Is there an optimal weight for karting?

So, I have been losing weight to be a)healthier and b)more competitive.
Given the fact that there are minimum weights for classes, is there any good reason to get seriously thin? I’m at 180lbs now which I think will allow me to run masters without penalizing myself. Is there any good reason to go for 175 other than looking good?

We figure about 175 is max to make weight reasonably in X30 Senior with no added ballast on an OTK kart. We have a couple drivers who hover around there.

I figure optimal weight probably would be 15-20 pounds under whatever your class minimum weight is, so you can move those few weights around if necessary. Being right on the number means you can’t adjust weight placement since you have no weights, and being too far under (like me) means you have to put weight wherever it’ll fit.

I would think 180 would be pretty good for Masters weight.

around here, senior and master seem to run together in races a lot. Senior is 365 masters is 390. So I’m looking at around how much lead if I weight down my kart for masters? I have no clue how much fuel weighs. Assume 2017 compkart (I’m guessing all the modern karts are similar in weight).

Probably would need to add 25 pounds or so.

Thank you very much.

Thank you for spelling losing correctly…


I ran Master (rotax) over the summer to 395lbs on an OTK. I was weighing about 190 (no gear) and needed about 5lbs of lead.

If that helps…

It really depends on what the weight class that you’re running into to really determine what your body weight needs to be to be competitive.

It’s an interesting question to ponder!

In many racing disciplines, an engineer would likely give you a number close to zero, as that means they have the ultimate freedom for where to place the weight (low as possible and near COP or COG depending on vehicle likely).

But, in a kart, it’s fairly common to consider the driver as the biggest piece of ballast, and therefore his weight and position is key to making a kart work. Karts are typically tested and designed with an ideal driver in mind, although some test with many different drivers. Depending on how heavy you are compared to that, it could be a good thing, or a bad thing.

While it may be somewhat different today, many TaG and shifter chassis used to handle horribly for super tall drivers, even if they weighed about the same as a shorter driver. Things like this are examples of where there are plusses and minuses to how much you weigh as a driver.

Within reason, I think lighter is better because then you have freedom to place lead where you’d like, rather than be stuck with it in the driver.

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COG - Center of gravity
COP - ?

@Bimodal_Rocket Center of Pressure (COP), which on a high downforce car such as an IndyCar is often where engineers focus the majority of their energy.

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Good question Ive always figured about 10lbs of lead was good and could be moved around and experimented with. Id like to add to your question by asking if a driver was six inches shorter than another competitor should the seat be raised to keep cog more equal ? thanks for any opinions

“Maybe”. Like anything, It really depends on the variables at play including whether the COG height was optimal to begin with, grip levels and perhaps even driving style. Also consider that a taller driver may or may not raise the COG height, depending on their build.

You’ll have to test and see. You may be able to find a guideline that you can apply to a specific driver.

We generally raise the seat a bit for shorter drivers.

@tonykart like any tuning question, that ultimately could be yes, or could be no, depending. For example, a driver could be shorter, but if they weigh more (say a stockier kid), you may keep the seat lower. Different chassis and different seats will also affect this.

All things being equal, then as @tjkoyen says, raising it to gain more leverage/raise the COG to where it would normally be with a taller driver is a logical thing to do.