How to afford karting

I am 15 years old and I’m racing in ohio, I recently got into larting and I realized how difficult it can be to fund my passion for racing, I was wondering, how to you guys afford racing, (not meaning to get personal), do you have sponsors, do you race for a team etc. This is just to help us newbies out and take away some stress, after all there is a lot of talent out there being held back financially.


It took me until almost 30 years old to be in a position to fund my racing without any help. Unfortunately it’s an expensive sport. First step for me was to choose my priorities. That means cutting out unnecessary expenses like going out to eat all the time and cooking at home, liquidating other hobbies, etc. It also means working your ass off instead of hanging out with friends every day. Get a side hustle that’ll earn you some money like mowing yards. Next step is to figure out what you can afford. LO206 is a very good way to get into the sport without breaking the bank. You can get a complete running used kart for a fraction of the price of a new chassis. The step after that is to figure out where you want to run and who is around for guidance/help. Talking to local teams can further guide you towards what you want.

14/15 is when I decided I wanted to go kart racing too. I won’t say how long ago that was ha. I got a job at a bar at first (Different laws in Ireland), then started working at gokart tracks and marshalling\helping out at karting events

Hopefully you have a track near you that you could work at? You could also look to work with racing teams, great way to get experience and make connections.

Sponsorship to a level where you don’t have to fund nearly all of your racing is few and far between. But being connected with the industry will help bring up opportunities that otherwise might not be available to you.

Most of my young karting friends rely on parental support. However, one of them seems to make a nice pile of karting cash with his car detailing business.

Also, as mentioned, the easiest way to live your interest is to work in it. Look to get a job at a track near you, for example. I have a couple friends who worked in kart rental places when they were teens.

At your age and budget your best option is probably to work at a track. Long-term, your best bet is to find a career that pays good middle class or better money and also has a regular or flexible schedule so you can afford to kart and have time to do it.

You all are a great help, thank you!!

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Being you’re 15 and I’m guessing still at school, a part time job after school and whatever flexible weekend work you can find is probably as far as income goes outside of parental assistance.

You’d be amazed how many 20-30 year old’s have jobs and also still rely on parental assistance for top notch gear.

I’d suggest running a low cost class as well with harder tires if possible too because tires and engine maintenance really add up, especially the more HP the class has.

Work - and by the end of your first season of karting you might be a good enough mechanic to apply for a junior role at an industrial repair shop. My first job was as a diesel mechanic, and I caught on because I’d been working on my car for a few years.

Stick with a category that uses harder compound tyres as this is generally one of the biggest expenses in karting and an engine that doesn’t need to be rebuilt every 5 hours.

You might find a starting point in the 4 stroke category, hone your skills, then find the cash to step up a category.

In the way of sponsors, you always should try asking your friendship network first as these are the people you have a relationship with and if they know your passion they are likely to try help out.


As you realize, karting is expensive, but if you are funding this largely on your own, be realistic about expectations. There are racers that will spend more than you, frustrating as that may be, do what you can with what you have. If that means you are racing hard for a mid pack finish you have to accept that. Sticking with a class where spending is lower would be suggested too.

As for the money side…when I was around your age I raced BMX and while my parents bought my first bike they made it clear the rest was up to me. So I mowed lawns, granted this was before the boom of “landscapers” but I made up a flyer, went around several neighborhoods and offer to mow their lawns. Maybe make a proposition with your parents too. Would they be willing to match your money for karting purchases in exchange for taking care of chores around the house?

Good luck.

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Most younger drivers have parents who fund their hobby, but not everyone.

Try working at an indoor kart track (rentals). Usually if you have a little more mechanical knowledge they’ll get you work on the karts which has two benefits, you can improve your mechanical skills and you get to the test the karts when you’ve finished.

A 3rd side benefit is it might give you an entry to helping people out at races (which typically pays better).

Then, as said already, approach family and friends. Ask for tires and things like that for christmas, people will get the idea that this is all you care about.

Sponsorship barely exists in karting and where it does its family or friends sponsoring. To become a funded team driver, you usually have to have spent a lot of money to get there and even then it likely won’t cover everything.

This seems kinda smart. So, the teams are owned by an older guy usually. That older guy usually hires a couple younger guys to help him run the tent program. So, these guys do everything like helping load/unload, set up karts, change tires, fix stuff etc. Basically get the team through the day.

These guys are usually ex-racers who are in their 20’s. In the big teams, it’s probably more “pro” and the mechanics are probably full-time employees that are salaried, I am guessing.

But, all these club races have teams servicing them and I bet if you were to hang around enough and be useful enough… maybe you could convince one of those team owners to give you some work.

The issue is that you don’t have prior experience. Maybe chutzpah can get you past that hurdle.

(Hey Mr. Doty I brought you a Grande Americano, just how you like it. Got any tires that need mounting?).

Im working on getting a job with my team, lots of mechanical experience, but not a lot of kart experience. hopefully it falls through eventually @Kart_35 your best bet is to find a part time job or make your own small business (mow lawns, snowblow, babysit, flip stuff on craigslist). from there just dont splurge on anything. you may have to drop other hobbies and activities. dont eat out, dont buy lunches, dont buy movie tickets, try saving on any other hobby you normally do. I also ski, so I buy all my stuff used or on sale. Another common money hole for us teenagers is video games, I dont know about you but I dont buy new games anymore. All the small cuts add up and youll have more money for karting. Try and buy used stuff for karting (but be careful on what parts). Most local series have some kind of used parts market.