Getting Started


Kart racing is the world’s most popular and least expensive form of racing, but don’t let the size of the vehicles or the smaller price tag fool you — racing karts have the gut-wrenching, nail-biting excitement of full-sized, open wheel racing. Adrenaline is a key component of kart racing — get into a kart and you will see. Although scaled down in terms of speed and complexity, karting compares favorably to Indy cars and Formula 1 racing in terms of on-track feel.

Just like the “big boys”, a racing kart takes meticulous preparation.  Chassis setup, motor work, modifications, and innovation each play an important part in being competitive.  Racing karts have an advantage for the average citizen as they are small and comparatively inexpensive to own and operate.  Just the same, a racing kart takes substantial amount of time to assemble, setup and maintain, and a stout pocket book helps.

Here are some things to consider for the beginner.

What’s the best way to get started?

First things first. Come and visit us on race day. Spectating out side of the pit area is free. See the karts in action. Everyone is welcome to come up and watch a race. For insurance purposes, spectators are required to purchase a pit pass for $10. The pass will allow you to walk around the pits and see the karts up close. Click here for directions.

Next, come back and attend another kart race, perhaps even several. Ask questions and start looking more closely at the different classes. Introduce yourself to some of the karters. PSGKA members are always helpful and willing to answer your questions and there are always dealers trailers set up at the track on race day.

Once you’ve narrowed down which class or classes you are interested in, it’s time to find your first kart. New or used? It’s up to you and your pocketbook. Many racers start with used equipment while they learn the ins-and-outs of kart driving and set-up, then sell it after the first season and buy new equipment.

After that, practice, practice, practice. Become comfortable driving the kart fast. PSGKA offers a novice driver lesson for people new to the sport . PSGKA members can practice at the track according to the track practice schedule for free.

When you feel comfortable in the kart and you’ve mastered basic kart maintenance, you should be ready to enter your first race!

How fast do the karts go?

It varies depending on the class, kid karts go about 25 mph, but the shifter karts are going about 75 mph at the end of the straight.

How old do I have to be? What’s the oldest I can be?

Karting can be enjoyed at different levels and by almost anyone. Casual karters can limit themselves to practicing, or competing at the less threatening club level. More serious karters can compete at the regional, national, or even the international level. Karting is suitable for all age groups from 5 and up. Separate classes exist for ages 5-7, 8-11, 12-15, 16+ and 40+. There is a good balance of men and women karters, battling it out on an equal playing field (Angela Cope was the 1998 IKF Region 6 champion, and Leah Envolsen was the 2000 PSGKA rookie of the year!). A day at the races is a great family event, with plenty to do and people to meet, whether competing or not.

Do I need a license to race?

No, you do not need to be licensed, but you need to join the IKF to race at a PSGKA event.  Club members get a discounted entry fee for club events. You should develop basic kart control skills before attempting to race.

Can I test drive a kart? Do I have to race?

Yes, a one day driver pass is available if you want to test drive a club members kart. Only PSGKA members may use the track for general practice. All non-club members must have a practice pass, which must be purchased by a club member (with the non-club member present) from a board member or delegate.

The PSGKA club member must accompany the non-member at the track during the practice time. The fee for this pass is $10.00. There is a limit of one pass per person per year. Everyone must abide by all PSGKA rules and the non-member can only practice on a PSGKA member’s go-kart.

You don’t have to race to enjoy driving a kart. A number of PSGKA members attend open practice days and never enter a race.

Is karting a physical sport? 

Very much so! Holding up to 2.5 G in a corner requires a high degree of physical fitness. Take a look at a related article on the ten health benefits of karting. 


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