ModeratorOctober 20, 2020 at 10:39 pm
Karting Classes 101!
Whether you are new to karting or a seasoned veteran, this is an easy guide to the different classes throughout this article I will explain each racing class and how they differ.
What are the different karting classes you ask? They are simple with some variation depending on where you’re in the country and what track you race at:
50cc Kid Karting
60cc Cadet Karting
Depending on your location and level of involvement you want to participate in, probably be a lot more than the small list above. But these are the most common/easiest classified classes out there! Let’s jump into all things racing, shall we?
Kart Racing: What Is It?
Before I go in-depth about the different classes of racing in karting, I thought it’d be worth spending some time going over more general aspects of racing, and why it’s such a popular past-time.
This all comes down to how affordable go-karting is compared to other motorsports. Formula One drivers start in this medium to learn the ropes of racing, so it’s an amazing springboard for great things down the line. And you won’t have to take out another mortgage on your house to participate!
Another very exciting aspect of kart racing is how open-ended the sport is. Depending on where you’re located, kids can jump into the driver’s seat from as young as 5-years-old. To get involved, you don’t need a driver’s license or other such factors, making it a fun hobby as well as something competitive to invest in.
In the United States, we have a lot of governing bodies that organize go-kart races and general regulations. These include: The International Karting Federation (IKF), Karters of America Racing Triad (KART), the USPKS (United States Pro Karting Series), and the World Karting Association (WKA).
No matter where you race in the US, one of the above organizations will be involved in the safety and endorsement of those events. Unlike European kart racing, the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, AKA International Automobile Federation) isn’t involved and instead, everything is managed by kart-specific organizations.
As with any other racing, however, you will be required to get yourself a racing license. There are specific ones for karting, so don’t worry! They cost less than full road car racing licenses, and the process of getting one isn’t as complicated by a long shot. To accommodate for all age brackets of karting, your kids can nab one as soon as they want to start competing.
Kart Racing Formats
When somebody says the word “go-karting” to you, you’ve probably got a pretty clear image in your head of what that means to you, right? Typically, people imagine a small, road-like circuit where they do short races with lots of overtaking.
There are actually a couple of different formats for kart racing, and each one has different popularity depending on where you’re located in the US of A!
The most commonly thought of and most popular is the sprint-style race format. Tracks range between ¼ mile up to almost 2 miles, dependent on location.
Participating in a sprint race format will have you taking part in a number of, believe it or not, kart racing sprints around the track for good lap times and track position. You will typically have a qualifying session, where the best lap time lands 1st place on the start grid, and so on. Then, you’ll race in 15-minute sprints to ascertain a winner.
Some races will only have a qualifying run followed by one sprint race, but a lot will rely on two, three or even four sprint races before averaging the results to determine a winner. It all depends on how your specific race series organizes things, because even though race classes are universal to a point, every class and sub-division does things differently.
Most international race series utilize this format of racing, one example being the Karting World Championship.
It is highly popular in the West and East Coasts of the United States, with decent popularity scattered in between.
In this race format the sessions last for a longer period, highly dependent on the specific race series, with the longest rivalling Le Mans and gunning for 24 hours of constant kart driving! Typically, you’ll find endurance racing to last for 30 minutes or 1 hour.
As you can imagine, raw speed is not the most important factor, as race strategy, driver consistency and kart reliability play huge roles.
Commonly nicknamed “enduro” in the US, the formats split somewhat between sprint enduro (30-minute races) and laydown enduro (45-minute races). Having track space to spare, you’ll find that this format is commonly held on normal road circuits.
Of the bunch, endurance racing is usually considered one of the more cost-effective ways to jump into karting. After all, you won’t be maxing speeds with an endurance kart, meaning that their component parts will last longer and will generally be more reliable.
More commonly known as ‘oval’, this race format takes place on oval tracks which are shorter than sprint varieties, ranging between 150 yards and ¼ of a mile.
Specific karts have been designed for this style of racing, very popular in the South and Mid-West of the US. They possess an ‘offset’ chassis to allow for more precise maneuvering in competitions featuring only left turns.
These races vary between 4 laps and 20 laps in the speedway format, with the longer races being used for feature/main events. Depending on the governing organization, you’ll see heat races or timed lap qualification.
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