By reading this you have taken the first step – seek proper information. Obviously the Internet provides an easy starting point of reference. As much as you can learn on the Internet there is a point at which you are going to need to talk to someone in person. The best places to start are 1) At a racing school, 2) Your local karting dealership and 3) Your local karting facility.
Racing schools offer many advantages to those new to karting. Racing schools provide the opportunity to learn from experienced drivers in all aspects of the karting experience. Racing schools not only cover karting basics, but also racing technique and typical kart and engine maintenance. The opportunity to learn the right way to do things can save you hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars in repairs and maintenance. In addition, racing schools provide the opportunity to “test before you invest” – they provide the opportunity for the beginner to make a much more informed decision regarding their entry into the sport.
Starting with your local karting dealership provides an opportunity to learn from an individual(s) who not only have a vested interest in the sport, but have made an investment in karting. We highly recommend you deal with a legitimate karting dealership as opposed to an individual who is merely trying to sell you their used equipment. (As a point of reference many shops often have used packages available). These shops will be able to provide you the insight and experience necessary to ensure your karting experience starts out on track. In addition, these are the people that are able to provide the much needed support to beginning racers at the track. Try getting support from someone you bought a kart off of E-bay from on race day…
Attending your nearest karting facility provides the opportunity to find out what they actually run at the local track. There are many choices. 4-cycle, 2-cycle, Touch-and-Go (TAG) and Shifterkart classes are all predominant in different pockets of the country (influenced heavily by what the local shops support). 100cc classes refer to the displacement of the engine. In karting, 100cc classes are 2 cycle classes, air or water cooled, and utilize an external starting mechanism. The predominant engines are Yamaha and HPV. Classes are differentiated by age groups, weight and horsepower (typically affected by exhaust and carburetor choices). These classes provide an excellent segment for juniors and adult drivers with no or limited understanding of racing or mechanics. TaG (Touch-and-Go) classes represent the newest segment of karting introduced within the last few years. TaG engines offer both 100cc and 125cc models, both air-cooled and water-cooled. These engines utilize on-board push button starters and reduced maintenance costs. These classes provide an excellent segment for juniors and adult drivers with limited exposure to racing principles and mechanics that have an interest in high-performance karting with limited maintenance needs. Shifterkart classes typically utilize 6-speed sequential gearbox watercooled engines. While a motocross engine provided the staple of growth for this segment, pure bred gearbox engines developed strictly for karting (referred to as ICC) have grown in popularity over the past few years. This segment is recommended only to beginners that have previous experience in motorsports and advanced mechanical aptitude.
Of course these are only recommendations. Be sure to see what is prevalent in your area and what is supported by the local dealership(s).
Okay, back to the task of finding the rest of the information you’ll need to convince yourself that karting is a sport that you should be in. Find your favorite sites on the web and bookmark them. Investigate the class structure and where the local race program starts their new karters. This will be your guide to what kind of equipment you will need to buy. The equipment, although looking somewhat similar, is specialized for each type of kart racing in which you can become involved. It’s very easy to make mistakes buying equipment that just won’t fit the class rules once you get it to the track.