A kart is a small purpose-designed single-seat racing car designed for cheap motor racing or fun use. Karts were initially created in the U.S in the 1950s post-war period by airmen as a way to pass spare time. Slowly karts spread to other countries.

To qualify as a kart, the vehicle must meet the following criteria:

Table of contents
1 Contruction
2 Racing


Normally, the kart is of extremely minimal design and is often powered by a single-piston engine intended for a lawnmower or chainsaw. A tubular steel-frame is used and there is unlikely to be any suspension. Wheels are much smaller than used for a normal racing car and most karts do without a gearbox.


The chassis is an extremely important element of the kart, as it must provide, via flex, sufficient grip of the kart (due to its not having any suspension. Chassis contruction is normally of a tubular construction, typically steel, with different grades of tube (smaller/bigger etc.) as well as their actual construction, offering different values of flexibility.

Typically, for dry conditions a stiffer chassis (with less flex) is better and in wet or other conditions of poor adherence, a flexible chassis (more flex) is preferable.

Specific manufactureres exist for race-quality chassis, probably the best wll-known being TonyKart.

Motor and Fuel

The motor is a critical part of a kart, as it doesn't tend to go too far without one. Several types are available, as well as differing fuel options.

  • Petrol (4-stroke or 2-stroke)
  • Methanol (or other alcohol-based fuels)
  • Gas (using a cylinder carried with the kart
  • Electical (carrying batteries)

4-stroke engines typically are standard lawn-mower or electrical generator engines ( Hodd-Stanton and Honda being typical examples) with sometimes small modifications (developing from about 5hp to 20hp).

2-stroke engines originally were taken from motorbikes, but have become a customised item with special manufacturers (Vortex being one example) and can develop from about 16hp - 30hp for a single-cylinder 100cc unit to 90hp for a twin-250cc.


Similar to other racing formulae, Karts can have a selection of types, according to the circumstances:


Kart racing, or
karting is generally accepted as the most economic form of motorsport available. As a fre-time activity, it can be performed by most anybody, and as a motorsport in itself, it is part of the sports regulated by F.I.A (under the guise of C.I.K), permitting licensed racing for anyone from the age of 8 onwards.

A variety of kart circuits permit the sport to be practised, although only homogolated ones can have official races.