Determining how to make engines competitive

How and who determines how to make engines competitive with each other? Restrictor sizes, weights, gearing restrictions, etc.

Interesting, yet broad, question!

If you are discussing how to make engines of different manufacturers or models competitive with each other, than the answer is “all of the above.” Many clubs or series may use “top drivers” to test different engines and figure out the various combinations to make them relatively equally matched. Giving one a weight penalty is a common “easy” fix in this case.

If you are talking more how to make engines in the same class by same manufacturer equal…well, that’s been a multi-decade pursuit of kart racing. Many series may opt for a ‘spec’ engine that has seals or very tight tolerances, etc. This has worked to an extent, but racers always find a way to ruin the fun by throwing money at it in some respect…rare exceptions like the 206 do exist, and nowadays advances in manufacturing have made it so that even some 2 cycle engines have strong parity with each other.

I was just curious. I am always hearing how people want to make karting a recognized motorsport, and I am just trying to think of ways to get this done. I am in no way experienced at forming a club, setting up races, or forming organizations, so please bear with my quest for information and potential “dumb” questions, lol. So, one thing that I see a lot of is the cornucopia of different engine choices, and how some engines are ok to run here, but not there. Is this a manufacturer/ sponsorship thing? Would it be beneficial to have a neutral entity to evaluate, test, and determine kart weight and restrictor sizes for all engines? Seems to me that the powerplant is the ONLY variable that can and should be regulated. From what I have seen, any chassis can win. Most tire manufacturers make tires that are all capable of providing grip to win. Aero on most short track karts seem to be a non issue. Drivers and engine and chassis tuners are the difference. Am I babbling? OK, here is the idea… We’ll say IKF or WKA for this example because they are major sanctioning bodies. They create a lab that verifies, tunes, dynos, certifies and creates restrictions to make the engines competitive with each other in each class. Is this already something that is done, as far as far as engines go?

Karting has taught me many things. One of them is to shy away from absolutes. I disagree that engines are the only thing that should be regulated. Safety equipment, for example, should also be heavily regulated…

I don’t think the WKA or IKF have such facilities, but I can see why you would think they would be beneficial. Currently, the landscape of Karting is that series often partner with manufacturers or suppliers, so that a series or sanctioning organization only runs a certain tire, or certain engines…

This partnering of brands is really more a result of the free market. If IKF can get a better deal for themselves and their racers to supply Evinco tire vs. Dunlop, why wouldn’t they do that?

Of course, it’s nevet truly strictly economics. Some people behind the scenes don’t like other people, or they may be biased towards a product or supplier that they believe in.

The US karting market is deeply diverse, but it does seem that certain engine packages are coming to the fore. They change all the time, however, as you say. After all, engine manufacturers need to sell new products to stay relevant, or at least that is their perception.

A standardizing organization independent or partnered with series likely would drive away certain manufacturers who wouldn’t want to compete with other engines. Many have the point of view that they want a monopoly on a certain series, they want complete market penetration and control. Now, whether or not that is a good idea is up for debate, but it is often the desire of the manufacturers, and why it is rare to see multi-brand or multi-make competition in Karting series.

Im a rank rookie Aussie so my opinion doesnt mean much, but the USA karting scene, to an outsider, appears utterly chaotic and a shambles and may be the reason getting into karting is so damned hard to comprehend…

I’d say the issue goes way beyond regulating engines, you need a governing/sanctioning body to unify all the different series and classes under one banner.

In Aus we have Karting Australia. With very few exceptions with indipendant tracks, they govern EVERYTHING! From insurance, timing systems, classes, licensing, safety, tech regs and everything else all the way to running the championships and series. A whole lot easier to understand your classes and how to get started when everything is organised imo. Not saying KA is perfect by a long shot, but it sure is easier to understand.

I think many in the United States feel the same way you do about a unified body. Others want the US to operate more like Europe does with MSA or the CIK/FIA…

At the moment, multiple groups seem to be more intent on battling it out with each other for dominance of the market. This does give the racer options, but it does also create smaller fields in some areas, and location-dependence when it comes to what engine runs where.

Well everything was sweet with KA till yesterday…

??? What happened? :open_mouth:

One of the Eastern states has apparently voted to leave KA.
Its been brewing for a while but seems to be be a pretty drastic action to me.

Well, that changes everything. And here i was touting the fact we had a single governing body.

QLD will be next and KA will eventually just become KVIC. Can’t say i wouldn’t welcome the demise of KA, but having one governing body standardising regs was definitely the way to go. Hopefuly the staes re-unite and form a new sanctioning body that is more open and receptive to members concerns and growth than KA were.

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