How to get started in karting

The majority of kart racers participate for pure enjoyment, however, for certain individuals it is a serious stepping-stone towards a professional racing career.  Most Formula-1 drivers started their racing careers with karts, and many drive karts between seasons to keep reflexes and skills honed.  Read about the sport of karting below.

Beginners Guide to Karting

Beginners Check List

SIMA Membership Information


Since the sport is affordable, karting is a perfect venue for learning the basics about competition racing, vehicle setup and engine tuning. Whether you have aspirations to become a professional race car driver or you just like the technology of racing and enjoy the idea of tinkering with your own vehicle, karting is a fun, friendly, exciting and competitive sport for everyone to enjoy. Kart racing is the best and cheapest family-oriented form of motorsport with driver ages starting at 7 years old and continuing into their sixties.


Just like any other racing activity, the purpose of professional karting is to reach the finish line first. The act of changing the tunable settings on the kart is straightforward and can be done without expensive tools or complete pit-crews.


Professional karting is accessible for individuals from all levels and backgrounds. Being successful in the top levels of kart racing requires the same peak physical condition and mental strength as other forms of motor racing.


Specifically designed competition race karts are extremely responsive and agile vehicles; however, they are not complicated or expensive. They have no suspension, no differential, no roll bars, no seat belt systems…just four wheels and an engine! This basic system makes it easier for novice racer to comprehend the vehicle in its totality and to identify and focus on those components that may be adjusted or tuned for optimum performance.


Italian Motors USA can provide you with everything you could possibly need to enter the world of professional kart racing, and a relatively modest budget can get you started:

  • Chassis Kart, New or Used
    The amount of money you choose to invest initially in the kart is up to you. As a beginner, a used kart in good condition (not more than 5 years old with the frame still straight) is an option worth consideration. Approximate price range: between $1,500 to $5,000. These costs can, however, be completely open-ended and can get more expensive in some classes of karting. You should also compare prices and options for a new set-up.
  • Engine Kart, New or Used
    Two types of engines are used in karting: two-stroke and four-stroke. Traditionally, most karts internationally were, and still are, powered by two-stroke engines.  You can view used kart packages at under the used equipment section.
  • Club Membership and Race Fees
    Include in your budget a few hundred dollars per year for club membership and race fees. To the beginner, one of the most confusing aspects of karting is the vast variety of classes to choose from. Go to watch the races and talk with the drivers to determine the class that will fit the best for you. The difference classes, basically, breakdown into the following categories:
    Junior or Senior 
    Light or Heavy drivers Shifter and Non-Shifters. A multitude of different engines are also supported by a multitude of additional classes.
  • Spare Parts and Racewear
    Include in your budget approximately $500 to $2,000 for additional spare parts, extra tires and professional engine maintenance for a season. Don't forget you will also need a snell approved helmet, gloves, high top shoes, a neck brace and a rib protector.  Transporting your Kart: The back of a pick-up truck, a small trailer or the back of a van will usually be quite sufficient to transport your kart to a race. Racers have also been known to transport their kart in the back of a station wagon or strapped to the roof of their vehicle.
  • Storing your Kart:
    A shed or small garage will work well as a working/storage area for your kart. A kart can also be stored up-right against a wall, and therefore does not take-up much space.  IMUSA also offers storage and kart maintenance on site.
  • Tools:
    As far as tools are concerned, a good set of metric wrenches will be most important.