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Other people want to start this hobby

Go Karts

Many people view go karts much like the bumper cars they used to ride as children and are they mistaken! Today`s Go Karts can go extremely fast and can handle themselves with precision. Its a terrific way to start racing without spending as much money and risking the danger of nascar type racing. Many people are using go karts to learn and improve driving skills before advancing to auto racing.

To get started is fairly easy, all you need to do is look for a local go kart track nearby. There you can rent out a kart by the hour or laps and start testing your skills. Driving a kart is much like driving a regular car. The key difference is that they do have great acceleration and cornering ability. It is also important to note that karting is a relatively safe hobby if the proper safety measures are taken.

Below is a terrific introductory article where you can learn the basics and how to get started. You can help grow our learning community by contributing your knowledge to the article. Just click on the edit tab in the wiki article below.

Use the white subtabs above to navigate the other Go Kart resources. We have a Go Kart forum where you can get your questions & doubts answered, a page with Go Kart how-to videos, a page with the best handpicked links to other sites, and a page with the best Go Kart books and products.

Good Luck and Have Fun!
Duncan Davis

 

Intro


It`s been fifty years since Art Ingels first created the Go Karts in California, which has now become a worldwide phenomenon. Being one of the fastest growing hobbies in the world it has a huge fan following in North America. Initially they were referred to as go carts, gokarts, and shifter karts. However, they are today universally known as Go Karts. After the Second World War fighter pilots and airmen had very little to do at air force stations and so to pass their time they started racing Go Karts and a sport was born.




Go Karts are closely related to open wheel racing such as Indy Car and Formula One. In fact, some of the top professional race car drivers have had their initiation into the sport through Go Karting. Ayrton Senna, Prost, Patrese, Michael Schumacher, Alonso, Raikkonen, Button, Lewis Hamilton, Darrell Waltrip, Sarah Fisher, Kyle Petty, Tony Stewart, and many others began their careers on the Go Karting circuit before graduating to Formula One and Indy Car. Go Karting is addictive and people get hooked onto the thrill of racing after their very first ride in a Go Kart. Scooters, bikes, ATVs,mopeds and dirt bikes all fade in comparison to Go Karting. The adrenaline rush you get when you race a Go Kart on the track is what makes it so popular amongst the young and the old.




Go Karts have come a long way since they were first introduced. They were one step ahead of bumper cars, but today`s Go Karts can go as fast as 200 mph and handling them has become pretty easy due to the sophistication in design and materials. Most professional race car drivers perfect their skills on Go karts before advancing to auto racing.




The actual Go Kart


A typical go Kart is made up of chassis, engine, transmission, seat and 4 tires. Generally chassis are made from strong steel tubes. The unique thing about Go Karts is that they have no suspension and differential, like any other car, so it is important that the chassis is flexible to avoid breakage when cornering and in turns. Different types of chassis are used in the construction of Go Karts in the US and they can be classified as `Open`, `Straight`, `Caged`, or `Offset`. However CIK-FIA the governing body approves only `Straight` and `Open` chassis.




Open Karts as the name suggests does not have a roll cage to protect the driver as in caged karts. Caged Karts are mostly driven on dirt tracks where the chance of the kart turning turtle is higher. The straight chassis is used for high speed sprint racing and the offset chassis has the driver sitting on one side of the chassis, usually the left side and this type of chassis is used in left-turn-only racing.




The handling of the kart depends on the chassis, dryer conditions require stiffer chassis, whereas wet conditions require flexible chassis to compensate for poor traction. The best chassis today is flexible and has stiffening bars that can be fitted or removed from the side and front depending on the conditions.




Usually rear axles are mounted with disc brakes, however, front axle disc brakes are becoming popular these days.




In the earlier days two stroke engines from scooters and motorcycles were used in Go Karts because these engines were air-cooled. Today the most popular engines are the 100cc and 125cc 2 stroke engines. Some 250cc twin cylinder engines can generate up to 90 hp of power; most of the engines used today for Go Karts are water-cooled. Four stroke engines are also used and being air-cooled they generate almost 15hp to 48hp of power. Many manufacturers today make engines specifically for Go Karts.




Go Karts does not have a differential and hence one rear tire lifts up or slides when turning. The chassis is designed in such a way that the rear tire lifts instead of sliding. The transmission of power is achieved by a chain and sprocket. Both are removable to adjust the ratio, depending on the track. Dry centrifugal clutches are standard equipment in many categories. Tires are smaller than car tires and are manufactured by all major tire manufacturers. Special tires are required for difficult conditions such as wet surfaces and snow.




Getting Started


Go Karting is a good way to get initiated in the motor sport field and is very affordable, and less risky. Go Karts are easy to handle in spite of the speed, also the low center of gravity makes it less dangerous than nascar type racing. You can sharpen and improve your driving skills before going to the next level in auto racing.




To get started just visit the local go kart track in your town. You can then rent a kart for a few hours or for a specific number of laps and get on with testing your driving skills. Driving a Go Kart is no different than driving your car, the only difference being that is has very good acceleration and cornering ability. However, proper safety measures have to be taken whilst on the track.




Before trying your hand at Go Karting I would recommend that you do a thorough research on the Internet, books and videos. Most of the major bookstores have books on how to build or make your own Go Kart. Becoming a member of the various forums and online communities is also a good idea to learn the basic and advanced topics of Go Karting.




There are three types of Go Kart racing Sprint, Oval and Enduro. Sprint Karting is simple with shorter tracks and the technology used is less sophisticated. The karts are downgraded a bit for this type of racing. The circuit is usually 3/4th mile. In the oval type the circuit is about 1/4th mile. Enduro or endurance racing is a prolonged version of the sprint type of racing. These races last over an hour and the karts used are tough and durable. Speed is important but not as important as it is in sprint. This is more like a marathon in which the driver has to make regular pit stops for maintenance, fuel and change of tires.




So visit your nearest Go Kart track and take a test ride, there isn`t a cheaper way to get into auto racing. With different levels available you can slowly and steadily build your way up until you reach the professional level. With dedication, practice and full utilization of your talent, you will one day be driving alongside the top professionals in auto racing.