How Much Money Do Go-Kart Racers Make?

As a karting enthusiast, you may imagine the life of a go-kart racer to be filled with superfluous perks. Many people wonder how much money do go-kart racers make to be spending on such a lavish lifestyle. But the fact is, these drivers have actually had to spend more to reach this point. Yes even at the karting level, new drivers have to spend before they can actually earn. 

Whether you are a hobbyist go-karter or gearing to become a successful kart racer, at some point you might have wondered how much the activity pays off on a professional level. To tell you the truth, this sport takes a lot before giving you anything in return. 

Confused? Don’t be. In this post, we discuss how much money go-kart racers make while pointing out how much they have to spend to reach the professional level. Have a look! 

How Much Do Go-Kart Racers Actually Earn? 

On average the winnings for different go-karting leagues and championships range from $2,500 to $10,000. The top racers are also sometimes presented with racing gear as a show of appreciation. 

After spending so much money and time, do the go-kart racers reach a level where they are recognized? Unfortunately, there’s no solid way to estimate the average go-kart racer’s income. Their income varies from league to league. Plus, most of them still have to pay to participate. 

As they progress upwards on the karting ranks, many racers switch from karts to cars. However, even that costs them a lot of money. Some are lucky enough to get sponsored by a manufacturer. At the highest step of this ladder is F1 racing. The drivers here earn millions of dollars each year, excluding the earnings made from their endorsements. 

How to Get into Go-Kart Racing?

Go-karting is an incredibly competitive sport. If you dream to succeed in it, you have to start early. While most parents get their kids their first go-kart at age 3, the true competitive go-karting starts from indoor go-karting tracks. There are numerous facilities all over the country that offer go-karting tracks for juniors where children aged 8 or above can drive. Facilities like Andretti also allow kids as small as 3 years to go-kart on special tracks designed for small children. 

If you believe indoor go-karting to be too slow, remember that the go-karts have evolved and the latest ones can actually blow your socks off. Besides indoor go-karting is also an excellent way to improve your performance and expand your knowledge about the sport. Once you are confident about your performance and are still into the sport, it’s time to go pro. Here’s how to do it:

Purchase Your First Go Kart

If you are serious about go-kart racing, then an old-school fun kart won’t be of much help. They are old machines that aren’t up to current racing standards. If you are on about purchasing an old machine and fixing it up, let us tell you that the racing standards are quite strict and you might end up spending a fortune bringing that old kart up to the mark. Look into getting the newest kart you can afford. That means even if the kart itself is second-hand, the gear has to be the latest you can get. 

If you are not ready to invest in a personal go-kart yet, many tracks offer their go-karts for a fee that you can rent to practice on. 

Invest in Appropriate Safety Gear

Go-kart racing is both exciting and dangerous. That’s why the second step after purchasing your go-kart is investing in proper safety gear. These include a full-face helmet, skid-resistant driving suit, driving gloves, neck collar, and optional driving shoes. 

Watch the Sport in Action

Nothing helps you learn more about the sport than watching it in action. The next thing you should do is find the schedule of the local go-kart races and watch them. A mere observation will teach you about the different tricks and techniques go-kart racers use to improve their efficiency. 

Train and Question

A lot of go-kart racing events allow you to buy yourself a ticket to the backstage area, where you can talk to the racers and take a look at their go-karts. Avail of such opportunities and ask the racers about tips on improving your skills as well as on getting into the sport. 

Practice Practice and Practice

The best way to improve yourself as a go-kart racer is unlimited practice. Choose a go-kart track and practice as much as possible. Just going through the curves and straightways of the track will mentally prepare you for the race. 

Try driving on different tracks so you feel less anxious and feel comfortable on new tracks. Getting into good shape also helps you handle the stress and anxiety of the race. 

Participate in Racing Events 

Once you feel confident about your racing skills, it’s time to bite the bullet and enter your first racing event. Despite all the training and practice,  nothing will prepare you better than going to actual races and participating. Even if you don’t win, mere participation will help you see the ins and outs and gain confidence. This confidence level will keep increasing every time you race and before long you’ll start winning as well. 

Go-kart racing is a really exciting sport that requires a lot of practice and preparation to excel at. If you dream about becoming a go-kart racer yourself, taking appropriate steps and practicing will quickly bring you close to your goals. 

The Cost of Go Kart Racing

We already mentioned go-karting is an expensive sport. But when compared to other motorsports, it is still affordable. To help you understand better, we have rounded up the different expenses of go-kart racing below.

Go-Kart 

Unlike fun go-karts, racing karts are quite expensive. On average, racing karts cost about $8,000. A majority of this price goes into the engine. When deciding on the type of engine in your new go-kart, you need to factor in two considerations – the class that you will be running in and the popularity of engines in the local championships. 

The class you qualify for will, of course, depend upon your age. The younger the age the lower the class and the more affordable the engine in the league. Similarly, to maintain a uniform level of competition, most championships stress on one engine make. Hence you’ll have to get that specific engine in order to qualify. 

The prices for new engines vary in price from $2,000 to $3,500. Of course, you can find them at cheaper rates if you decide to go second-hand. 

The next expense in your go-kart is for the chassis. Chassis are all very different and you can choose from tons of brands. Since it is the base of your go-kart, you have to conduct sufficient research to figure out the right chassis. 

All go-kart chassis boast different features, and knowing about them helps you use these to your advantage. For example, some chassis are more suited for high-speed turns, some for slow turns, and others are great for braking. But while there are advantages there are some drawbacks to every chassis too. Hence you should carefully measure the pros against the cons and choose accordingly. 

Some popular go-kart chassis that are known for performing well in different kart racing tournaments cost between $2,500 to $6,250. 

When choosing the go-kart for yourself you should carefully check out the engine and chassis to ensure that the kart is worth the money you are spending on it. 

Safety Gear 

Like other motor racing sports, go-kart racing also calls for the right safety gear. And let us tell you, it does not come cheap. 

The first thing on the list is fire-resistant underwear. It will protect you in case of any mishaps. A single set includes a pair of pants, an undershirt, a balaclava, and a pair of socks, with each complete set costing about $125. It is necessary to get at least one set. And if your budget permits, try to buy two so that you can easily rotate them between track days. Plus, it is always a good idea to have a few extra balaclavas as excessive sweating can make you change it in between sessions too. 

Driving Gloves and Boots

Next up are driving gloves. They don’t necessarily need to be the most expensive, top-quality ones. Yet even the mid-ranger gloves from a good brand can cost about $35. Do keep in mind that your gloves will wear out so you’ll find yourself buying replacements quite often. 

Then there are driving boots. Although exclusive driving boots are not that necessary, a pair of good driving boots will prove more resilient than any of the other shoes or boots you own. $70 is a good price range for a pair of quality driving boots. 

Helmet 

The helmet is perhaps the most important and biggest expense on your go-karting gear list. It keeps you protected in case of a mishap by preventing trauma to your head. Even if you decide to purchase the cheapest karting helmet there is, you are looking at a $90 expense. And on the other hand of the price spectrum lies the most expensive karting helmet at $600.

Now, these are the kart racing essentials that every kart racer must own. If your budget allows, you can also look into getting a few extra like rob protector and neck brace costing $150 and $200 respectively.

Then there are consumables costs like fuel as well as the maintenance costs, that will require you to own some tools too. The tools also cost a significant amount of money. In short, on average, you are looking at spending about $11,000 per year, if you want to grow as a go-kart racer. 

FAQs

Is professional go-karting a thing?

While most people know karting as a recreational activity it is also conducted on a professional level. There are junior leagues where skilled kart drivers aged 8 to 15 can participate to show off their skills and talent. After those, there are senior leagues for people aged 15 and above. There is even a World Karting Association that organizes karting classes and events throughout the world. 

How much does a professional go-kart cost?

The signature feature of any go-kart is its speed. And professional go-karts are the fastest karts there are. They feature top-of-the-line equipment that is second to none. That’s why professional karts tend to be the most expensive, costing between $5,000 to $10,000. 

At what age do F1 drivers start karting?

F1 moto racing is a winding career that forms its roots with karting when the driver is at the tender ages of 8 or 9. In fact, many of the well-known F1 race drivers actually started karting at the age of 3. Starting early gives the drivers enough time to improve their reflexes and skills. Plus, children are quick at picking up things so starting early gives them a better chance at reaching F1 racing. 

How fast are professional go-karts?

Go-karts are lightweight vehicles that can reach extraordinary speeds in minutes. Professional go-karts are the fastest in this category that is why drivers often use them as a learning ground for full automobile racing. While most indoor and hobbyist karts can’t go faster than 70 to 100 km/h, professional go-karts can drive at speeds higher than 250 km/h. 

Conclusion

Wrapping up this discussion we would say that a stable significant salary in go-kart racing is not guaranteed. At times racers find themselves spending even more money than they actually earn. Not until a racer reaches up into the highest echelons of auto racing that they start earning money this lucrative career showcases. Others who are not as lucky usually give up and take up new pursuits to earn a decent amount of money. Some even take up jobs around race tracks like attendants, track workers, or mechanics. And trust us, these career pathways have a more stable feature than that of go-kart racing. 

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