karting questions

General Questions about karting are answered here

FAQ Frequently Asked Questions about Indoor Karting

FAQ Frequently Asked Questions about Indoor Karting

How much weight can a go kart hold?

I’ve seen public rental indoor karts handle drivers up to 400lbs and possibly more. Rental tracks usually don’t like allowing drivers much over this weight because things start to break but usually if you can get into the seat, they’ll let you drive it.

Can you wear glasses go karting?

Yes you can totally wear glasses inside a helmet, even with a head sock on. The only problem is that sometimes they can become misaligned and you might need to adjust them.

How fast do indoor go karts go?

This would depend on the length of the straights at your indoor karting track because the small kart engines need time to spin up to top speed. This also depends on how much horsepower your tracks karts have. The standard combustion indoor karts by Sodi have 6.5HP, 9HP and 13HP engines. Some tracks have elevation to deal with too but not a lot of indoor tracks have this problem, most are flat. Straight sections of indoor kart tracks range from 50 meters to 150 meters. Sometimes those straights are connected through fast corners and this allows the karts to reach higher top speeds.

Rarely have I seen a kart go over 40MPH, more often they peak at around 30-40MPH. A lot of tracks use rev limiters and restrict their karts even further. I believe Sykart in Oregon is under 30MPH while Victory Lane in Charlotte might actually get above 40MPH because they often have very fast and long track sections that allow the karts to get up to speed.

Is go Karting hard?

I wrote a quick article about this here. The short version is that karting is easy and drivers of all ages can have fun at an indoor track any day or night of the week.

Is Go Karting Fun?

Karting is one of the most fun things you could ever do. I wrote more about this here.

Can you flip an indoor go kart?

The lack of power and 100% surround bumpers of indoor karts make the likelihood of flipping an indoor kart pretty low. But after observing some 10,000+ races I have seen some rare situations where indoor karts have come close. In most indoor tracks there are safety bumpers around the karts which protect the wheels from touching each other. This goes a long way towards protecting the karts from flipping.

In one rare situation I saw a session where 6 karts came side by side in a wide area of a track. The track progressively narrowed and one of the karts became pinched down onto the wall. The kart tipped over sideways and then flipped up on a pole finally coming to rest at almost 90 degrees to the ground. It did not flip, it did not roll over, but it stood upright while the driver sat strapped into the kart until a worker could come over and lift him down. Nobody was hurt and we all had a good laugh.

So in spite of how rare it might be, I think there are rare situations where it is remotely possible, and maybe a 1 in 10 million event.

How fast can a 9hp go kart go?

The 9hp kart can reach a top speed of about 45 MPH but in order to do so you need a straight section about 20 seconds or more in length. If a track only allows about 5 to 10 seconds then it’s more typical to see top speeds under 35MPH. It really depends on how much time you allow the kart to get up to speed.

Does go karting hurt?

Karting does not usually hurt and there is usually enough safety equipment like helmets and padding available. You are usually fully enclosed and protected by bumpers. However, there are always maniacs who can turn a fun day into a dangerous situation and being slammed in the side at 40MPH when you’re at a dead stop can break ribs, and easily dislocate ribs and deliver neck injuries. These kinds of injuries are most definitely painful. Be careful on an indoor track, and make sure to follow all safety guides if you don’t want to hurt yourself and others.

Is karting physically demanding?

I had a friend once who started karting just so he could lose weight. He dropped almost 50 lbs. Now while a 10 minute session wont wear you out totally, you’d be surprised at just how much energy it takes to actively race a go kart. Don’t jump in a kart if you don’t want your clothes to get wet and sticky from sweat, its pretty demanding, YES.

Does go karting Burn Calories?

Go karting will burn many more calories than just sitting in a chair. Especially if you’re trying to race competitively. It is not uncommon to be completely out of breath in a 30 minute session and in longer sessions I have seen drivers unable to hold their head up from the G forces. How many calories? I can’t be sure but I would say at least 300 per hour and possibly 400 if you’re a larger person and fighting G forces. Karts can hit up to 4 G’s and can easily hit 2 G’s in turns, those extra G’s put your body to work.

Is Indoor karting a sport?

Absolutely yes. Each year drivers from all over the world gather for National Indoor karting championships, regional championships and international karting championships. Karting is a fantastic sport for drivers of all skill levels and I encourage you to look for local racing leagues near you.

What do you wear under a go kart suit?

Some drivers wear shorts and jeans, or just underwear. Some drivers wear safety equipment like a rib protector. Take for example this K1 Rib Protector on Amazon a very common choice.

Is go karting a good date idea?

Honestly, unless your date is an amazing driver, go karting is probably not a good date idea. The reasons are that you’re not together on the track and its a very competitive environment. You neither want to be beat by your partner and nor do you want to beat then at anything. It’s also a very dirty environment. I have not seen many dates go that well at the track. Especially if this is your first time in the environment, you are both going to be very uncomfortable and intimidated.
But hey, there are going to be those who loved it and found it exciting, so test your partners sense of adventure. Just be ready for a tense time.

Is go karting like driving a car?

Go karting is much like driving a car, up until the point it becomes a race. And the thing is, when you hit an indoor go karting track, it is absolutely a race. This is where things change, because if you are slow, you become like a pedestrian walking around a Nascar track. You’ll likely get hit and bumped by faster drivers, so you need to develop some humility.

Do indoor go karts have front brakes?

No most indoor karts only have rear brakes.

How do you go on a go kart for beginners?

Its fairly straight forward, one foot for accelerator, one foot for brake, 2 hands on the steering wheel. Head up, and face towards corners (so you can see who is inside you). Go and Stop and you’ll be fine. Check your local Google Search for an indoor kart track near you, just jump in and have a go, you’ll be fine.

Are indoor go karts rear wheel drive?

Yes indoor karts use a rear wheel drive system where both wheels rotate at a uniform rate because of a solid rear axle.

How do brakes work on a go kart?

Indoor karts have a rear disk brake system that squeezes 2 pads against a rotor. The rotor will slow the rotation of the solid rear axle. Many modern braking systems disable the accelerator when you are applying the brakes to avoid safety issues for the driver and to protect wear and tear on the engine.

What engine do indoor go karts use?

The most common indoor karting engines for Sodi karts are the Honda 6HP GX200, Honda 9HP GX270 and the 13HP GX390. In some locations throughout the world Sodi uses 125cc two stroke engines. the Engec Brushless is another common karting engine for electric karts.

Do go karts have a clutch?

The most common indoor karts have automatic clutches so you do not need to use a manual clutch.

How long is a go kart race?

Most standard karting sessions are about 10 minutes long. Racing leagues can run endurance sessions of 20 to 30 minutes. In some national events there are special races that go for 12 to 24 hours long and involve relay teams.

Do indoor go karts have gears?

99.9% of Indoor rental karts do not have gears. There are some exceptions though in the world because some use DD2 two speed racing engines.

How do I get good at indoor go karting?

Practice. Go to a track more than once per week and race 4 races per visit. Read my articles and you’ll get good in no time. But Practice, Practice, Practice. Get your ‘seat time’.

How do I start go karting?

Just look up your local indoor track, and visit with a drivers license. They should have helmets and all the safety gear you need to get started. Take your own helmet and some good sturdy clothes if you have them.

What is a shifter kart?

A shifter kart has gears, and is not usually used for indoor kart rentals. They are very fast and very powerful.

Do you need sneakers for go karting?

You don’t need sneakers, but you don’t want open toe shoes. So Sneakers are great for karting.

Is indoor karting safe?

Indoor karting locations are under a lot of pressure to make sure that their rides are safe. For this reason karting locations use helmets, seat belts and large seats and bumpers to protect the passengers. One of the most common karts is the Sodi, take a look at one here.

Is go karting scary?

Go karting can be intimidating at first because a race track can be very foreign and there are people barking orders at you and waving flags at you. It can seem like it’s just another bumper car race like any Disneyland ride but it can become serious racing very quickly. Once you have done it a few times, it’s no more scary than your first day at school.

Do go karts have traction control?

Karts don’t have modern computerized traction control so you can drift them out, however karts don’t like to slide and have a tendency to slow down and bog when they slide out. So while the traction control is not on purpose they do have a limited traction control by nature of their mechanics.

What does trail braking mean?

Trail braking is a n advanced braking technique where you both turn the steering wheel into a corner while braking at the same time. Normally the safe way to brake is in a straight line. The problem happens when you turn the wheel because there is less traction when you steer. That’s because a kart likes to do one thing or the other, you can turn or you can brake, but when you ask the tires to do both, they get over worked. The most advanced drivers use trail braking because it allows you to go very deep and fast into a turn but it’s not something easily managed by beginners.

Can you wear glasses go karting?

Absolutely just slip the glasses on after you have put on your helmet, they should stay in place just fine.

Is Go Karting Hard, or Difficult?

Is Go Karting Hard, or Difficult?

Go Karting is one of those sports that is simple to learn but can take years to master. Many pros will say ‘You need seat time’. For this reason it’s not uncommon to see kids as young as 4 years old hitting the kart tracks.

Is go karting hard? Not to this youngster!
Karting is an easy sport even for youngsters and adults of all ages

Karting is also very rewarding and a lot of fun, so you can instantly feel the joy of making progress. Kart rental tracks are in almost every city of the world and small communities develop at each track. There is almost always someone around to help and give advice.

When I first started karting I was worried that I wouldn’t have what it takes to compete and so I didn’t want to get on track in real actual races. There was an indoor karting national champion at the track on that day, Mike Smith, and he told me, ‘Hey if you want to get better at this sport then jump on track with guys who are better than you, and you won’t find any better than guys running in a racing league. It doesn’t matter if you win or lose just try to come away being a little better than you were before, it’s easy as that’.

The next day, I was in a racing league, after having only 1 day on a race track. LOL, but maybe that’s a story for another time. How did I do though? I did awesome, racing is easy, you just have to get on a track and do it.

But if you’re worried about being competitive and getting to the track is too time consuming or expensive then spending some time in computer racing simulators can give you a huge edge. This makes it much easier to learn about racing.

Go karting can be hard on your body putting a lot of pressure on your ribs and on your neck. But you can get safety equipment to help with this, like Rib Protectors and Neck Braces. After about maybe 6000 races (I really don’t know how many) I don’t actually use any of this gear because the indoor karts are designed to protect you from these problems with safety pods, large seats and head padding.

So is karting hard? No, not really, it’s a lot of fun and as easy as driving a car. Karting just gets tricky when you want to compete with others because it is a sport where skill makes a huge difference between who wins races and who doesn’t.

If you haven’t done so already, give karting a go. Search for ‘indoor kart track near me’ on Google.

Is Indoor Karting Fun?

Is Indoor Karting Fun?

“I’m bored how about racing?…”

One Sunday afternoon in my late 30’s, I was bored out of my mind and wondering what I could do with myself that day. I took a quick stroll through memory lane and thought of all the coolest and most fun things I had ever done. I recalled learning how to drive as a kid on a race track with my dad and I wondered, “are there race tracks where you can rent cars around here?”
So I searched for ‘race track near me’ and an indoor go kart track came up on the results.
“Hmmm, Go karts? Aren’t they really fast? Like aren’t they like driving formula one race cars?”
So I gave the track a call and they were open and ready for “walk ins”, I guess that was me so it was about 1pm and I drove down to the track.

Is indoor karting fun? Drivers of all ages declare HELL YES!
A typical day at the indoor track. You might think it’s just for kids, but drivers of all ages test their skill and push the edge of the limits.

“Lets move out to the karting race track!”

When I got there I didn’t know what to expect, but the staff were really friendly and the karts were set up like a real little race track. They made me watch a video on flags and hand signals and got me into race gear with a helmet and overalls.
When I went out to the track there were many karts and people ready to race and a bunch of us went out together. I didn’t know any of these people but it was cool to have someone to race against.
As we sat in the pits, they started our engines and we sat there for a moment revving up and getting ready to go. I had adrenalin pumping as I looked around to see who else I was racing against. There was an older guy here, a dad and his son I think, and a few guys in their 20’s. It was ON!

“Get Ready… GO!”

They gave us the green flag, and for the first time in years I felt the joy of being allowed to drive a vehicle as fast as that vehicle would allow you to go. You know what I mean? I mean most times we have a car that we can’t speed in, we can’t floor it, we can’t really push the limits. But not on the race track, we can push it as hard as the machine will allow. Admittedly that’s not a great deal, these machines are not going to send you into a wall at 100Mph, but I found it impossible to not lose control.
As I slid around and raced against everyone on the track I became addicted. Hopelessly addicted.

“So much fun, I’m addicted to indoor karting for life..”

During this first day at an indoor race track I raced 22 times. A total of 220 minutes on the track. I ran race after race until the track closed at 11pm. A total of 10 hours at the race track. Since that day I have clocked up thousands of more races. I also became involved in league racing tournaments, national and international racing events.
Now would I say karting is fun?

“You betcha it’s fun! There’s almost nothing I would rather do.”

If you haven’t done so already, give karting a go. Search for ‘indoor kart track near me’ on Google.

Is Indoor go Karting Dangerous?

Is Indoor go Karting Dangerous?

As a regular at indoor karting tracks with more then 6000 races under my belt, I would love to say that Indoor Karting is not dangerous at all, but I can’t really in good conscience. Let me back up a bit though, it’s about as dangerous as crossing a busy street, with a helmet on your head.

By this I mean, ‘if you decide to walk in traffic without paying attention you’re going to get run over and killed’. Likewise, if you’re driving on a busy road you’d better look where you are going or you’ll either crash into someone or have someone crash into you. This is a real possibility, but are you going to blindly wander around a race track? Probably not, and I think this is why for most the risk is minimal.

However, it really depends on who you are on the track with. Over thousands of races I have totally seen people who are not paying any attention to where they are, or where they are going. I’ve seen all types.

While 9 out of 10 people are conscious of the fact that they could hurt someone, there’s always that 1 in 10 who has no clue at all. Facility workers can get pretty nasty with these types and can come on pretty strong. Now when someone honestly has no clue at all that they’re a menace, an angry track worker in your face can be a very confusing thing. Just look at the reviews of indoor tracks anywhere and you will see a common theme about the track worker who was mean to someone. Confrontations can even get physical as drivers react (especially drunk drivers). But try not to worry about the workers too much, in almost every case there is something dangerous going on and people who are not aware of it. Its the track workers job to make sure people don’t hurt each other.

There are idiots who show up every now and then (and who are not regulars themselves) who get a bit carried away by the fun and excitement of being able to race as fast as the pedal will allow them to. It is not uncommon for these types to use the kart as a ramming device. The facility will try to manage the situation but its not always possible until someone shows their colors. Unfortunately, not everyone realizes that they have a 1000lb weapon under their seat, or what a 1000lb weapon can do. And what they do is bruise and dislocate ribs and give you neck injuries.

Another common situation that can happen at peak hours is the pros and semi-pros will show up. When you get a situation where average drivers are on track with pros, its as if someone came along and grid locked a freeway and there’s a police chase going on in the middle of it all. As a faster driver, I must say, this is a blast.

Now a true pro is a graceful picture of elegance. They can weave through chaos like you would not believe. Flying through dozens of average drivers as if they are sitting still, without touching anyone. It’s really something quite amazing. But it takes a long time to get to that level.

The trouble usually comes with developing drivers who have developed their skill to be fast, but they have not yet the experience to deal with newer drivers in traffic. A lesser experienced driver can be very unpredictable, whereas a veteran will be totally predictable. For example a common problem is for a lesser experienced driver to spin out and lose control, coming to a dead stop in the middle of a turn. A pro who is at top speed can find themselves with less than 0.200 of a second to deal with a sudden stop right in front of them. Collisions happen right there. Now a top pro is going to predict the accident, and compensate, you’ll see it coming from a mile away if you’re paying attention to the other drivers on track with you. But it takes some time to develop that sensitivity.

So you’re at some risk when you’re on track with pros, but only if you can’t drive yourself and you have a habit of losing control, spinning out and parking yourself in front of others who are much faster than you.

So here’s how you can keep things safe for yourself.

#1 Teach your kids (and yourself) how to LET BY safely. That means how to let faster drivers pass you without being a danger to yourself and others.
The trick is fairly easy, you use corners, and just go as wide as possible through a turn, and just point your finger to the inside to let the driver know you are letting them pass.
DO NOT try to let the driver pass you on the OUTSIDE! I should repeat that.
DO TRY to let the driver pass you on the INSIDE of the corner. YOU take the outside.
If you do this properly you will lose very little speed, and you’ll have very little chance of having an accident.
By properly you should leave a gap of about a kart width between you and the apex. You just basically travel a kart length further before you turn into the turn and take the whole turn later.

#2. If you are new, as a general rule, get off the gas as you come into a turn, coast to the middle and WAIT until you get to the middle of the turn to get back on the gas.
I REPEAT.. coast and WAIT to get on the gas until you are clearly PAST the middle point of the turn. This will stop you from sliding and losing control in front of other drivers. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you get this right. It is a very common problem with newer drivers who want to race and who rush to speed out of turns and get on the gas too much too early. They slide out of control.

Believe it or not, this one trick is usually the only thing you need to be the fastest person on the track. Wait until you are PAST the middle of a turn before you get back on the gas.

#3 If you are not going to let someone pass you, be prepared to get nailed in the next turn. There is really no way to stop someone who is determined to smash into you, from catching you in the next turn. And when they do, they can give you quite the neck injury. You should keep that in mind and err on the side of courtesy. Let faster drivers by, politely.

On the other hand, if you MUST block, then you should probably also know that a pro is going to take advantage of you, no matter what you do. That’s because any deviation from the best line will cause a cascading side effect that will make you a slow target down the track. But even the optimal line has holes in it, and a pro will target this. Let me say, there IS a way to block skillfully, but trying to explain all the 100’s of different situations is a bit beyond this article. Let me tell you, it’s really funny when you have a driver in front of you who is more interested in looking behind himself (to block you) than where he is going and you still pass them like they’re sitting still. I’ve even seen pros who wait for the really aggressive drivers to catch up, and then deliberately pinched them off into the wall. Stuck.

Conclusion: Is indoor karting dangerous?
For experienced drivers or newer drivers with a little humility (and don’t mind letting faster drivers pass them) there’s very little risk. But what is dangerous are people and their intentions. The chance of being killed is pretty much zero, but if you have others on the track who are going to be maniacs, yeah you can get hurt. Really bad drivers (and there are LOTS of those) go out and hurt themselves because they basically race themselves into accidents. These are not your weekend warriors and pros but drivers who are intent to push the limits, but have not yet earned the skill to do so. Those guys are scary.