Types of Karts
So we know that racing karts are much different than the recreational go-karts found at hardware stores. But even among racing karts there are specific types of karts that are used depending on the type of track they're racing on or the type of race. You can find three distinct types of karts in competition: sprint, enduro and oval. Sprint is by far the most common type of kart and is used in the majority of races.
When karting first began, modified lawnmower engines were used to power the karts. Now there are manufacturers who design and sell engines specifically for kart racing. The karts use 2- or 4-cycle engines that produce around 5 to 30 horsepower, moving the karts at speeds between 45 and 80 miles per hour (72.4 and 128.7 kilometers per hour). Racing karts don't have a suspension, are usually about 72 inches (1.8 meters) in length, 50 inches (1.3 meters) wide and weigh about 150 pounds (68 kilograms) without the driver.
Sprint karts are the most frequently used type of karts because of their ability to go fast and to be used on a variety of track types. Sprint karts cost about $2,000 to $5,000. Oval karts are the second most popular type of competitive karts. They're typically raced more in the southern areas of the United States where competitors are familiar with oval tracks, like the ones used in NASCAR. Oval-kart chassis are built specifically for tight turns in only one direction. Enduro karts are the smallest division in kart racing, but they're also the fastest. During a race average speeds for enduro karts are well over 90 miles per hour (144.8 kilometers per hour). Enduro kart racers lay down flat in their karts to achieve maximum aerodynamics and some karts utilize two engines instead of one for increased speed.
There's much more to kart racing than just the speed, however. Karts need to be able to handle well on the different types of tracks they race on. Go on to the next page to find out more about the tracks.