it into your race suit. For safety we do not allow heeled shoes or open toed shoes, so leave your flip flops at home! But apart from that, ordinary clothes are fine – you might want to bring a change of clothes though, as you can work up quite a sweat when you’re speeding round the track!
Now you’ve seen what a go-kart’s all about, we bet you’re itching to get down to the track and put pedal to the metal for yourself. Don’t worry if it’s your first time – our trackside marshals are all experienced karters, and they’ll be happy to give you some go karting tips for beginners.