If you’re reading this page, you’ve likely been drawn to the sport of kart racing and are looking to go from spectator to competitor. We’ve been there. Many others have too. The entry in to any type racing can be confusing and tricky, but fear not. Karting still remains the most approachable form of grassroots motorsports around.

Step 01: Consider What You Want To Get Out Of Karting

Okay, it sounds rather silly and trivial. But avoid the obvious answers like “fun,” “excitement,” and “competition.” Those come naturally. Probe a bit deeper and ask yourself a fundamental question. Are you looking to just drive karts? Race karts? To simply have a fun hobby on the weekends? Or, do you see karting as your first step in a pursuit towards racing cars professionally? The answer to this question will determine the steps you take along the journey.

Karting is many things to many people. It can be a fun hobby, or an ultra competitive training ground for a career in motorsport. It really is what you make of it.

Step 02: Karting 101 – Basic Terminology (Karts Vs. Carts)

A “kart” conjures up many images, depending who you ask. For the unaware, many associate the name with concession carts or amusement park “go-carts” at a local miniature golf center. But a racing kart is anything but a toy. It is a highly intricate piece of machinery with power to weight performance superior to sports cars with high dollar price tags. This guide assumes you are interested in a traditional road racing kart, also referred to in some circles as a “sprint kart.”

Step 03: Your First Taste Of A Real Racing Kart

Regardless of how you answered Step 01, the best way to get a flavor for a proper racing kart is to jump in with both feet and drive one. The last decade has seen the rise of indoor karting facilities, and chances are there’s one close by to you. We feel this is the best and most cost effective place for newcomers to try their hand. Indoor karting is incredibly competitive and many locations offer legitimate racing leagues and/or timed competition.

Step 04: ‘Take It Outside’ – Driving On An Actual Kart Track

For those with aspirations beyond indoor karting, your initial experience will lend itself naturally to driving a true racing kart on a dedicated kart track. For those with aspirations of one day competing – this will offer a glimpse in to the world of competitive karting and give you a flavor for what you can expect going forward.

Where To Drive A Kart Outside

  • Consider a Kart Racing School – If the path you’re on sees you leaning towards competing in a racing kart, we would highly recommend getting professional hands on instruction. A dedicated karting school will not only get you more seat time, it will offer you an introduction to competitive driving techniques and introductory race craft.
  • No aspirations of owning a racing kart of your own? Perhaps an “arrive and drive” racing experience on an outdoor kart track will work for you. Many kart tracks have their own fleet of racing karts they rent to qualified drivers. These are great for corporate demos, birthday parties, or team building days.

Next: First Laps to First Kart