I’m probably going to sound pretty inexperienced when it comes to the questions that I ask, but I do have a few. To start off with, I am 15 years old, located in New Jersey close to New Jersey Motorsports Park. I am currently competing in the rental kart league hosted by NJMP, and am in the points lead. As of the date of this post being written, I currently hold the track record for August at the Liberator go kart track. I have been looking into getting into competitive karting, but know little information on how to get started. What I know know is:
That I need to get an expensive kart that seems to be pretty needy on maintenance and tires
Many different spare parts and special engine oils
All that stuff is required to be competitive
I’ve taken a COMPKART Covert 3.0-R19 (I believe it was this model, but I could be incorrect) out for a test drive for the day, so I do have minimal experience with a race kart.
For the questions…
What are the baseline requirements (aside from the kart, spare parts, and basic equipment) to be and stay competitive
Buy a used or a new kart? I basically know the answer for this one (new), but if anyone could make an argument for used I would be glad to hear it!
I’ll see where this post goes and maybe follow up with more questions
Yes. You will need a kart. Brand isn’t important. It will likely be a compkart around here. There is also a presence from Solo Kart. However race whatever you want.
It’s true that you will need many spare parts and the like. The guys with the huge trailers at the track are full of parts. They sell them. Basically every part of your kart will bend, break or otherwise, eventually. This is why it’s a good idea to run the brand that is dominant in your series. Parts.
What’s required to race is a conforming kart, a suit, helmet, shoes, gloves. Pretty much what’s required. Also a transponder but you can rent that by the day. Depending on how you run, theres other stuff you will need.
Being able to make it to the grid on time with a functional kart. Stuff breaks that needs to be fixed between heats. Other than that, a decent kart with a reasonably fresh engine.
Used. But from a reputable and known guy like Jerry or John. The craigslist/forums route is for folks who know what they need and the experience to knowing what they are buying isn’t too tired.
The way this typically works is you talk to a guy like Jerry White or John Bonanno. They both run teams which means a tent to be under and help with all the mechanical and logistical stuff. While their primary service is helping you race, they also sell all the gear and source setups for you.
You can expect to spend 5-6k for a race ready kart. You already have suit helmet etc I think.
I’m gonna stop here and let others chime in.
But, what you really need to do is have a convo with a guy like Jerry and tell him “I want to race but I am new and need help navigating getting started”. He will he able to break down your options and give you a sense of what’s this all gonna cost (prepare mom and dad for this carefully). He’s sensitive to budget and can put together a program for you if possible.
I could type out all the stuff that you will likely need in your first season but it’s putting the kart before the horse.
Talk to Jerry. Go spend time seeing how this all works next race. Go hang out with our team for the day and see what’s up.
I suspect the only engine that makes sense for you around here is gonna be 125cc TAG. That’s where all the quick Juniors and Seniors are. We do have a small but growing 100cc class.
Gerald White of Kartworkz
Adam petit: solo kart principal I believe
John Bonanno: compkart (sold team, focusing on racing, not sure if still a resource)
Keith Raffa: Keith runs the rental kart (Full Tilt) business but also runs client karts.
I think Kaos (Jared Burchette father?) also runs stuff but I’m not sure how local.
Oh and of course our racing event organizer for the f-series (club) and gearup (regional) is Marco Oldhaffer. He is a great resource.
I have experience with Jerry, John and Keith. I have not interacted with Solo or Kaos. I may also have forgotten someone.
Once you find a track nearby you, it’s a good idea to visit it and figure out what the popular classes are being races. That’ll help you figure out what it the best use of your time when you get started.
Briggs 206 is typically a popular class in most areas, because of the cost of running the engine and tires, but it’s always good to get an idea of what the headcount is of a field, before building a kart for a class of 3.
Lots of good info already posted, but new kart is absolutely not necessary at this point. Used will suit you just fine. Save money where you can, just make sure that all your gear is in good condition.
Preparation is key for sure. If you can find a mechanically integrated or inclined person to help at the track that’s a bonus. You could also try out buddying up with someone with tools and experience in exchange for beer/wine/dollars