The Sport of Go Karting

The Sport of Go Karting

Go Karting Centres – Not just fun and games

You may have visited a go karting centre recently, whether it be eastern creek go karts in Sydney or Todd Road kart track in the heart of Melbourne, a go kart from the outside is a pretty simple piece of machinery, Four wheels, a small engine and a steering wheel. The truth of the matter is, a go kart is actually a complex machine and the sport of karting has led to the careers of ex and current top flight racing drivers. In fact the majority of the Formula 1 field learnt their craft from driving go-karts and there hasn’t been a world champion in the last decade that does not have a karting background!

The basics of how a kart works

Even though a kart is a simple machine, there is a lot more going on than meets the eye. The first thing you may (or may not) notice is that there is no suspension at all. A suspension on a car allows the car to absorb bumps in the road, but also allows the transfer of weight so a car can turn a corner efficiently. A kart however is different because the frame itself is in fact its suspension along with the minimal movement of the tires. The frame itself is designed to ‘flex’ and bend throughout a corner acting as suspension by transferring weight a force from the inner wheels to the outer wheels. A well set u go kart will in fact ‘three-wheel’ through a corner to unload the inner wheel so as to avoid cornering problems such as understeer.

Secondly the accelerating and braking is highly unassisted and if you are too anxious on either, you risk ending up in the opposite direction. Most karts in kart centres have a single brake attached to the rear axle meaning if you get a little zealous with the brake you risk a spin and a direct throttle response can also prove a little too demanding for the average driver to master. Forget traction control and ABS braking, this is driving at its purest and is one of the reasons top flight F1 drivers continue to head to the kart track to maintain their ultra-fast reflexes.

Even though hire kart centre go-karts do not have the overall sophistication, power or grip that you would find in competition karts, the basics remain the same. So here are a few tips:

  1. Accelerate smoothly and keep it linear. The accelerator pedal is NOT an on/off switch.
  2. Brake steadily and firmly – Don’t gradually increase braking pressure but apply a solid foot and hold it
  3. Brake in a straight line – don’t try to brake turning into a corner, brake in a straight line until you are ready to turn into the corner
  4. Keep it straight – the straighter you can keep the wheel for longer, the faster you will go. Focus on getting the wheel straight as soon as you can to avoid losing speed.

The key with go karts is to have fun but understand that this is a serious sport to many and the skills you learn at the track, are the same ones top flight racing pilots rely on day in day out.

You can find a host of go kart centres near you or go kart suppliers on Whether you want to hire a kart or buy your own one to compete, you have started your journey at the right place.

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