So in the southeast you’ve got three divisions for Junior and Senior age groups. Simplest way I can break it down is this:
Amateur – LO206 Senior / Heavy
- Cheapest Option on both maintenance, tire wear, initial cost
- 3-4 competitive racedays on a set of tires, $220/set
- 9 HP (roughly same straight line speed as rental karts at GoPro / Kershaw, but lap times are about 6 seconds faster based on lighter weight and grippier tires)
- 206cc air-cooled 4-stroke engine produced by Briggs & Stratton ($1000 roughly total)
Intermediate – KA100 Senior
- Tire wear is slightly worse than LO206
- 2 competitive racedays on a set of tires, $220/set
- 100cc air-cooled 2-stroke engine produced by IAME ($2395 retail)
- 22 HP (lap times are 8 seconds faster than LO206, 14 seconds faster than rental karts)
Pro – X30 Senior
- Moving from a medium tire (MG Red / SH) to a soft tire (MG Yellow / SM) means you need new tires for every race day, and only get about 2-3 solid days of testing before seeing substantial falloff in grip
- 125cc water-cooled 2-stroke engine produced by IAME ($3195 retail)
- 30 HP (lap times are 3 seconds faster than KA100, 11 seconds faster than LO206, and 17 seconds faster than rental karts)
I’d buy a standard chassis, run in Briggs for a bit until you get within 0.2-0.3 tenths of the leaders pace. Then progress up. Goal should be to maximize your budget for as many practice days and race days you can get in the beginning.
As for funding, best thing you can do is brand yourself on social media. YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, post on it all. Post as much as you can. Be honest, don’t try to put up a front or hide your losses. Being real attracts people the most. Even if you aren’t getting a lot of traction in karting, doing it as much as possible just acts as practice for when you want to jump to other forms of motorsport.
Another thing to keep in mind is that there are tiers of karting that are actually higher than car racing. National level and international level karting is only 3rd or 4th tier in the rankings below Indycar, NASCAR, and F1, and a lot of the time you see stars in those series compete in national kart races too.
In karting, you can get manufacturer / shop help once you’re performing at the top of classes on the national level. But it takes a lot of time, effort, and money to get to that point.
My recommendation would be to try to get in with one of the local shops or teams that attend the club races at GoPro. Ask if you can just hang out in the tent before you’ve even bought a kart or anything. Then work your way into volunteering to help do the basics on their paying drivers under the tent, and eventually you’ll get some tip money from them or the parents, maybe even some paid gigs. You might even be able to work a trade deal out with the shop to trade your time for tent space / team fees.