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Hey folks, rhetoric question: has any of you thought about racing gokarts? Does anybody already do it? I am sure it did cross your mind as you were repairing a fender or buying new tires...

 

I have been thinking about it for many reasons and I just wanted to check if any junkie is already doing it.

 

There's a race this Sunday AM just outside of Houston (Katy, TX) organized by these guys http://www.racekarts.com/ and I think I want to go to check it out. Let me know if anyone wants to come, I want to understand how do classes work, ages, type of gokarts, etc...

 

After all, it's still racing.

 

Cheers,

Andre

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Karts are smaller and lighter an faster on small courses, but the risk of injury from contact or a minor off sending the kart rolling is higher.

 

Don't think that its cheaper than road racing by any means, but consider it full-out racing in a tiny car.

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Karts are smaller and lighter an faster on small courses, but the risk of injury from contact or a minor off sending the kart rolling is higher.

 

Don't think that its cheaper than road racing by any means, but consider it full-out racing in a tiny car.

 

I am aware of the risks involved, but I think you can't compare it to road racing and that is why I did not mention it.

 

On the cost side, I think it is much cheaper than racing a Miata but I am not looking for an economic reason to judge karting. 

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Raced Rotax SR in 2005-2009, switched to Spec Miata 2010.  (SM is at 2x maybe 4x the cost of Rotax).  Karts are awesome and if my body would take the abuse, I'd consider returning to karts.  Your approach is right, check out Gulf Coast, like most motor-heads, they will be happy to answer your questions between heats.

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Just got ahold of a 2 seater kart for the wee one. No experience, though. It needs some work...It's been sitting a while, so I'm gonna pull the motor to see if I can salvage it. It's gonna need a chain, brakes, tires. It doesn't seem like that much because it's so tiny. Haven't really looked at prices yet. 

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They rock. Ran a friends Rotax kart a few years ago and it was a blast. If I was younger, a shifter cart would be high on my list. Unfortunately, it would be too damn harsh for this swivel chair operator. Sure its not cheap, but is way cheaper than cars.

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If you run anything competitively especially shifters expect to spend more in a year than what a typical racing budget is for a small racecar. There is a LOT of maintenance to keep up with for any two cycle kart. Think...3hrs of work, 10-15min of driving. I used to race karts and a co-instructor was even more into than I was so I know first hand it is NOT cheaper than a Miata if you plan on racing competitively. You will go through a lot of tires and carb/fuel rebuilds. Probably a few piston ring swaps as well as that is a wear item on the shifters. The fully built sweedtech 125cc engines will run you almost $7k. But if you just plan on driving and goofing off then you can pick up a used one and just go play with it.

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Shifter kart yes, but I would say Chonda or Tag/Rotax isn't too bad cost-wise. I'm looking to get a Chonda soon, I think that class has many parallels to W2W car racing. They're not fast, but they really test your mental game and help you with your racecraft.

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As with any sport, there will always be someone there with more money.  New tires every race, overhaul the engine every other race and 4 spares in the trailer..  you can run MUCH cheaper if you're willing to settle for mid-pack, but to run up front it's going to cost money in any form of motorsport.   Running up front in a kart will cost you less than running up front in a race car, but those that think karts are 'cheap' will have a different opinion of what 'cheap' means.  Also note there are cheap karts and expensive karts..  you can easily blow $2500 a weekend if you want to.  you could also run old tires and finish mid pack and 'only' blow a few hundred in a weekend..

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Why the heck would you only want to finish mid pack?? If that was the case I'd stay home and save the money

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That's a reality for many racers out there.  can't afford the cubic yards of cash to run up front, so they race what they can afford and enjoy playing in traffic. 

 

 

....  This is coming from the poor boy on the block that's currently 3rd in national points because his mid-pack car actually FINISHES every race. ;)

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Matt is correct. Front pack equals more money spent. Not worth it IMO for a kart. Becomes an arms race to race.

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I was reeeeeeeeeeeally trying to stay out of the money factor...but I failed.

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Karting is a blast. I did a little road racing with the SWRA and KART a few years back and loved it. I'm a big guy for karts, 6'4" and 210ish lbs when I'm down to as skinny enough that my family and friends start to worry that I'm terminal, and I still was giving away weight. I started with a Rotax, went to 125 Mod Shifter, 125 Stock Shifter and finally to Chonda. With the Chonda I lost interest because I ran out of time to go practice and iron the kart out. Looking back I had the most fun on the Rotax. It was easier to tune and the parity in the class was closer. On the shifters, like was mentioned above, you spend a ton of time working on the kart between rounds. A dirt bike motor turning >12,000 rpms and no suspension rattles the S out of everything. Safety wire and Locktite are your friends.

 

I missed karting so much I bought another Rotax and plan on running at Gulf Coast in Tag Masters this fall for a few races and spend some time out there practicing along with what ever road races I can afford to make. Oh yeah and the Lone Star Gran Prix http://www.lonestargrandprix.us is an awesome race in Lockhart that is becoming an annual thing. I recommend finding a Rotax Kart and come give it a try. With that all being said I still want to go race Spec Miata and will probably start my build this fall/winter. Feel free to ask any questions you'd like and I'll do my best to answer them.

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5 Years later, still thinking about it 

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LOL do it.  you'll have a blast.  my daughter is now on 3rd season of racing and my son will be starting kid karts when he turns 5 this summer.  I bought a beater kart to play with on practice days, but am not going to race so I can focus on keeping the kids on track.

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Ive been thinking about it for a while.   LO206 is probably what I would get.

 

my concern isn’t money it’s time tho.  It seems that most weekends revolve around the car.

right now I’ll stick to rental kart racing in the interim.

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1 hour ago, lobster said:

 

Ive been thinking about it for a while.   LO206 is probably what I would get.

 

my concern isn’t money it’s time tho.  It seems that most weekends revolve around the car.

right now I’ll stick to rental kart racing in the interim.

Why the LO206? Sounds like a lawn mower. Is that category what it would be a spec miata category?

 

i want a shifter kart.

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While the costs are *significantly* lower than a car, karts are much more labor intensive.  While I admit that I take my time while working on them, I spend about as much time in the garage as I do on track.  that also depends on whether you have someone else do the work and/or spend much time off course.   The biggest time sink is tearing down the rear axle and cleaning parts after an off when chain and bearings are packed with dirt.

I get very good use out of my parts washer and ultrasonic cleaner in the garage now..  before, I used the parts washer a couple times a year.  I'm in it nearly every week after a kart race now!

Tires last multiple weekends depending on the speed of the kart and your competitiveness.  typical set of tires is ~$220 and with just a few bucks in tools and compressed air/nitrogen, you can mount/dismount/ flip your own tires in a few minutes.  Since I have an enclosed trailer dedicated for the karts, I keep just about everything needed for spares in the trailer and the tools to do it.  just about anything short of an engine rebuild or chassis damage, I can fix at the track.

 

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50 minutes ago, HDA said:

Why the LO206? Sounds like a lawn mower. Is that category what it would be a spec miata category?

 

i want a shifter kart.

Yes..  LO206 is a sealed 4 stroke engine, approx 12hp.  rebuild the head once a season for $125 (or $25 in parts if you do it yourself.)

it's the Spec Miata of kart racing.  you pick your chassis and setup to go around it, but the engine is sealed and spec tires for the class.  otherwise, it's tune + setup + driving to win.

 

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I want the 2 strokes - pissed off - bam bam bam ( gears changing) experience 🙂

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4 hours ago, HDA said:

I want the 2 strokes - pissed off - bam bam bam ( gears changing) experience 🙂

Then, that's shifter. That's like buying a ridiculously overpowered/ twitchy car to do your first track day.

Edit: Also like buying a 1000CC sports bike just after getting your motorcycle license, you're sure go fast, but hard to learn anything of substance quickly.

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3 minutes ago, dunhamr1 said:

Then, that's shifter. That's like buying a ridiculously overpowered/ twitchy car to do your first track day.

Perfect

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28 minutes ago, Matt93SE said:

While the costs are *significantly* lower than a car, karts are much more labor intensive.  While I admit that I take my time while working on them, I spend about as much time in the garage as I do on track.  that also depends on whether you have someone else do the work and/or spend much time off course.   The biggest time sink is tearing down the rear axle and cleaning parts after an off when chain and bearings are packed with dirt.

I get very good use out of my parts washer and ultrasonic cleaner in the garage now..  before, I used the parts washer a couple times a year.  I'm in it nearly every week after a kart race now!

Tires last multiple weekends depending on the speed of the kart and your competitiveness.  typical set of tires is ~$220 and with just a few bucks in tools and compressed air/nitrogen, you can mount/dismount/ flip your own tires in a few minutes.  Since I have an enclosed trailer dedicated for the karts, I keep just about everything needed for spares in the trailer and the tools to do it.  just about anything short of an engine rebuild or chassis damage, I can fix at the track.

 

This is very good info. Thanks.

i am running out of space at home with “stuff” so I may look into unloading some vehicles.

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Sent you a PM...I know of a Stock Honda for sale at a really good price. Let me know if you want the contact info assuming its still available. I'm currently racing Master Shifter (over 30 years old) and can answer any questions you have on the class.

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