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How To Start Karting

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).


  • Equipment: Specially designed karts for 6-8 year olds. Small low powered engine. All-weather tyres. Top speed around 35mph.
  • Competition starts in time trials so young drivers can get used to being on track and improve their driving and racing lines, whilst preparing for racing.
  • Bambino racing is allowed for 7 year olds with experience of time trials.


  • Age 8-12
  • Equipment: Specially designed karts for 8-12 year olds. Choice of engines (Honda/IAME). Top speed around 50mph.
  • Cadet racing is very popular and is a great class to learn the basics of kart racing from an early age.


  • Age 11-16
  • Equipment: Full size kart. Choice of engines (IAME/Rotax/TKM). Top speed around 60-70mph.
  • The mini classes are the lowest powered in this group and are suitable for drivers aged 11 years plus. With simple adjustment to the restriction, the engine is then converted to a junior engine for drivers aged 12 years plus.


  • Age 16+
  • Equipment: Full size kart. Choice of engines (IAME/Rotax/TKM).
  • Top speed around 70-80mph.
  • These can be the most powerful karts without gears and are suitable for drivers in the year of their 16th birthday or older.
  • Unrestricted engines and grippier tyres.


  • Age 16+
  • Equipment: Full size kart. Choice of engines. Top speeds of around 80-100mph.
  • Gearbox karts are the quickest and most powerful, racing at a number of kart tracks (short circuit). Karts are very fast with grippy tyres. Always check that your local kart club races gearbox karts.


In addition to MSUK competitions many tracks run independence kart race series.  Check your local circuit for details.


For full details on regulations visit www.motorsportuk.org/how-to-start-karting


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

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