Karting is one of the most popular, affordable and competitive forms of motorsport. It offers exhilarating fun for drivers from the age of 6 years upwards and has a level of competition to suit just about everyone.

For some drivers karting will be the pinnacle of their ambitions while for others it will provide a vital grounding for the journey up the racing ladder. Most of the drivers on the current Formula 1 grid started their racing in karts.

Start Kart Racing Tips

  • Start Kart Racing Tips Karting offers something to suit everyone from age 8 to 80!
  • You just need to consider what suits your age, weight, mechanical ability and experience.
  • Don’t buy the first kart you see, take time to go to your local circuit and find out which classes they race there.
  • Chat to the drivers, officials and traders there. Choose a well-supported class that suits you requirements.
  • You will need appropriate racewear, this includes an approved crash helmet and racesuit, along with gloves and boots. Visit our Reacewear section to find all you need.


Karts are divided into two basic categories: those with direct drive (which race on short circuits), and those with gearboxes (which race on both the long and short circuits).


  • The Bambino class uses a very small kart with a Comer C50 engine, registered with the importers Zip Kart. The tyres are all weather Le Cont, meaning that separate slick and we train tyres are not required. Top speed is about 38mph.
  • The class is for 6 – 8 year olds, who must undertake a special training and competency programme before sending for their licence.
  • There is a MSA Championship for the class. Some clubs, but not all, offer Bambino events at their regular club meetings, make enquiries locally.

Formula Cadet

  • Ideal start for 8-13 years uld.
  • The IAME Cadet class uses a 60cc Parilla Gazelle UK engine which is used in the Cadet British Championship raced in the Super One Series. It has a direct drive with a centrifugal clutch. Approx top speed 50mph. Fitted with side pods and nose cone for safety.
  • The Honda Cadet, with an 4-stroke engine is cheaper and a good economic starting point. It also has an ABkC National Championship within the Super One series. The upper age of 13 is so that smaller children may stay in the class, but usually drivers will move up to the junior classes by the age of 12 as they get too heavy to be competitive.
  • The Comer Cadet using the Comer W60 engine (used prior to the Iame Gazelle) will still be raced at many clubs and offers very low cost second hand equipment.

Junior TKM

  • 11-17 years old.
  • Single engine option – TKM BT82. Chassis no longer need to be homologated, but there are limitations on the karts. A restrictor plate between carburettor and engine limits available power and there are various options for different sized drivers. Clutch is optional for easy electric starting & recovery after a spin. A TAG (electric start, Touch and Go) variant is available.

Formula KFJ (KF Junior)

  • 13-17 years old (or from year of 13th birthday with prior experience).
  • Engines are international 125cc TAG two stroke electric start types, restricted to 14,000rpm. Top speed approx 75mph. The premier junior category and MSA British Junior Championship class. This is not currently being raced in the UK, only at International meetings

TKM Extreme

  • 16 years and over.
  • Single engine (TKM BT82) and same chassis choice as for Junior TKM and with one choice of restrictor between carburettor and engine or none for heavier drivers. Similarity of regulations makes the progression from Junior TKM to Senior TKM except that the senior category is now 115cc. TAG option available.

Rotax Classes

  • Use a modern water cooled 125cc engine with electric self-start with categories for 11-15 year old – MiniMax, 13- 17 year old – Junior Max (these both have restricted power output), Senior Max and Max 177 for the heavier driver who must weigh a minimum of 80kg.
  • There is also a 2-speed geared kart class called DD2 but not currently raced in the UK.

X30 Classes

  • The Junior and Senior X30 classes started in 2014 and are growing in popularity. Be aware as they are new classes not all clubs may be offering these classes.

Gearbox Classes

  • A range of classes for karts with gears and clutches from 125cc to 250cc. Speeds on tracks, for example Silverstone, up to 145mph.


Actively aim to promote karting heritage from the Golden Era of British Karting, 1959 to 1982. To collect, collate and preserve karting history to leave a legacy to future karting generations. To foster the appreciation of veteran, vintage, historic and classic karts and associated memorabilia.

Visit the British Historic Kart Club site here for more details

MSA Licence

  • To Race in an MSA event you will require an ARKS (Association of British Kart Clubs) licence. You need to buy a ‘Starting Karting’ pack. You will need to complete a mandatory ARKS test to determine that you are safe and competent to race. The test is in two parts, a driving competency test and a multi-choice questionnaire covering flag signals and regulations. The fee does not include any hire fee for a kart, this can be arranged for a small additional cost, if you cannot use a kart of your own.
  • Before you take the test you will need the MSA Start Karting pack which includes a DVD, licence application form and a handbook of rules and regulations. MSA Go-Karting Pack.
  • Anyone over 18, or with a medical condition, is required to have a medical examination with their GP before attending the test.
  • Book an ARKS driving test with one of the approved ARKS schools or a participating club.

Non MSA Racing

  • Many tracks also offer non MSA racing series.

Read more about the Association of British Kart Clubs here