Karting, the sport that shapes future drivers

Karting races are often a training ground in which the young generation of motoring is trained, destined to become great drivers of cars or motorcycles. On board the go-karts, inside a kart track, you can experiment and increase your skills on the track. Karting, however, is not the younger brother of Formula 1, but a full-fledged motorsport, with its championships and adrenaline-pumping challenges.

There is one thing that unites the racing past of many great Formula 1 champions, from Senna to Verstappen, and that is karting . Racing on go-karts , in fact, is the first approach that aspiring drivers have with the track and with speed. The kart track is a kind of gym that you can start attending at a young age (you can start at 6). For this reason, karting is much more than a race aboard curious “machines”, but a real sport , with its rules and its international competitions, and above all with great competitive value. So it’s worth getting to know him a little better.

Become a pilot for a day

What is karting: characteristics and history of a sport with a long tradition

According to the basic definition, karting is that specialty of motorsport that is raced with karts , that is, small motor vehicles , of which there are different variants. The characterizing element, therefore, is the means used, which has a very particular aspect. The first go-kart prototype dates back to 1956 and is the work of Art Ingels , American racing car builder and Kurtis Kraft technician. In his intentions, that machine was to be just a pastime for his little son. Instead, it turned out to be a powerful intuition, capable of writing unforgettable pages in the world of engines. In fact, as early as 1957, they were developed in California the first real karts : compact vehicles, with minimum height from the ground and without suspensions, flexible chassis, rear-wheel drive and an engine with limited power, which however makes them capable of going up to a speed of 100 km / h. And the first official karting competition was organized in Nassau in 1959.

Find out more about the Justspeed Monza Karting, the kart track of the Autodromo Nazionale Monza

Karting in Italy

Although its origins are American, karting boasts a long and glorious tradition in Italy , where it arrived already in 1957 and where today there are numerous kart tracks . The first exhibition of a kart took place on the track of the Autodromo Nazionale Monza , while the production of these vehicles in Italy is closely linked to the name of Nicolò Donà delle Rose , a pioneer in the sector. Over the years, then, “made in Italy” drivers and teams have distinguished themselves for their successes on the track at an international level. To realize this, it is enough to scroll through the golden books of single -speed kart and shifter kart competitions.

All the karting events of the Autodromo Nazionale Monza

Kart types and race categories

The aforementioned distinction between single-speed karts and shifter karts is a prime example of how different types of karts exist. Differences that are also reflected in the competitions and the age of the drivers who can drive the various vehicles.

Another fundamental distinction is that relating to motors , which can be:

  • 4 times;
  • 2 stroke 100 cm³ racing;
  • 2 stroke 125 cm³ racing family KF;
  • 2 stroke 125 cm³ KZ family;
  • 125 cm³ TAG family.

The weight (vehicle + driver) is also very important, which is linked to the driving age and the race category, as shown in the table below.

Age (years) Category Minimum weight (Kg)
6 to 7 60 Baby 85
from 8 to 9 years 60 Baby 95
from 8 to 9 years 125 Rotax micro 105
from 9 to 12 years 60 Mini 110
from 9 to 12 years 125 Rotax mini 115
from 12 to 15 years OKJ Cadets 135
from 12 to 15 years National OKJ 135
from 12 to 15 years 125 Rotax Junior 145
for 14 years and 6 months OK National 145
for 14 years and 6 months 125 National KZ2 175
for 14 years and 6 months 125 Club 180
for 15 years 125 Rotax max 160
for 15 years 125 KZ2 175
from 17 to 35 years 125 Prodriver under 175
over 35 years 125 Rotax max over 168
over 35 years 125 Prodriver over 180

National and international karting competitions

The large number of kart categories means that there are many different karting competitions, both nationally and internationally. On a world scale, however, the most coveted titles undoubtedly remain those offered by the FIA karting division , which go under the name of FIA Karting World Championship (single race). Similar speech for the European panorama, dominated by the FIA karting European Championship (tournament with several races in different countries of the old continent). In Italy, however, the most important trophy is organized and promoted by the ACI and is called the Italian ACI Karting Championship , organized in 8 different classes (some with 3 races, others with 5).

The complete guide to the Italian ACI Karting Championship