How To Get Into Go Kart Racing For Adults?

Go kart racing has grown from a recreational activity to a competitive motorsport over the years. With advanced karts that can reach speeds of 60-70 mph, go kart racing provides an adrenaline-fueled experience for adults. If you want to get into go kart racing as an adult, this comprehensive guide will provide everything you need to know. We will cover how to get started, what equipment you need, finding a track, racing formats, costs involved, and tips to advance your racing skills. Whether you are a beginner looking to try casual karting or want to progress into competitive racing, this guide has you covered. So let’s start your engines and dive into the exciting world of go kart racing for adults!

Choosing the Right Go Kart Racing Format

The first step is deciding what format of go kart racing you want to try as a beginner. Here are the main options:

Recreational Karting: These are casual races at indoor or outdoor tracks for fun without official timing/scoring. Great for first-timers to experience karting.

Sprint Racing: Short races held on tight outdoor circuits. Sprint karts have 2-stroke engines and no gears. This is the most common amateur racing format.

Endurance Karting: Long-distance races of 1 hour or more driver changes required. Tests physical fitness and machine endurance.

Road Racing: High-speed racing on circuits with challenging turns and elevation changes. Karts have 4-stroke engines and gearboxes.

For beginners, recreational karting or sprint racing is best to start with. As you gain experience, you can advance to endurance or road racing formats.

Getting Safety Gear

Safety is paramount, so investing in proper racing gear is a must. Here is the essential safety gear required:

Helmet: The most important piece of safety gear. Must be full face with Snell or DOT certification.

Racing suit: One-piece suit with abrasion resistance. Look for leather, cordura or nomex material.

Gloves:  Made of leather or suede for grip and protection from abrasions.

Neck brace: Prevents hyperextension injuries and supported your head/neck.

Rib protector: Optional but recommended. Protects ribs from side impacts.

Racing shoes: Lightweight shoes that offer ankle support and grip.

Balaclava: Covers your head/neck and provides fire protection.

Buying or Renting Your Go Kart

You will need access to a go kart suitable for your skill level and the racing format you choose. Here are your options:

Rent: Most tracks offer rental karts for beginners. Choose this for recreational karting.

Purchase: Buying your own kart allows customization and consistency. Only recommended once you progress to competitive racing.

Arrive and drive: Some clubs offer pre-setup karts for members to “arrive and drive”. Costs less than owning.

For first-timers, renting is the best choice. As you gain experience and race more frequently, purchasing your own kart is the next step. Expect costs of $3,000-$10,000 depending on the kart chassis, engine, parts, etc.

Finding a Track or Karting Club

Finding a reputable track or karting club is key to getting started. Here are resources to find options in your region:

Search engines: Google “go kart racing near me” or “go kart tracks [your city]”.

Racing forums: Members often list local tracks and clubs. Great for reviews.

Racing associations: Sanctioning bodies like WKA, IKF list affiliated tracks/clubs.

Social media: Facebook groups for local karting are a good discovery tool.

Ideally choose an outdoor track for your first time. Indoor karting is faster paced for beginners. Check reviews and safety standards before deciding on a track.

Learning Racing Rules and Etiquette

Every track has rules and on-track etiquette to keep racing safe and fair. Take time to learn:

Flags: Flags are used to communicate on track conditions, warnings, penalties etc.

Passing rules: Pass carefully, not under braking or corners. Allow inside position.

Driving line: Hold consistent line, don’t weave on straights or brake erratically.

Signaling: Use hand signals properly to indicate passing side or slowing down.

Overtaking: Make clean, safe passes. Avoid contact. Leave racing room.

Inspection: Tech inspection ensures your kart meets safety and class rules.

Understanding general racing etiquette and the track’s specific rules is key to being prepared. Ask questions during your first sessions.

Starting with Practice Sessions

Once you have your gear, kart, and selected a track, it’s time for your first on-track experience! Begin with practice sessions to learn:

Track layout: Get familiar with corners, straights, landmarks to brake/turn.

Racing lines: Identify the fast way around using early apexes and track out.

Situational awareness: Get used to checking mirrors and being aware of karts around you.

Flags and lights: Recognize what each signal means and how to respond.

Braking points: Determine marker to start slowing to get proper corner entry speed.

Consistent laps: Focus on clean laps hitting all marks without major errors.

Take it slow and easy early on. As your skills improve start to go faster while maintaining consistency.

Preparing for Your First Race

Once comfortable from practice, it’s time for your first race! Here are some tips to be ready:

Review rules: Double check passing zones, start procedures, flag meanings.

Visualize: Mentally walk through the opening laps, passing, taking checkered flag.

Hydrate: Drink plenty of fluids 1-2 days before race day. Avoid dehydration.

Rest: Get adequate sleep for concentration and reaction time.

Equipment check:  Confirm all your safety gear and kart components are in top shape.

Warm up:  Before your race, run a few practice laps to get in the zone and lay rubber on the ideal line.

Stay focused, drive a clean race at your pace, and avoid contact. Finishing safely is the ultimate goal your first time out.

Getting Faster – Advanced Racing Tips and Skills

Once you gain initial experience, you can start honing advanced skills to improve lap times:

Braking: Trail braking into corners helps rotate kart and sets up better turn in. 

Apexes: Hitting late apexes extends straights and maintains speed through corners.

Kart setup B: Adjust tire pressures, seat position, weight balance to tune handling.

Racing lines: Analyze faster drivers’ lines and identify areas you are losing time.

Fitness: Strength training for neck, core, upper body helps handling and endurance.

Data acquisition: Use systems like AiM to capture info like RPM, lap times, throttle/brake points to optimize performance.

Mental focus: Use visualization, pre-race routines and mental cues to get in “the zone”.

Continuous practice and adjustments will shave lap times. Race smart, avoid errors, and stay consistent.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does go kart racing cost for adults?

Go kart racing costs typically range from $50 for a casual race up to $500+ per event for competitive races when you factor in entry fees, fuel, tires, maintenance, and transportation. Owning your own kart is a much bigger investment of $3,000-$10,000.

What is the minimum age to start racing go karts?

Most tracks allow racing from ages 13-15 with parental consent. 16+ can race independently. But adult-only categories mean you can start at any age as an adult.

Can beginners be competitive in go kart racing?

As a beginner focus on learning, not winning races. With practice and coaching, you can become competitive within 1-2 seasons of frequent racing. Match your goals to your experience level.

What engine size go kart is best for beginners?

Beginners should start with entry-level kid karts or low-powered 200cc engines. More powerful ICC Shifter karts with 125cc engines are only recommended for experienced racers.

Is go kart racing dangerous for adults?

Go kart racing has inherent risks like any motorsport. But modern tracks and safety gear make it reasonably safe. Beginners should focus on learning proper driving etiquette to stay safe.


Go kart racing is an exciting way for adults to get into motorsports competition. Start with the right gear, training, and reasonable goals matched to your skill level. Racing schools and coaches can help you progress faster.

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