Components of the Kart

The construction of karts seems simple in comparison to the larger vehicles used in car motorsports, but an in-depth look into the design and production shows that they can be more complicated than one would think. Components of the industry-standard kart for racing purposes include the chassis, engine, transmission, and the tyres.

Chassis

Karts are too small to have a suspension, so the chrome tubing chassis needs to be so flexible that it can act as a suspension, but also rigid enough to not break. Officially, within kart racing in Australia, chassis for karts are classified as either open, straight, caged or offset. Open karts are without a roll cage, Caged karts have a cage enclosing the driver, Straight chassis karts have the driver positioned in the centre, and the offset chassis karts have the driver sitting on the left side.

Engine

While engines for go-karts used in amusement parks (fun karts) are mostly electric motors, and sometimes four-stroke engines, racing karts always use either little two-stroke engines or four-stroke engines. Four-stroke engines are generally standard engine types, occasionally with minor modifications for karting, and are manufactured by well-known companies such as Honda and Robin. Two-stroke engines for karts and specifically designed by dedicated companies such as Vortex, TM, and Titan.

Transmission

Since karts are without a differential, they need to slide when rounding corners. While early karts used direct drive powering, these days karts are mostly transferred from the engine to the rear driveshaft using a chain.

Tyres

As with all motorsports, kart tyres vary in type to suit the track conditions. Rims for karts are made from aluminium and magnesium alloy, and most tyre manufacturers for cars also make tyres for karts. Different types include slicks for dry weather, wets for rainy weather, and special tyres for unusual conditions (ice, dirt, mud etc.). Some manufacturers cater specifically to kart racing.