My Entry Into LO206 Actual Cost

I’m less than 2 months into karting. I feel like I’ve been moving fast and learning a lot. I’m 51 years old, no racing experience other than sim racing Gran Turismo on PS. The purpose of this post is to document my actual expenses getting into this and hopefully help someone understand what it will actually take to get up and running.

Most of the costs I was expecting (kart, stand, club membership, gas, oil, safety equipment), but there were a few that were unexpected, like the transponder, lead weights, sprockets, extra wheels, needing new tires so soon.

Here’s a breakdown of my actual costs:

X 2008 CRG Kalifornia Kart $1500
X Used kart stand $125
X Mychron lap time computer used $430
X Helmet (Amazon) $108
X Neck brace (Amazon) $30
X Gloves (Home Depot work gloves) $12
X Leather jacket free (bought 33 years ago in high school)
X PKRA club membership incl unlimited free practice $540
X Transponder bracket (eBay) $30
X 58 tooth sprocket (Amazon) $12
X Tool caddy (Home Depot) $15
X Oil/fuel catch can (Amazon) $20
X Extra set of used wheels $100
X New tires (local vendor) $210
X Tire pressure gauge (Home Depot) $5
X Fuel can (Home Depot) $15
X Fiberglass repair (Home Depot) (seat cracked) $25
X Tools - I didn’t have to buy any
() Lead weight $??
TOTAL: $3177

Other ongoing/consumable expenses:
Race fees $85 (race entry, transponder rental, 2 pit passes)
Fuel $10 a gallon
Oil $15 a quart
Chain lube $10 a bottle?

One other important area I had to work through was transport. I considered a few options, including using a local kart shop to store and transport, buying a vehicle specifically for transport, and a trailer. I ended up with a very unconventional method of using a cargo carrier and trailer hitch on the car I already owned, a 2002 BMW 325i. The kart sits on the cargo carrier vertically and gets tied down with ratchet straps. Fortunately for me, I live in AZ where the weather is pretty great, and I’m only 10 minutes from my track. If I had to drive further, I’d probably use a small trailer. My method also has the drawback of the kart covering my license plate and third brake light.

Transport:
Hitch (Amazon) $150
Cargo Carrier (Amazon) $80
Ratchet straps (Home Depot) $20
Trunk support (homemade) free
TOTAL: $250

I hope this information helps someone determine what the real cost of getting into karting might be. Others have spent more or less, I’m sure, but this is my budget-minded take on getting into karting. I’m happy to answer questions.

Ron


Where are you located?

Phoenix, AZ

What age bracket are you in?

Masters (40+)

On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your mechanical ability, or willingness to wrench on things?

8

Talk a little about your racing experience so far.

Super Limited

9 Likes

I’m glad you posted this because people always have this question and I’ve only seen one other fella document his costs in a post.

I’m not much further along than you. I’m on 2nd full season.
Here’s what I can add re expense. Please bear in mind that I race x30 which I suspect is significantly harder on fragile bits than lo206 (much more power).
What you posted so far seems pretty reasonable and you probably are done with the upfront stuff.

What I didn’t expect was all the stuff that wears down and needs replacing. So nickel and dime stuff. This race weekend involved replacing front and rear sprockets, new chain, new steering column.

So basically, add $50-300 per weekend for misadventures and wear and tear.

Basically, almost everything in your kart will be replaced over time.

4 Likes

Yes Dom. I can’t find the post I made right now, but I basically ran a theoretical in what it would cost for running I believe X30 over the course of 4 years. Your guys’ input with what you actually experienced was very helpful, so thank you for your contributions!

Ron, I love your transport solution! Super cool and unique. I hope you continue with documenting your costs, it’ll be very interesting to see how different regions compare in running costs over a year or two.

1 Like

Here’s the Topic:

To view your own posts:

Tap your avatar > Tap your username > select activity from the left drop down menu then topics from the right one.

image

It seems a lot more convoluted than I remember to find one’s own posts :thinking:

I know this is older but it is really helpful information, for me! (Studying so i can enter the kart world)

Everything costs money, but it is surprising the amount of equipment you really do pretty much need to enter your first race.

1 Like

Welcome @CatDaddy. It’s true that there are things here and there that will crop up unexpectedly. But you’ll also find it varies depending on what you already have… For example if you have a wagon or truck, you can forgo a tow-hitch. You can often pickup used tires, in great shape for little money. Mychron laptimer as low as $135 for a 3 basic that will still display laptimes.

Where are you based?
Have you had an opportunity to do an arrive and drive session in a 206 yet?

1 Like

Thanks @KartingIsLife,

I am grateful to already have some equipment already due to HPDE and motorcycling!

$135 for basic lap timer is a great deal! I wish there was an easier way to find what is compatible with what.

I’m in Los Angeles county, sort of in the middle of willow springs, and Adam’s.

I just finished reading Karting 101, and I am looking for information on arrive and drives today actually! I have only done indoor electric karting.

The safety equipment definitely makes sense. The general racing equipment, like fluids etc and tire pressure and changing equipment makes sense.

A set of 4 tires costs less than 1 for my car! And the used tires i’ve seen really are cheap!

I moved away from supersport bikes due to ever increasing costs and minimal safety.

I run a pretty cheap car now, but…

The tires, and the fuel consumption, and the lack of seatbelts ($$) and seats ($$$$) and roll cages ($$$$$) and car engines ($$$$$$$$) is what is driving me to Kart! I’m totally over the price of cars! Everything Kart related appears to be 1/4 to 1/8th the cost of an equivalent Kart piece. Even my wife, who said that HPDE isn’t too expensive, was floored when I showed her that a cheap $99 day at willow springs is conservatively costing $350+ in reality.

I then did a ballooned budget for doing kart days (solo) and it came out to well under $100 total actual cost for a practice day in an lo206. This excites me, and the prospect of wheel to wheel racing without having $7000 in safety equipment! (I just can’t afford that, let alone to throw the car away when (not if) there is a crash)

(I may be just skewed from my previous and ongoing car tuning)
On cars, there are at least hundreds of variations of different parts for safety equipment like seats and belts, brake rotors and calipers, wheels and tires, springs, etc… Not even touching engines, transmissions, gear ratios and axles.

Is there a breakdown of which parts fit most karts? (I’ve noticed that it looks like sprint karts at least use 3 bolt, 5" wheels). Seats? Wheels? Spindles? Columns?

The reason I feel extra confused is because I have seen posts from “experienced” karters who essentially pull out mid 90’s shifter chassis from the trash, so to speak, and run lo206. And i’ve seen kt100 karts running lo206. And, I’ve seen references like “Well, now that there are specific 206 chassis”. So this really confuses me. Can I creatively graft an lo206 onto a good condition KT100 chassis? What about the pop up ads that have a clone motor and a complete kart for $1300 (I’m sure i have the answer there).

My #1 goal is to run some type of kart in the largest possible local fields. #2 goal is start out with a cheap basic kart with no extras. #3 is keep consumables to a minimum hence Kt100 or lo206 seem like the only options.

It’s not that I can’t afford more, it’s that I have historically always enjoyed all forms of sport less and less, the more I spend. I always look back and say, “I should have just kept that 1st or 2nd bike or car, it was so much more fun even though it was mostly stock” even with road and mountain biking, I’m fine with not winning because of equipment, but I don’t like to spend any money other than maintenance and getting to the track!

Probably 2008 crash inside of my head!

Actually I wanted to say that I’m actually way more interested in vintage karting. I don’t know how to describe it all technically… But it seems like in the 80’s that karts seem to use modern looking tire sizes. But, they don’t have the hideous plastic side pods, no bumpers in the back and sometimes not even a front lower bumper.

I have looked but I seem to doubt that anyone runs anything like this consistently. It seems like it would make the racing a little less bumper car. I can only imagine what a hard wheel on wheel hit might do to a kart!

Seeing as how you are in out in CA I’m pretty sure you have a lot of lo206 racing. And you are correct, it’s a good way to get going as it is low cost relatively speaking.

Have you looked at the outdoor tracks yet near you? Before you commit to anything figure out where you want to race and see what is common there. It would be a bummer to buy something that isn’t used.

As far as chassis goes I wouldn’t sweat it too much. First kart and all. If money isn’t a thing by all means buy a new lo specific frame but I think it’s not that relevant particularly as you will be figuring out the way karts handle at first.

@Bimodal_Rocket

Thanks!

I have been to the tracks but it was before I knew what to look for. I’m going to go back out and look in the coming weeks and months!

I’m grateful that you say that the lo specific frame isn’t relevant. I really don’t think i’m going to be winning and going to nationals at all! I do want to avoid headaches where parts simply can’t work together at all.

Thanks!

My 2008 CRG Kalifornia kart was originally a 2-stroke kart. My understanding is that a lot of 2-stroke karts will run 4-cycle LO206 engines with the proper motor mount. That said, I’m glad I got a kart already fitted with an engine. There’s already enough to learn between taking care of the kart and improving on the track that not having to figure out how to build the kart was nice.

An older Mychron lap timer to start with is a great idea to save some cash. New tires are not a requirement either, unless you’re going to enter a race. My practice tires and new tires were about a 2 second difference on a one-minute lap. An extra set of wheels is nice to have, but I could get by without. I also have since found the transponder bracket at Acceleration Karting for under $10 plus shipping. DIY oil/fuel catch can would save some money too.

Club membership is probably the biggest unforeseen expense I had, but it’s worth it.

Now that I’m a few months in, the expenses have definitely tapered off. Also, as I improve at driving, I’m not burning through front tires nearly as fast.

I’m happy to say my transport solution is still working great! And the comments I’m getting when I show up at the track are super supportive. The looks I get from people on the road driving to the track are priceless.

1 Like