Let's Talk karting etiquette and Driving Standards

So I was watching this video on Youtube, and so of course like with most things I started to think, “We need something like this for karting.”

It got me thinking. What would be proper etiquette rules for being on the kart track? We might make a video/ podcast, or something…based on comments below.

1 Like

I would think some general etiquette pointers would be useful. I’m doing my first race this weekend and don’t really have much of an idea as to what the expected behavior is when passing, at the start, etc.


Same here. Can’t add to the conversation, but being new, I would love to hear some recommendations.

The etiquette for the competition that I organize can be summarized as the following: when a kart is more than half a kartlength alongside you, you should give enough room to both make it through the corner. When you are not halfway, you must yield. Same goes for exiting the corner. Seems very easy in theory but still debatable on track.

1 Like

How about starts? It looks like pure chaos. Is there some sort of method to the madness?

My only tips would be to not try too hard to stay out of the way, because that usually ends up causing more issues. I think one thing the fast guys like is when they know what to expect from backmarkers or newbies. If you are erratically changing lanes trying to get out of the way, it’s not a good thing.

Hold your lines, slot in where you slot in, and keep your nose clean.

Just stay consistent on your lines, the fast guys will find their way around you, don’t run into anyone, and have fun!

If you mess up, you’re sure to hear about it, just put your hands up and say “I’m new at this” and most people are generally accommodating to the newbs.


I’d add on ‘Make sure that you hold up your hand when your enter and exit the track’, so that people are aware.
Be as spatially aware as you can, especially when entering and exiting the track.

Also, I’d say that, especially during a lapping day, don’t jump into a battle with someone unless they know you’re aware. They could be practicing something and you don’t know it, so they could be caught by surprise needlessly. Communication is key.

Honestly, in my opinion, a good racer should know how to give the kart that he is passing space, so that you can get by but you can both survive.

1 Like

My biggest pet peeve is when racers (new and experienced) don’t trust their peripheral vision and start looking sideways for karts! Most people, not all but most swerve as they turn their heads! Hold your line and don’t worry who’s behind you!
If you get the blue passing flag point to the side you would like to be passed on. If they don’t get by before the next corner try to leave a lane on the side you pointed too.
Try not to lock up the brakes! It’s really easy to do when you’re learning.
Most of all have fun, ask lots of questions, and if you have a problem and someone gets upset with you remind them that you’re new and ask them what you can do to avoid a situation like that again and you’ll be good to go!

1 Like

I can’t tell you how many times some newb in a cue ball helmet with a clear shield and sunglasses on has swiveled his noggin to look at me and point me by, only to swerve directly where he’s pointing…


I know a few experienced karters that still do it as well! :roll_eyes:


The hands follow the eyes, man. :wink:

you go where your eyes go, good point Rick

Hand up signal when exiting or entering track AND if there is a problem in front of you or if you are slowing.

If you are slower than another driver don’t hold them up. Try to let all drivers lapping you by fairly and evenly. Be realistic in your ability to race with another driver. If you know they are faster you might learn more by letting them by and doing your best to follow them.

If your track has a requirement to run a rookie plate, do it.

If you are faster driver give the slow rookies a bit of room, especially at a TnT ([practice). More so the younger the kid.

Be constructive in your criticism - it will go a long way to helping retain newcomers.

Adhere to safety rules for attaching kart weights - in terms of fastener size, safety wire, double-nutting etc.
Ditto on catch cans.

Our track had a rule that rookies run an orange rear plate. Rookies were to start in the back for the first 3 races unless cleared by race officials. Realistically you should be where you belong on the grid. If not that is first a failing of the race officials. Secondly don’t fail yourself, you should be able to speak up if you feel if you are in over your head. No one except me wanted to run a rookie plate, but it just made sense to me.

Even now If I know a guy is faster than me I prefer to just ask the grid guy if I can move back on the grid. It could be something as simple as the faster driver missed qualifying but I know he is historically faster than me.

Starts to me were not as bad as the form up laps. That is where I felt the most uneasy at first. Driving a KT100 with no way to idle or restart, not used to being in a kart and side by side and being the new guy didn’t add to my serenity. Once we started on the last turn or two before the start I felt good. I had 20 minutes in a kart before my first race day - I would have done it differently If I had a do-over - so you sound smarter than me

On the start if you are near the back I would advise to just plan to stay in line as you probably aren’t likely to gain much on any risky move. But you are the one in the kart and you have go by what you see in front of you and how much you trust who is behind you. Depends a bit on whether you are on the inside or out side and what the turn looks like, how well your kart is handling. So many variables. Main thing is looking ahead and not getting too focused on one thing too early.

Just keep on your line, don’t do anything sudden, and keep your eyes ahead. The faster drivers will get around you, don’t get out of the way for them. If you’re battling for position just stay predictable.

The worst is when drivers try and turn around to see who’s coming up behind them and inevitably swerve while doing so. Seasoned drivers are guilty of it too except they’re usually fiddling with brake bias or ripping off radiator tape and end up swerving all over. I was always told to stay predictable and under control. When I hear someone faster approaching I avoid locking brakes up, needing to countersteer, etc and stay exactly where I’m supposed to be.

I’ve never understood racing that frowns upon going two wide into a corner. Karting seems to take the F1 approach which is that the corner belongs to one person or another. I get it for sprint tracks but it seems to carry over to road racing too. It’s something I’d like to see relaxed for at least road racing.

My biggest etiquette issue isn’t on the track…it’s in the pits and off the track. Be nice to the people you’re racing with and help them. The dissemination of information in karting is abysmal and the people in the pits aren’t always friendly nor helpful.

1 Like

10 posts were split to a new topic: Making Info About Karting Available to newbies

EKN are publishing a series on changing the culture of racing. Here’s the first installment from @tjkoyen


One thing that stuck out for me:

One thing that has really bothered me in recent years is the egregious swerving I see from defending drivers. Apparently, it’s become acceptable in some of these drivers’ minds to just jerk the wheel into other drivers as they are trying to overtake. This is something that really upsets me when I watch it, because I’ve never seen a penalty called for it and it’s seems just as dangerous and aggressive as hitting someone in the rear bumper. This is an extreme form of defense. I have absolutely no problem with the ‘one-move rule’, allowing drivers to defend and crowd another driver on the straight, compromising them in an effort to hold the spot, but when a driver looks over at another driver and swerves into him, that’s a line crossed. This is racing, it’s offense and defense, but we aren’t driving rental karts. There are limits to adhere to.


I really liked TJ’s article.
More rationale, and less ego in the content. Karting needs more of that.


Nice article. I was watching some big-time racing on YouTube and I saw folks doing this (big defensive swerve with the intent to push the other guy) and it bugged me. Didn’t understand how that wasn’t penalized.

Also, I have been having some anxiety around racing in general in that part of racing requires (some) risk taking and I have to make my peace with that. As newcomers this year to racing, I don’t know what to expect for me and Nick. I hope racing will be fun and relatively safe, but if it isn’t and people are super aggressive, I might have to pull the plug on it and become a lifetime lapper.