Questions from a Lifer #1 - Marketing and Demographics

What do you feel is the target demographic for kart racing??

I dunno that but has one, exactly.

It’s kind of a financial one as opposed to age/cultural. And it depends on the “level”.

I suspect that anyone can get the bug. The barrier to entry is money, specifically 25-40 bucks for a rental session.

Not enough women, tho, which appears to be a Motorsport thing in general.

Not asking about rental Dom.

I meant that it’s your entry. If you can afford that, and there’s a rental track, you can get hooked into it and ultimately owner karts.

I’d be willing to bet that the demographic participant info changes from sprint to rentals to oval.

I’d also be willing to bet that location skews participation demographics. Last night in Edison, the crowd was primarily hip young adults in their 20s. My endurance races skew 35+ for example.

How specific do we want to be?

There’s two primary groups in my observation.

  1. Stepping stoners, the kids that get in and get out (funded by parents).
  2. Post college (or post collage aged) adults with motoring/racing interests and an amount of disposable income. Self funded.

Within these there’s a series of avatars with their own journey and specific interests.


James, Ahhhhh discussion as I had hoped. I wholeheartedly agree with your primary groups. I am certain that group 2 is noticeably larger and WAY more likely to spend more time in the sport.
I had a conversation with a prominent track owner over 15 years ago and he told me that Junior drivers need to be promoted the most because they are our future. Now not a one of the Junior drivers is still there but a large number of Group 2 guys are still in place.
So why IMO is so much of the publicity and advertising doting on Group 1? Short time goals only? Group 1 is actually encouraged to “MOVE UP” and leave the sport.
Dom, with all due respect rentals just don’t figure into my inquiry.

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Group 2 is probably brought in through rentals by a large portion. I certainly was brought in by rentals first.

To lesser extent, I came into the owner-side of the sport first because of my daughter. Technically then she is Group 1, but this Group 2er would’ve been less likely to spend as much time at the track if I had to pick between that and spending time with my family.

In summary, rentals were the bait and a Group 1er set the hook.

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Group 1 (or their parents) typically have more money to spend.

Group 2 are generally frugal (and more fun to hang out with).


What is the target demographic, or where is the greatest potential for new demand? To me, two very different questions and I’m not sure which is actually being asked.

To the first, I would say anyone with a heartbeat. Rich or poor, young or old, karting has a place for you - driver and/or support. My point is, to encourage growth we need to be as broad/inclusive as possible in our approach, and then do our very best to lower the barriers of entry.

This in part leads to an answer to the second “question”. If it’s about potential for change/new demand from a particular segment, then I think it’s the over 45s/50s. That is, the kids are older/left school, the mortgage is mainly done, the income is still flowing, the free cashflow has never been greater, I have more free time, the weight isn’t too bad (or I need a good excuse to lose some), I’m still physically able to learn new things, and I have an interest/itch but the scratch to date has never worked. That is, a me, and there are squillions of us (the great Gen X, and perhaps some of those terrible younger Boomers). Then there’s our older kids who’ll get hooked once we get going (Dad/Mum, you’re nuts, but this is seriously good fun, we want in).

One of the key practical issues though is the perceived and/or actual barriers to entry. If you don’t come from a karting, motorsports and/or mechanical family, for many this is daunting. Again, this is a me, but in my personal case, I plunged in and have stuck it out (thank goodness); but it has been a challenge and I’m a bit of a nut job who doesn’t like to give up. I suspect for many others under the current “system”, it’s too big an ask, so it never happens and stops in its tracks before really getting started. I have heard some horror stories from some who have tried entering the sport, and have been effectively put off by a local karting club representative; that it’s all too hard, you should do something else. I keep pushing my Club that more needs to be done, but it’s not so easy without a physical base, some capital to invest and ideally a track home.

This is where I think we have the greatest potential. There’s heaps of untapped want and cash out there. But we need to help it land and stick. The greater the coordination the better (regional, national and international). And no doubt the manufacturers (engine, chassis and parts) could do (much) more.

My thoughts.

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That depends. Being too broad and inclusive you thin out the sport so much it lacks passion, purpose and culture. When karting is marketed like this it all feels a bit flat and boring. Trying to be all things to all men is not the best strategy. You do need a ‘core’ purpose. And ‘cheap racing’ ain’t it. I know I did the ‘budget kart challenge’ but that was in and of itself to prove a point, but you still need something beyond that.

Lower barrier to entry is also subjective. Some people see a TaG kart as easier for the newcomer, whereas I see more technical complexity and cost. Also sometimes barrier to entry isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s all a balance. It’s can’t be too hard, but it can’t be too easy either, and it depends where those learning curves lie within the sport. The risk is painting the sport into a corner that it can’t escape.

The other issue really with karting is in the 80s onward we split away from being a relatively cohesive sport. Once single-spec karts took hold, once the ‘stepping stone’ dogma took hold etc… we lost the ability to speak as a sport. It’s why the question Greg is posing is so fundamentally difficult to grasp because we have to considering so many different things. Karting doesn’t act as a whole.

To ask what the target demo of a sport is kind of asking the wrong question, I think. Imagine asking what the target demographic of football is: the NFL, XFL, College football, adult recreational leagues, youth leagues, will all have different answers. The answer will be different for participants vs. spectators too.

In the same way, different a national series might attract a somewhat different group of racers than a regional series. Stuff like Pro Cup Karting will attract a different crowd than a club series. Rental kart entertainment places generally target young adults and/or families looking for a fun night out but they might also have a league designed to meet racers’ needs.

It’s hard to know exactly what the demographic differences are in these groups without having the data, but I’m guessing some assumptions could be made based on what you’ve all seen at different types of events.

For what it’s worth I don’t think money is actually the biggest barrier to entry in karting. It’s a big barrier to Motorsport in general, but I know folks who spend more on a season of autocross or to run a track day car. Why do people interested in motorsports choose those activities over karting? Why do people spend thousands on an 80/20 sim rig instead of a kart?

I think part of it is opaqueness of the racing world. If you didn’t come from a racing family it’s hard to know how anything works. Autocross, track days, and sim racing are all easier to understand and get into as an outsider alone than karting is.


Karting is many things to many people. It’s an ecosystem. If you want to go super high level, you can say karting is “fun” and therefore the target demo is basically anyone from 4 to 80 years old. The problem is that you can’t take action on that kind of metric.

What you can do is identify avatars and link their attributes with the “kinds of karting” that are most likely to attract each avatar. In a sense, that’s happening organically. Big teams look to attract stepping stone racers (or rather, their parents) and road racing series tend to attract the older demo, with local sprint clubs doing a bit of both.

Problem is that there’s no cohesive plan or strategy and implementing one is like trying to herd cats.

The thought behind kartpulse at the outset was to bring those different flavors of karting together from a community perspective. Pro tour or no tour, backyard or racetrack. Can’t say we’ve succeeded but we certainly tried :joy:

That would not be my experience but I may be wrong. Wouldn’t be the first time.

So where are they coming from that you’ve seen?

I am not sure rentals bring newcomers in as such. We can’t really say for sure because we have no way to experiment in the modern context of there not being any rental scene.

It may be that those with an interest in racing go through rentals, but it is by no means the source of the interest in karting. if anything it may act as a filter to people trying owner-driver because rental championships have very little interest promoting what we do. Having said that without rentals would our circuits be viable businesses? Probably not for the most part.

Other forms of racing, sprint cars, motorcycles, snowmobiles, drag cars. With my location there are a lot of “Racing Familys” that naturally want to go racing.
Right off the top I can only think of a couple of local drivers that came from rentals, there are however lots of local racers that go to indoor rentals during off season to stay in shape,

I suppose that the question could have been more specific. I just wonder what kart racing is marketing itself to or if it’s even being marketed at all. After all kart racing doesn’t seem to have anything resembling a business plan unlike many forms of motorsport.


In my little discord of karting that I participate in about 1/4-1/3 buy a kart eventually it seems.These are rental league guys who want to go up.

a much smaller amount then go from sprint karting to cars but I can think of maybe 5 in that group.

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I was wondering how much a roadside billboard costs to rent.

“How fast are you?”
Come race us at
Doms Acres Karting Colosseum
Take exit 15d
Open to all ages and experience levels

I went because of a billboard.
seems ideal, bored adult commuters to target.