Not sure where to start, so many questions. (Located in the northeast)

Hello everyone. I am thinking of getting to karting as I feel it will help me with my car racing abilities (or at least that is what I am told). I have access to some seemingly nice venues here in the northeast all within 1.5 hours including Lehigh Valley Grand Prix, OVRP, NJMP and Englishtown. Is there some kind of development path you guys could recommend? I’m interested in only A&D as I do not want to tie up too much of my money/time in karts. I am sure it is the most expensive way to kart (as I’ve researched on these forums before). Hoping to get some solid information as there seems to be a lot of vague information spread all over the internet for people like me (who are using karting to augment their club racing)

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Hi Ryan, if you provide a bit more information, it might help improve the quality or focus of the responses you get. To that end, I’ve got a few questions:

  1. What class do you run in club racing?
  2. How long have you been racing?
  3. How is your current performance relative to the front runners?
  4. What weaknesses do you hope to improve through karting?
  5. You asked about a ‘development path’; do you mean skill development, or are you talking about ‘racing career’ development?

Finally, if you’re looking for info about A&D programs, there is a fairly recent topic here.

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Thanks for the quick reply. Actually, I’m going to be a brand spanking new rookie to club racing by the end of this year. I’m run with NASA and currently HPDE4 (open passing run group) and I run lap times similar to mid-pack of the class I thought I wanted to compete in (but I might switch). I am looking to start karting to gain an edge and develop my racecraft quicker. I’ll answer your questions in order though.

  1. Considered Honda Challenge, might do SpecE30/Spec Miata/Super Touring 5.
  2. 1 Year of Track Experience, NASA HPDE4 (developed pretty quickly because I studied books and made sure all of my seat time was “worth it”)
  3. Based on lap times, I would be mid-pack. There is more to racing than just driving fast, of course.
  4. I have no “racecraft”, so to speak. So this is the main focus.
  5. I’ve seen some A&D programs that offer 9 HP gas karts, then I see these “TaG” Karts that have 30 hp, then there are shifter karts. I’m assuming that as an adult who has track experience, it doesn’t necessarily mean I should start on TaG/Shifter Karts but I’m sure I won’t follow the same path that a 5-6 year old does.
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Hey that’s cool; there are exciting times ahead for you! Years ago I ran with NASA on the west coast.

There are more learned kart people on the list that will hopefully chime in, but since you’ll be renting, if it were me, and my initial priority was racecraft, I would: start in a slower kart (maybe a 206 4-cycle), where I could work on smoothness, corner speed, and setting up/completing passes. Then when I felt comfortable I’d take on a new challenge by stepping up to the TaG kart.

Smart man!! Since you are a student of the sport, check out my website some time.

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Welcome Ryan. You’re one of the smart ones that realizes how a kart can help you in a car. Bring your friends :smiley:

OK, my first question is… Are you looking to race karts against others, or turn laps to get seat time and hone your craft?

By far the most economical kart that you can run and/or race is one based on the #briggs206.
It’s kinda like the spec e30/miata of karting. It’s not super powerful (around 10HP), but the turns will still present a challenge. They run pump gas, a gallon of while will nearly run you a full day. It’s kinda ridiculous.

Having said that, I know 206 is not super popular in the NE yet. So if you think you’ll hit up some races in the area, the next best option for you is the Briggs world Formula which is around 14HP. These have bigger grids in the NE compared to 206.

After that, you’re into two stroke territory. Honestly, the 206 or WF are going to get you incredible bang for your buck. I would seriously look at those before anything else because of supreme ease of use and low maintenance.

I say that as a two stroke fanatic too. I love them, but I love low hassle and track time too.

Well, at first, I’m sure I should learn how to drive a kart fast before I start racing against others to practice racecraft, right? From what I’m seeing, it seems like 9 HP karts will be sufficient for my needs right now and that is where my starting point should be.

I am in your neck of the woods and know the tracks you mentioned. It might be helpful for you to do a few laps in the low HP rental carts that all of these tracks have. NJMP and OVRP have very regular rentals programs (but call ahead) LVGP is an indoor gas rental only. There are also a few indoor electric kart tracks too(speed raceway and pole position) that can let you turn a few laps and help you get familiar with karts. If you want to do A&D for races, to work on race craft, there are two series in the area 1) ovrp has a club series that gets a good turnout and 2) the F-series state championship (runs at Englishtown and NJMP). There are a bunch of teams that you can do A&D with(I’ll let others recommend their favorites). Unfortunately there really is not much LO206 in the NE (yet). Most likely you would want to look at TAG senior or TAG master. It might take some testing/practice to get up to speed, but these series are friendly to newcomers. Good luck. Have fun. Go to a track on a race day (both NJMP and OVRP have ones this Sunday) and ask lots of questions, everyone will be happy to help.

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Ok you are in my neck of the woods. Sadly, there isn’t real arrive and drive around here.

There’s electric indoor rental karts at RPM in jersey city but they don’t have a league that I know of.

NJMP rents amusement karts that are ok, but that’s it as far as I know.

Full Tilt rents basic rental karts and also rents 2 stroke “racing” karts but my experience with them was that they were old and tired machines. I couldnt imagine racing one, having long since owned a proper modern, race ready kart.

That being said, they do work but you won’t be competitive. So, in theory, you could rent karts from full tilt and race them in the f-series races.
It would cost between 400-500 a day would be my guess.

Or you could spend 5 grand and get a very well sorted kart with an x30, wrench yourself, or hire someone. You’d race in the f-series.

That’s basically it. I have looked pretty exhaustively but maybe I missed something. And, your one and only engine package is going to be 125cc TAG, x-30 preferably. We don’t have a real field in the club races for shifter or 100cc or 4 stroke.

Ahhh. Full Tilt is just about the only one I could find for A&D. I did research on the F-Series too. Isn’t it a spec series or is there something I am missing here regarding the rentals?

You say there are a bunch of teams…could you post them up or PM me?

I can’t stress enough how shitty the rental karts are compared to a real kart. I’m not sure how much you are going to learn driving an overweight Tank with janky steering and unenthusiastic brakes.

Try talking to John Bonanno. I can connect you. I rented a compkart from him a few times last year. He reps compkart and I ended up buying my karts from him.

Okay, I really appreciate how much you’ve stressed this, haha. I guess A&D in the karting world (or maybe just the northeast) isn’t really on par with what I’m used to seeing in car racing.

Fseries is the club race series. Called the state championship. There’s also the fseries Gearup which is the more serious regional series.

In any case you’ll follow their schedule because that’s when the practice days are (sat before the race).

The only kind of a&d you’d find in proper equipment is going to be renting from a team like compkart.

Thanks for the replies everyone. Looks like I’ve got some more research and thinking to do

I think the lack of proper a&d is just unique to NJ. OVRP probably has what you are looking for but it’s a bit of a hike for me from central NJ.

Its about 1.5 hours from me but that’s no problem as long as I’m getting quality seat time. I’ll be sure to enquire with them.

A lot of good advice here. Bottom line is go to a F-Series Race or F-Series State Race and meet with John Bonanno. There are others like him too, but he’ll treat you as good as anyone. Tag 125 is your only real option in NJ, unless you want to travel down to MD where we have some small fields of 5 to 10 karts in 206 at Nicholson Speedway. Good luck!

That is actually not a bad commute at all. Good to know!