Go Karting Tips

Go karting tips, Go karting for beginners, Go kart driving techniques

Do you want to improve your go kart driving?

Whether you are a relative beginner at go karting or a more experienced go-kart driver, this article has some helpful go-karting tips to improve your driving.

This low-riding vehicle is designed for speed and can be a bit intimidating if you’ve never driven one before, so let’s start with some go-karting tips for beginners.

Go Karting Tips for Beginners

Driving a go-kart is similar to, but not the same as, driving a car so some common newbie mistakes will hinder your go-kart speed and overall experience.

1. Hand Position

Go Karting Tips, Go kart wheel, Go karting for kidsGo-karts have very sensitive steering and therefore, cannot be treated like a car with the traditional 10 and 2 position. Go-kart drivers should use a “quarter-to-three” position, this allows you to turn corners without moving your hands on the wheel – you want to have maximum control over your steering wheel at all times, it also aides precision handling.

2. Use One Pedal at a Time

To avoid losing control of your go-kart or spinning out, use only one pedal at a time when you are racing. Most newbies press both pedals at the same time which can throw you off-course. You should have both feet resting (not pressing) on their respective pedals at all times so you can react quickly when needing to use the accelerator or brake.

 3. Don’t Turn Into Corners Too Early

Both novice and experienced drivers can still make the mistake of turning into the corners too early. To solve the problem of sliding wide on a corner exit, or when you’re losing speed on the corners, slow the go-kart down a bit before you turn, then aim for the apex of the corner.

4. Don’t Apply Soft Braking

Go-kart brakes are only on the back wheels, so applying them will not work the same as they do on a normal vehicle. The best way to apply brakes on a go-kart for maximum effectiveness is to hit them hard (so they almost lock) as you approach the apex of the corner, and then gradually release them.

5. Use the entire Track

The go-kart track is defined by white lines and curbs. To gain and maintain speed on the raceway, utilize as much of the track as you can. The wider you can make each turn (corner) by being on the circuit’s edge during entry and exit and by getting as close to the apex as you can, the straighter line you will have around the corner, which makes it easier to maintain speed. The shortest distance is not always the fastest way round a track.

6. Don’t Be Too Aggressive on the Steering

Smooth and gradual is the key to steering a go-kart. Many newbies make the mistake of using a sharp action when applying the steering wheel. This is a mistake that will result in front-end sliding (known as “understeer”).

Go kart driving, Go kart cornering, go kart beginner7. Look Ahead At All Times

Because go-karts are very low to the ground, it may feel like a sensory overload when you experience it for the first time. The trick is to not focus on what is immediately in front of you, but rather what’s further ahead.

The rule-of-thumb for good karting techniques is to focus on one stage ahead of where you are. For example, when braking, look to the apex, at the apex look to the exit, at the exit, look for the next corner. Applying this technique tricks the brain into thinking everything is happening slower, giving you more time to process the information.

8. Don’t Try to Get Out of the Way

If you’re new to the go-karting circuit, don’t be intimidated by all those experienced drivers flying past you at top speeds. It is safer and more educational for your own karting experience to go at your own pace and to remember and apply what you have learned.

The more experienced karters will know how to pass you safely, but if you act in an unpredictable fashion, by trying to get out of the way, they may not be able to navigate around you as easily.

Advanced Karting Techniques

Once you experience go-karting you may not be able to get enough of the thrills and chills of being on the circuit. This is when you will want to know some of the “trade secrets” to advanced karting techniques.

1. Know the Track

Every go-kart track has its own unique pattern of turns, signage, and barriers – knowing these will help improve your time – memorizing them will enable you to create a strategy. There may be more than one way to navigate a circuit, finding the best course around a track can shave off precious seconds or even minutes of your overall performance.

2. Navigate the Turns like a Pro

Another advanced karting technique is the ability to navigate the turns. In racing cars, this requires supreme focus and precision, go-karting is much the same.

Once you have the track memorized, it’s time to make the most of it by establishing a “racing line” – a racing line is the fastest path around a track, focusing particularly on the entrance and exit out of corners. According to go-kart racers, successful cornering can be broken down into three areas;

  • The outside of the approaching turn
  • The apex (innermost part of the track)
  • The outside of the track at the end of a turn

Approaching the Turn when go karting

When you are approaching a turn, the best practice is to do so from the outside edge of the track (get as close to the edge as you approach the corner as you can). Accelerate as much as you can before you reach the corner.  

The Apex Approach Technique

Approach the corner (apex) in as straight a line as able. Ease off the accelerator and apply the brakes. As you approach the apex start turning, then as you pass the apex release the brakes and accelerate. Also, be aware of your body position. Do not lean towards the apex as this puts more weight over the inside wheels, which makes it more difficult to straighten after the turn.

Advanced go kart driving, Go kart racing line, Go kart corneringComing Out of the Turn Technique

When you are coming out of a turn, be sure to continue accelerating while moving in as straight a line as possible – this will help you maintain traction on the track and prevent your back wheels from sliding out. Now aim for the outside edge of the track while accelerating. This advanced go-kart technique enables you to corner with as little speed loss as possible.

Timing is Key when Go Karting

One of the most important go karting tips we can give you is, practice your steering, braking and accelerating skills when cornering go karts. Everyone can drive fast on a straight, but to really improve your times around the track, you need to learn how to coordinate your steering with braking and accelerating to find the optimal combination that will achieve the fastest times.

Each time you approach a corner, practice the timing of your braking and acceleration, find the perfect position to initiate the turn by looking for specific markers (or objects) on the circuit, you will then find that “sweet spot” for applying the brakes and accelerator.

Use the go kart track timer to test which line around the track achieves the fastest track time.

Go kart racing, Go karting Tips, Advanced go kartersIf you put these go karting tips into practice, you are sure to improve your go karting technique and speed around the track.

Building a Go-Kart

Build a go kart, Go kart kit, Go kart parts

Building a go-kart requires time, special tools, money, and dedication. As we find ourselves in self-isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this may be the perfect time to flex those creative “muscles” with a go-kart building project.

Even if you’ve never built a motorized vehicle before, there are go-kart kits for sale that will give you everything you need to get your kart up and running.

Let’s go explore the karting world of building a go-kart.

Go-Kart Build Kits

Unless you want to hunt down all the go-kart parts separately (and there’re a lot of them) then your best option is to purchase a go-kart kit. Complete go-kart kits come with everything you need to build a go-kart, including the engine. However, be sure to do your research, as some go-kart kits may only include the basics e.g. no engine included, and you will have to drop your own in the go-kart or buy one separately.

Go Kart Kit, Build a Go-Kart, Go Kart Kits for sale
This Go Kart Kit is available at GOKARTS USA.

Go-kart kit parts include:

  • Front A-arms assembly (where the wheels connect to the go-kart)
  • Steering assembly
  • Mainframe (chassis) assembly
  • The “guts” (nuts and bolts etc.)
  • Drive axle assembly

Note: If you are building a go-kart for a child, aim to have the following:

  • A beginner’s go kart engine with a power range of 5-7 hp
  • a 3/4″ shaft
  • a centrifugal clutch or 30-series torque converter.

Electric Go kart motor, Go kart engine, go kart partsElectric Go-Kart Kit

Electric go-karts have a motor that runs on a DC motor. A Direct Current motor is a type of electrical current that comes out of a battery (rather than an AC current that comes out of your wall socket (Alternating Current)).

When purchasing a battery for your electric go-kart, keep the voltage in mind – in the case of a go-kart, you will want a low-voltage battery. Experts recommend using not more than 48 volts of electricity (four 12 v batteries). Any more than this and you run the risk of overheating and frying the motor.

Two advantages of the electric go-kart kit option are:

  • an electric engine allows the go-kart to hit higher speeds
  • electric engines are lighter than gas powered engines and easier to handle.
Go kart parts, Go kart accessories, Go kart engine
Predator gas engine available from Amazon

Gas-Powered Go-Kart Kit

If you decide you want to build a gas-powered go-kart then you will want to keep these things in mind:

  • Gas-powered go-kart kits have a heavy engine that is mounted in a specific location on the go-kart.
  • The size and mount of the gas-powered engine affects the performance and handling of the go kart, if done poorly, your go-kart can end up being clunky and uneven which can potentially lead to inexperienced drivers running the risk of tipping or flipping the gas-powered go-kart.
  • These types of engines also tend to run hot, so they are not recommended for children or beginners.

Go-Kart Upgrades

Experts recommend starting the go-kart building process with a new chassis. These will be straight and reliable right “out of the box.” Up-grading a go-kart frame may come in the future as your engine becomes more powerful or you go from an electric to a gas-powered unit.

To help increase the current speed of your racing go-kart, install a turbocharger to the engine. The “turbo” increases the amount of air being compressed inside the engine, which then will increase the horsepower and the engine output. However, know that turbochargers can be pricey and they do require skill to install, so enlist the help of a mechanic if you’re unsure of the process.

Another go-kart upgrade to help increase the kart’s speed is to use larger tires, especially on the rear of the vehicle. This allows the tires to push the go-kart forward with each revolution of the tire because they have more contact with the surface.

Increase the speed of your go-kart by installing a smaller sprocket on the drive axle and a larger one on the engine output. This change allows for more revolutions each time the engine makes a cycle.

Cool Go-Kart Accessories

If you want to “glam” up your go-kart with some fun accessories, why not try Glow-Lights. These LED lights are designed to fit on the underbody of your kart. They are simple to install and the control box allows you to change the color-mode.

Depending on what your new (or used) go-kart kit includes, you may want to upgrade your steering wheel to a fancier model such as a wheel covered with leather or colored material.

When building a child’s first go-kart, finish it off with a telescoping spring-mounted safety flag. It’s not only a cool go-kart accessory, but it will help those other beginner go-karters see your lil karter on the track.

Racing Go-Kart Parts

Experienced go-karting is all about the speed, so what happens when you put a Honda 1000 Fireblade engine on a go-kart? You will be going from 0 to 60mph in 2.4 seconds! If that isn’t crazy enough, this racing go-kart can hit a top speed of 186mph!

Do not try this next racing go-kart part at home!

Inventor, Colin Furze, has attached a small jet engine to a go-kart frame. How did he do it? He modified the go-kart chassis by almost five feet and “tinkered” with the fuel intake to allow it to burn either gasoline or diesel fuel.

Check out his crazy go-kart here.

I can’t believe he’s not wearing a helmet and all manner of safety gear such as a fire-retardant racing suit!  As for wearing a tie, is he mad?

Building a Go-Kart

Whether you decide to get a new or used go-kart or construct one from a go-kart kit, always follow the directions closely and ask for a professional’s help if you get in a bind. Go-karting can be a fun pastime for young or experienced drivers, so during this COVID-19 lockdown, why not embark on the exciting project of building a go-kart today!