KART RACING or KARTING is a variant of open-wheel motorsport with small, open, four-wheeled vehicles called karts, go-karts , or gearbox/shifter karts depending on the design. They are usually raced on scaled-down circuits . Karting is commonly perceived as the stepping stone to the higher ranks of motorsports.
Karts vary widely in speed and some (known as Superkarts ) can reach
speeds exceeding 260 kilometres per hour (160 mph), while
recreational go-karts intended for the general public may be limited
to lower speeds.
* 1 History
* 2 Components
* 3 Racing
* 3.1 Racing formats
* 3.1.1 Sprint * 3.1.2 Endurance * 3.1.3 Speedway
* 3.2 Racing categories
* 3.2.1 International * 3.2.2 National
* 3.3 Racing licenses * 3.4 Driver equipment
* 4 Karting as a learning tool * 5 Recreational, concession and indoor Karts * 6 See also * 7 References * 8 External links
Art Ingels is generally accepted to be the father of
karting. A veteran hot rodder and a race car builder at
Kurtis Kraft ,
he built the first kart in
The first kart manufacturer was an American company, Go Kart Manufacturing Co. (1958). In 1959, McCulloch was the first company to produce engines for karts. Its first engine, the McCulloch MC-10, was an adapted chainsaw two-stroke engine . Later, in the 1960s, motorcycle engines were also adapted for kart use, before dedicated manufacturers, especially in Italy (IAME ), started to build engines for the sport.
The chassis are made of steel tubing. There is no suspension , therefore chassis have to be flexible enough to work as a suspension and stiff enough not to break or give way on a turn. Kart chassis are classified in the USA as 'Open', 'Caged', 'Straight' or 'Offset'. All Commission Internationale de Karting - Fédération Internationale de l\'Automobile or CIK-FIA approved chassis are 'Straight' and 'Open'.
* Open karts have no roll cage. * Caged karts have a roll cage surrounding the driver; they are mostly used on dirt tracks. * In Straight chassis the driver sits in the center. Straight chassis are used for sprint racing . * In Offset chassis the driver sits on the left side. Offset chassis are used for left-turn-only speedway racing.
The stiffness of the chassis enables different handling characteristics for different circumstances. Typically, for dry conditions a stiffer chassis is preferable, while in wet or other poor traction conditions, a more flexible chassis may work better. The best chassis allow for stiffening bars at the rear, front and side to be added or removed according to race conditions.
Braking is achieved by a disc brake mounted on the rear axle. Front disc brakes are used in most shifter kart classes and are increasingly popular in other classes; however, certain classes do not allow them. Shifter karts have dual master cylinders, one for the front and one for the rear and are adjustable to allow for front/ rear bias changes.
Professionally raced karts typically weigh 165 to 175 lb (75 to 79 kg), complete without driver. Avanti , Tony Kart , Trulli , Birel , CRG , Gillard , Intrepid , Kosmic , Zanardi or FA Kart and EKS are a few well known examples of the many European manufacturers of race-quality chassis. Emmick, Coyote, Bandit, Shadow, MGM, Titan, PRC and Margay are American companies producing kart chassis.
Shifter Kart Engine
Amusement park go-karts can be powered by 4-stroke engines or electric motors , while racing karts use small 2-stroke or 4-stroke engines.
* 4-stroke engines can be standard air-cooled industrial based engines, sometimes with small modifications, developing from about 5 to 20 hp. Briggs however, previously air-cooled engines dominated the sport.
Karts do not have a differential . The lack of a differential means that one rear tire must slide while cornering; this is achieved by designing the chassis so that the inside rear tire lifts up slightly when the kart turns the corner. This allows the tire to lose some of its grip and slide or lift off the ground completely.
Power is transmitted from the engine to the rear axle by a chain. Both engine and axle sprockets are removable; their ratio must be adapted to the track configuration in order to get the most from the engine.
In the early days, karts were direct drive only (requiring push
starts), but the inconvenience of that setup soon led to the
centrifugal clutch for the club level classes. Dry centrifugal
clutches are now used in many categories (
Wheels and tires are much smaller than those used on a normal car.
Rims are made of magnesium alloy, aluminum , or composite materials .
Tires can support cornering forces in excess of 2 g (20 m/s²),
depending on chassis, engine, and motor setup . Some car tire
manufacturers, such as
Similar to other motorsports, kart tires have different types for use appropriate to track conditions:
* Slicks , for dry track. Slick kart tires come in many different
compounds, from very soft (maximum grip) to very hard (amusement and
rental karts, less grip but long life span). In international level
racing, because the drivers are free to choose their tires and
because of the short duration of each round (10 to 20 mn maximum),
these are some of the softest tires found in motorsport.
* Rain tires , or "wets", for wet weather. They are grooved, made of
soft compound, and are narrower than slicks. Not all racing classes
allow rain tires.
* Special, such as spiked tires for icy conditions, or
"cuts/grooved" for high grip dirt/clay speedways. Cuts are slicks
modified with a lathe to optimize handling.
As in other motor sports, several data acquisition systems have been developed for kart racing. These systems allow the driver to monitor from a display fixed on the steering wheel some parameters such as RPM, timing of laps (including sectors), number of laps, best lap, cooling system temperature, exhaust gas temperature and sometimes speed or even gear for shifter karts.
Some of those systems are able to record (logging) laps data from the sensors, allowing replay of an entire running session or/and direct download to a personal computer equipped with a data analysis software. More sophisticated systems allow for more information such as lateral and longitudinal acceleration (g-force ), throttle position, steering wheel position and brake pressure.
Sprint race at Granja Viana, Brazil
In the USA, there is not as much FIA involvement; instead, many organizations regulate racing, such as the IKF (International Kart Federation ), WKA ( World Karting Association ), KART (Karters of America Racing Triad), USPKS (United States Pro Karting Series).
In the UK, the MSA ( Motor Sports Association ) regulates most 'owner driver' Karting. Some associations, such as NatSKA (National Schools Karting Association), organize race meetings throughout the country under the authority of the MSA. Various four-stroke 'hire kart' series such as EPEC (European Prokart Endurance Championship) or BRKC (British Rental Kart Championship) fall outside the governance of the MSA. Billed as the UK's first national karting league, the Elite Karting League also falls outside of MSA governance.
In Australia, kart racing is administered by the Australian Karting Association on the behalf of FIA and CAMS . There is a manual released every year detailing the various rules and regulations that race meetings and drivers have to follow.
Racing classes start at age 7 or 8 (5 in the US with "Kid Karts") and generally run in 3-year age groupings or weight divisions until "senior" status is reached at age 15 or 16, depending on the series.
Typically, race formats are one of the following:
Sprint racing takes place on dedicated kart circuits resembling small road courses, with left and right turns. Tracks range from 1/4 mile (400 metres) to over 1 mile (1,600 metres) in length.
The sprint format is a series of short-duration races, normally for a small number of laps, that qualify for a final, with a variety of point scoring calculations to determine the event's overall winner. Typical duration does not normally exceed 15 minutes. Here, speed and successful passing is of the most importance. It normally occurs in the format of three qualifying heats and a final race for trophy positions.
The FIA championships, including the Karting World Championship , take place in this format.
Pack of Laydown Enduros at Daytona , USA
Endurance races last for an extended period, ranging from 30 minutes up to 24 hours or more, for one or more drivers. In general, consistency, reliability, and pit strategy is of greater importance than all out speed.
Called "Enduro" racing in the USA, most WKA & IKF sanctioned events typically last 30 minutes (Sprint Enduro) or 45 minutes (Laydown Enduro) and are run continuous without pit stops. Enduro events are held on full-size road racing circuits that are usually between 1.5 "> Superkart
The CIK-FIA sanctions international championships in OKJ , OK , KZ1 , KZ2 and Superkart . These are regarded as the top level classes of karting and are also raced in national championships worldwide. The World Championship is decided here.
* OK (the top level) and OKJ for a younger age group. All are using the same water-cooled no-gearbox 125 cc "long life" two-stroke engines which are direct drive, each with different technical specifications (mufflers, air boxes, carburetor, rev limit etc.). * KZ1 and KZ2, both 125 cc gearbox categories. * Superkart, a 250 cc gearbox category.
Non CIK-FIA categories: The Kart World Championship (or KWC) as opposed to the FIA's 'KartING World Championship' uses 4-stroke rental karts and travels to a different country each year.
In the UK, the most celebrated karting series is the National karting series, also known as Super One . There are three types of Super One championships:
* MSA series:
KF3 , Formula KGP, Super Cadet and Cadet
Other UK National Championships include: Birel BirelART series UK: Cadet 60cc, Junior 100cc, Senior Light 125cc, Senior Heavy 125cc
The BRKC is the UK's rental karting National championship, and the UK's official feeder series to the rental Kart World Championship.
NatSKA is a budget karting association set up for schools and youth groups in the UK, with 13 classes.
In the UNITED STATES, Dirt oval classes (which often use Briggs "> In
the West, European style sprint racing is much more common. In
particular, 125cc shifter karts using
In AUSTRALIA, classes include Cadet (previously called Midget),
Rookie, Junior National Pro, Junior National, Junior Clubman, Junior
As in other disciplines in motorsports, a license is required to drive a racing kart on a circuit or enter competitions. The licenses, issued by governing bodies, are provided by clubs or associations. Most of the time, but not always, a basic insurance coverage is included in the licence annual fee. In some countries, such as France , regulations require the drivers to pass a medical exam each year.
License classes differ between countries according to age groups or levels. Most of the time a Practice License can be easily obtained, while a Racing License might require a capability assessment.
For their safety, kart drivers are required to wear proper equipment:
* Full-face helmet (Snell SA2005 or K2005 certification is required
for racing, K2005 is same as SA2005 without fire resistance)
* Racing Balaclava
* Driving suit (abrasion resistant overalls with at least one
Rib protector and neck brace, although highly recommended, are optional in most countries. None of the above need to be made of fire retardant material. Superkart drivers are required to wear leather overalls, similar to those used in motorcycling .
KARTING AS A LEARNING TOOL
In August 2009, in anticipation to a possible return to F1 with
RECREATIONAL, CONCESSION AND INDOOR KARTS
Main article: Go-kart
Wikimedia Commons has media related to KARTING .
* ^ A B "
Superkart at Magny-Cours – 2007". Parcferme.com.
* ^ 50 years of karting 1956–2006 – CIK-FIA Archived 24 August
2009 at the