Arrive and Drive vs. Owning a Kart

So, I’m looking at budgeting for the next couple years of my karting career. I’ve heard of arrive and drive packages but never looked into it a whole lot. I’m wondering how it’s useful, how it compares financially to owning a kart and racing under a tent program, and when it would be a good idea to consider that as an option.

I really have no knowledge on how any of that works, so the more information the better right now.

1 Like

Showing up with your own kart in a pickup truck is cheapest. Towing a trailer 2nd cheapest. Bringing your own kart and buying space in a tent program third cheapest. Arrive and drive 4th cheapest (most expensive). If money doesn’t matter show up in your Porsche with helmet in hand and do an arrive and drive.

1 Like

With arrive and drive you are essentially trading money for time, equipment and expertise. How it compares to running under a tent with your own gear will vary by the individual. But overall, the financial cost is almost always going to be greater when you are running with someone else and using their equipment.

I think the best value (dollar wise) might be to transport and wrench yourself, while hiring a tuner/driver developer. Also consider the level of support you want/need can vary with the competition level of the events. For example, you might want to run by yourself at a local track, but opt for support for regional and national races.

Again though, it really depends on the exact options to you. Call around for some quotes.

Okay that helps a ton, from both of you. A lot of this is new to both my dad and I, so figuring this out now makes things a bit easier. There seems to be a lot to digest in racing, even a couple years into it.

I’m trying to not get too far ahead of myself right now, but also don’t want to be caught out last minute trying to figure out options for myself. I like the idea of showing up with transport myself, and bringing a tuner, but I think while I’m getting into new territories the expertise of teams may help a ton too.

I guess like I’ve noticed before a lot of knowing what helps and doesn’t is trial and error, and there’s not much of a way to get around it. That aspect is frustrating to think about but necessary to improving as a driver.

Thanks for the help guys!

1 Like

If you are not sure which end of the wrench a nut goes into or you don’t want to get your hands dirty then hire a tuner. I think your money would be best spent to find a team that performs well. Buy that brand chassis. For bigger events tent with them. Benefits are: the team should be able to advise you quickly on what changes to make. And they should be able to coach you to perform at your best. Make sure you find a team that watches you on track, reviews video, and overlays data with the best drivers on the team. You’ll improve both as a mechanic and as a driver immensely every event. Good luck.

1 Like

I agree with James and Jim. Arrive and drive is by far the most expensive. I am on a budget as well. The only reason at this point for me to arrive and drive is for Supernats. (If I were to go,maybe 2019?) That way I am not wrecking my stuff. If I may ask how are you budgeting? I mean Team/Route/food/gas/kart/practice? I am not very good with the money stuff. How much do you think a season of route will cost?

1 Like

I’ve done Route 66 probably as cheap as anyone. If you sign up for the season entry to save some $$$ and get a free set of tires, you need at least $4,800 to do the six races. That includes the season entry, tires, fuel for kart, fuel for tow rig, Friday practice, parking, hotels, and travel/food. That doesn’t include an engine rebuild if needed, kart maintenance, or crash damage. Add $1,320 if you run a class that requires new tires both days.

Arrive and drive/tent space/tuners alone, buying your kart, parts, and engines from the right shop or team goes just about as far. Not only are you buying parts but you’re buying that person’s knowledge and experience. Choose wisely.


Morgan, What about going under a tent? Is it worth it?

If you are just getting started there is no reason to be even looking at travel expenses, tuners, teams, tent fees, etc. You are kind of missing the whole point of what is so awesome about the sport. Pick your club, buy a used kart from a local dealer that can help you with set-up, questions and even driver & mechanical instruction. Go to the track and meet some new friends and pester the hell out of them with questions and pleas for help. The crazy part is that those people LOVE to help new people.

In a nutshell - buy a used kart, don’t try to buy some magic engine, find a place to practice, make some friends, buy from your local supplier and have fun. Save the travel, tent, team talk for later.

The one exception i’ll say on the Arrive & Drive front is if you have someone like Jim Conlin at Adrenaline Fix, Andy Seeseman at Full Throttle Karting or Rudy Ramsroop at Rysa Racing in your area - dealers that have shown commitment to A&D L206 programs designed to bring people in to the sport. These guys are awesome and have all been long standing proponents of growing the sport. And also a rare commodity in the karting world as it stands.


The worth of being under a tent depends entirely on your goals and budget. You really have to be honest with yourself. The cost above and beyond what I’m already paying for a race weekend doesn’t make it worth it for me. I’m competitive and want to win, but I do this for fun.

If I were making a serious effort at Route 66 it’s pretty easy to see the 3 or 4 teams/tents/karts you should be on to make your life easier. No idea what it costs to be in those tents but you’ll still get help if you’re a customer. I think a lot of people don’t take advantage of those guys/shops/teams who are at every race. Buy your parts from them and then you can ask what setups or tire pressures they are running.

What teams and tents are those?

The beauty of arrive-and-drive is, as James said, you’re saving yourself time and work. The team preps everything, and you know it’s all going to be ready to go when you get there. It’s convenient and stress free, if you have the money. Not to mention the benefits of having a tent program where you can get assistance and hang out with a group of other karters and share notes/beers.

The other option to consider is to simply rent a tent space with a team. Innovative does that, where you get your little corner, we help out with things if you need them, but you’re basically taking care of yourself and working on the kart on your own. Everyone is available for driving/tuning advice, but the wrenching and getting to the grid on time etc. are on you.

I like that route, as it’s cheaper than a full-on arrive and drive and you get to learn a lot and be in a team atmosphere.

1 Like

Top Kart, Franklin/Merlin, Innovative/OTK…imo.


I have OTK. I am just asking if it is worth it? Comet/Innovative?

If you don’t know what you’re doing, I think it’s worth it.

If you do know what you’re doing, probably not worth it, unless you have the extra money to spend and you want to be part of a “team” atmosphere.


It’s a super personal thing really with no straightforward answer. It really depends on your own goals, knowledge, budget yadda yadda. As teams come, Comet and Innovative are as good as any. Team is a fairly broad term too.

I think if one has to ask, then the answer is probably a sensible mix of team (or other expert) support when and where you need it with a healthy dose of spending time to refine your own tuning and driving skills as well.

Hope that helps.


Thanks TJ. Where do I find a driver coach?

Thank you. Looking for support but more so on driving and racecraft. Ka100 Senior is going to be my class this coming year hopefully.

1 Like

So, a season entry is $1,250 this year for 6 races in Route 66. That means 6 sets of MG Reds for KA100, which at $225 a set comes to $1,350 total. You’ll likely want to run with a tent program to utilize their knowledge when you need to. Tent programs vary charges from vendor to vendor, but it’ll be probably $300 a weekend for a less expensive team, so that turns to $1,800. (Over)estimating 5 gallons of fuel per weekend at $12 a gallon is $360 total.

This totals to $4,760 minimum. Other things to think about are getting the motor if you haven’t already, a rebuild probably halfway through the year, crash damages, extra tires for practice if you want to throw a new set on for the final warm-up session, and I’m sure I’m forgetting some other stuff (I forgot hotels and travel expenses). I think the total we found was about $1k a weekend there last year, using the previous weekend’s set for practice and minimal crashing. I think I broke like 3 parts all last year, thankfully.

You mentioned SuperNats 23. I have no idea what the expenses there are but I know it’s a large amount more than a regional setting. I went just to visit and it was almost $1,000. My thought with that is that it’s the final race of the year. Most people will get a new frame at the end of every year so I’d run my own frame and just hope it doesn’t get wadded into too bad of a ball, and still use a tent program.

Valid point. You can find reds for cheaper. And tenting with comet was 500 last year and innovative was 500 as well for renting. I will probably tent at tracks I don’t know as well. And I will probably rebuild engine halfway through depending on wear and tare. Hauling my own kart so saving some money. And supernats 23, you bring up a good point. Reframing would probably not be a good idea for supernats. Thanks for the advice.