The 6 Most Interesting Facts About Go-Karting

K1 Speed Canada

According to research, the global go-kart market was worth $104.8 million in 2020. Go-karting continues to grow as a popular choice for group events and as a fun personal hobby.


Whether you are an avid motorsport enthusiast or have only experience with go-karts in video games, this fascinating area of interest appeals to those young and old. If you're interested in finding out more about go-karting, keep reading below for more interesting go-karting facts.


1. Go-Karting is One of the Most Popular Motorsports


Across the world, go-karting is increasingly becoming one of the top motorsports. In the U.S. alone, an estimated 35 million people may participate in go-karting each year. In addition, it is a fun and competitive activity for families as one of the popular things to do on weekend outings at public tracks.


But go-karting extends beyond just entertainment. It is a serious hobby for many and, for the dedicated, a legitimate career in professional motorsports. Professional go-kart races take place all over the world each year. For example, the SKUSA Super Nats takes place in Las Vegas and is one of the largest kart races worldwide, attracting racers globally from every continent.


Go-karting even has national and international governing bodies. For example, the Commission Internationale de Karting (CIK or CIK-FIA) oversees the Karting World Championship. While the FIA, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile, monitors auto racing and other motorsport events like the Formula One races.


2. Many Famous Racers Started With Go-Karts


If you love racing go-karts, you're in good company. Many top F1 racers got their start on the go-kart tracks before transitioning to the Formula One circuit.


Lewis Hamilton was just eight years old when he took to the track, and now he drives for racing industry bigwigs like Mercedes and McLaren. Sebastian Vettel commands his Aston Martin around the F1 tracks. He has taken home 53 wins and began karting at the age of three.  


Michael Schumacher, Max Verstappen, Robert Kubica, and Ayrton Senna began go-karting at four years old and have since gone onto greatness on the F1 tracks. Go-karting instills crucial driving, cornering, and maneuvering skills to master complex twists and turns on professional racecourse tracks. 


3. Go-Kart Professional Racers Can Earn a Big Salary


Those dedicated few who are committed and can afford to compete at the World Championship level can make a career from winning prize money and negotiating sponsorship deals. The right sponsorships will likely pay more than most 1st place prize money.


If you make it to the SKUSA Pro Tour, expect a payout between $1,000-$2,500 for a first-place finish, depending on the event or class you compete in. The K1 Speed World Championship has a top prize of $15,000 for the winner.


If you're still eyeing a big payday from go-karting, it's better to consider it a stepping stone. Go-karting gives you many of the essential skills that professional drivers need to succeed. By transitioning into various regional F4 series to European Formula 3, GP3, GP2 and ultimately Formula 1 - the top drivers can expect to earn hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars per year in F1.


4. The First Go-Kart Was Built in 1956


A man named Art Ingels is widely credited as being the father of modern go-kart racing we have today. Ingels was assisted by another man named Lou Borelli. They used a lawn mower engine and placed it onto a hollow tube chassis unit with semi-pneumatic tires attached. 


The West Bend 2-cycle 750 engine used for this first go-kart model earned it the name The West Bend or simply Kart No. 1. The engine only supplied two horsepower to the left rear wheel of the unit. A countershaft was constructed of sprockets, a centrifugal clutch, and bicycle chains. 


To brake, one would pull a lever fitted on the right-hand side. This lever pivoted against a plate to press a braking pad against a welded disc on the right rear rim. Although rudimentary, this basic design gave us the current go-kart blueprint. 


5. There Are Different Types of Go-Karts


From the basic prototype developed by Borelli and Ingels in 1956, the modern go-kart has evolved dramatically since then. It has been adapted into several different types, each with its purpose. 


There are off-road karts, pedal karts, racing karts, drift karts, and electric go-karts. Traditional-style go-karts are usually gas-powered, while electric go-karts rely on batteries and electric motors. Pedal go-carts only operate with pedal power and don't require an engine.


The versatility of go-karts means that you can find the perfect one to meet your needs. 


6. Go-Karts Are Safe to Operate


While go-karts give you the thrill of racing and the winding track in front of you, they are safe to drive. That's why even children can take to the go-kart track to feel the need for Speed — making go-karting an exhilarating family activity.


Go-karts have a low center of gravity, making a flip-over almost impossible in a controlled environment with regulated karts. As a safety precaution, many go-karts on outdoor and indoor go-karting tracks top out between 60-80 km/h.


Helmets are always worn during go-karting as an added safety precaution, and drivers are strapped into a special safety harness. Proper training and instruction are always given before every go-karting excursion for a safe and enjoyable family outing.


Experience the Thrill of K1 Speed Indoor Go-Karting in Canada


These go-karting facts and more are why go-karting tops the list of things to do. From birthday parties to corporate events, family outings, and even date nights, go-karting is sure to please everyone. So if you're looking for something fun for the whole family in the Greater Toronto Area, come to K1 Speed.


K1 Speed in Canada has two locations in Toronto and Mississauga. Experience premium go-kart racing on indoor go-karting tracks. So you can have fun no matter what the weather may bring. You can also experience themed holiday tracks for Halloween and Christmas. 

Book your go-karting races online on our website today.