|Tech Talk: So You Want to Go Kart Racing?
|Article by: -by Terry Nash
|I am often asked to give a brief rundown on what it takes to go kart racing. After listening to myself numerous times give a spiel about it, I've come to the conclusion that there is no brief rundown. To say the least, there is an enormous list of equipment and tools needed to mount a successful racing campaign. All the top drivers you read and hear about have a well-equipped team to thank for their efforts. The degree of your involvement will, no doubt, be dictated by the budget you set aside for racing. When my son and I first became involved, we set up a budget according to what we could afford and what events we could attend. I don't mind telling you that we were quite frugal in our early efforts. We practiced a lot, which allowed us to see what tools and spares we would need without being tossed into a tense race-weekend environment. This method, along with observing other teams much better equipped than ourselves, helped us to make up a wish list.
I would have to say that the driver's safety gear is at the top of the list of wants. The helmet, neck collar, gloves, long pants, jacket, and high top shoes are essential for driver protection in the event of a collision. Second among the priorities would be a kart chassis made specifically for race competition, with all the necessary hardware drilled for safety wire installation. There are a lot of fun, recreational karts out there, but in my book, they are not suitable for competition.
There are different degrees of tooling for karting and the list I made is designed to make it easy on yourself in the early stages of racing. All of the tools and accessories need to be organized for ease of use at the track and storage when not in use. A table to lay out the tools on race or practice days provides not only an organized place for them, but also a work bench to tinker upon. Aerosol lubricants and cleaners, along with a bunch of rags, are a must for obvious reasons. How many of us know of a motorsport where there is not dirt, grease and oil that gets on virtually everything?
Whether you choose to race the thundering 4-cycle or the high-winding 2-cycle classes, the tools and equipment listed will crossover in most races, which gives you, the racer, some flexibility in your race effort. With all that in mind, here's your list.
Helmet (minimum Snell rating of 95 or higher) $125-$400
Neck collar $22
Jacket and long pants, or driving suit $150-$200 (for suit)
High top shoes $25-$150
Fire extinguisher $15
Compressed air tank $30
Rags Free from home
Chain lube $3
Aerosol Brake and Clutch Cleaner $3
Fuel (with container) $13
Fuel Oil Mix (2 cycle) $4.50
Assorted zip ties $11
Kart stand $110-$300
Shade cover $45-$300
Duct tape $2
Assorted nuts and bolts $25
Assorted allen “T” wrenches (metric and American) $16
A 3/8 drive socket set &
assorted end wrenches (metric and American) $75
Tape measure $2
Screw drivers (Phillips and Flat Blade) $8
Emery paper (150 grit) $5
Tool box $15
Dead blow hammer $25
Vice grips $15
Drill & assorted bits $65
Tire pressure gauge $20-$50
Spare spark plugs $1.95 (each)
Assorted sprockets $18 (each)
Extra fuel line $1 per foot
Extra fuel filter $1.95
Tach and cylinder head temperature instrument $150
Tires (new or used) $60-$175
Safety wire $6.50
Clutch $100 (used), $200/up (new)
Motor (depending on 2 or 4 Cycle, new or used) $400-$2500
There are many things the person new to karting needs and wants to know. If you want a question about karting answered, please send us an email at email@example.com and we'll get the information out to you.
Original version of article printed in Go Racing magazine.