Karting offers an affordable way to get into wheel-to-wheel racing. There are a number of different kart classes and championships in Scotland that cover a wide range of ages and budgets.
The performance to cost of karts is unrivalled in motorsport. Lightweight, low centre of gravity and sticky tyres allowing them to corner at over 2G – similar to the lower levels of single seater racing.
Even at the elite level of Formula One, the drivers are often reported to be out testing in karts as part of their training.
Getting into kart racing can be a daunting experience with the array of kit out on the market.
Don’t rush out and buy something without doing your homework. The first thing to do is get down to your local club and scope out what classes have good grids. Whilst you are there take the opportunity to speak to others in the paddock or even club officials to find out more.
You’ve done your homework, you know what class you want to pursue and now you’re ready to buy.
Whether you buy new or used kit will largely be dictated by your budget. Retirement packages are most likely the most cost effective way to get started.
There is no harm by starting your search contacting local kart dealers, even if you don’t want to buy new they may know of or have second-hand equipment on offer.
If you’re looking at buying “privately” then the recommendation is to try buy locally from someone who is or has actively been involved in a kart club. Karts are relatively simple machines but twisted frames and poorly maintained engines can go unnoticed until you lay it down on the circuit.
If you do look to purchase further afield through the likes of eBay and Facebook – make sure you are satisfied with what you’re buying. If you can seek advice from someone with knowledge then even better.
The internet is a powerful tool to help you fact check adverts. If it claims to be a race winning kart, look up the results for yourself. Likewise if it claims little hours on the engine but hasn’t been rebuilt for a period of time then look back to see how active that member has been in result pages. Whilst not entirely accurate you can help paint a picture of whether the information you’re being told seems legit.
Typically if the kart looks clean then it’s a good sign that the owner has taken care of it but a shiny new sticker kit can be deceiving.
Look over the frame for any signs of non-factory welds from accident damage. The areas of biggest concern are around the steering yokes and the rear axle mountings. If the repairs haven’t been carried out correctly this could have an impact on the karts handling.
Next step is to look under the frame for any excessive flattening on the chassis bars. If the bars have been excessively worn this can have an impact on the karts handling. If you have alignment lasers then this can give a good indication of how straight the kart is – if you don’t you could ask the seller to laser it for you. It’s a two minute process.
Engines are much harder to validate their performance and mileage. Visually if the engine looks clean and revs cleanly on the stand this is the best you can do without seeing it on track. If the engine is claimed to be serviced and maintained then ask to see receipts of the work carried out. Sealed classes like Rotax also have logbooks which will allow you to see how recently it has been serviced. If you take a note of the engine number you can also contact the importer who can advise what was replaced in the last service.
With the above in mind you also have to take into consideration whether the price reflects the condition.