What's the absolute minimum you'd show up to your first race with?

To these tools I’d add:

  1. Can of chain lube
  2. Can of gasoline - but you can skip that at GoPro and just roll up to the pump
  3. Roll of paper towels
  4. Kart stand
  5. A box each of M6x20, M6x30, M8x30, M8x40, M10x40 bolts, M6 and M8 washers, M6 and M8 nylock nuts, all coarse thread, all property class 12.9
  6. A bicycle pump and tire gauge
  7. A large hat and titanium-oxide or zinc-oxide sunscreen.

When I started 23 years ago my stand did not have wheels. Myself and others pushed to the grid using a push stick in the steering wheel. I started with no spares, a non-rolling stand, a push stick and basic tools

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I would say bring what have. Dont stress it too much. We started racing before we had a stand, a trailer and spare parts. Don’t get me wrong I love being prepared but I would still give it a go if we didn’t.

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Add one of these to your eventual kit. Sooooo much nicer than using a bike pump. Just thread the hose on the valve stem, dial the PSI you want and press start. The pump shuts off when it reaches the desired pressure. I’ve checked tires with a high accuracy pressure gauge afterwards and they were bang on.


I would highly suggest attending a race or two without your kart. Take notes, talk to some people in your class, get a feel for whats up. Then formulate a plan to attend a race.

As for practice, have the kart as prepared as possible, nothing worse than wasting time when you should be on the track rather than fixing issues that should have been addressed at home. Its still hot, so bring plenty of water, shade to me is a must for me and the kart. It took me a season or two before I was fully prepared at the track with tools, parts, food, shelter, rain wear, etc, etc…

Most importantly have fun.

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One thing I will add is to pack a notepad and pen, and write down everything you use or find yourself wishing you had while at the track. Write down what size sockets you used, what size Allen keys etc, chain lube, zip ties. Keep a note of everything you need as you come across it and then make sure you have it next time.

Oh, I didn’t notice if you mentioned how you get your kart to the track, but if you use a trailer, one must have is a spare tire for the trailer…go ahead, ask me how I know that one.

My first race, I had a borrowed trailer, my kart and kart stand, a helmet I owned, a gas can with mixed fuel/oil, chain lube I bought at the track, a few tools I already owned and a cooler full of fluids and small snacks. I wore jeans and a borrowed motorcycle jacket, some leather mechanics gloves and a pair of leather shoes I already owned. It was a low key race, very lax on the formalities and perfect for my first venture. FYI, I had zero practice time in the kart aside from putting around the neighborhood.

Little backstory. I grew up around SCCA racing. We were at a track monthly during the peak of race season and I already had a good idea of what would make me more comfortable while at the track versus what was a necessity to get on the track. Additionally having a strong Automotive background, mechanical failures did not intimidate me and I would just try to find a work around solution given the materials I had on hand.

Was it my best outing, sadly no. I was hoping through the corners and threw the chain twice before I knew why (used kart, didn’t know what to look for). DNF for the Final. Did I have fun? Hell Yes!! Would I do it any different given the choice, not likely. I tend to calculate my challenges, then dive in and recalculate my next attempts accordingly. That is the fastest path to learning self sufficiency. Sure, if you have cash to spare, then a Tent Program is worth while, but if you are budget racing then finding a way no matter what is very achievable too. Sort of the difference between Sink or Swim and Relying on your Floaties. I am not knocking the Tent Programs, just saying that there are many ways to get to where you want to go within your given budget.

In fact, most racers I know, did not start out with all the gear they currently possess. It was amassed over several years of racing. Myself, I have found little things along the way that make live easier. One of my biggest finds, was the Versa Trak tool boxes from Lowes. You can combine storage boxes, bins, drawers and more on a single stack with wheels and a telescoping handle to easily move around. Best buy for compact tool storage/transport.


Read your club’s rules for what you are exactly required to bring. For example, they may require things like a fire extinguisher or drain pan.

Otherwise, I’ve done many practice days without having needed any tools or spares or anything. Many tracks have trackside support if you do end up needing something. And, while likely everyone will have a kart stand, is it absolutely required? – no, as long as you don’t mind pushing. Karts push pretty easily in a straight line. So, the absolute minimum would be your kart, gas, and plenty to drink.

BTW, if you need to add weights to meet the race minimum, you should get that sorted out now.

My very first race day ~20 years ago we didn’t have a kart stand. That remains the one and only weekend we didn’t bring one. Bryant is correct that it technically isn’t 100% necessary - nobody is going to outright stop you from racing if you don’t have one - but I’d very highly recommend that you get one ASAP. Pushing the kart around the paddock without one is a pain and working on the kart without one is even worse.

One other thing I’ll add is that you want to make sure you have a helmet that meets the safety rating requirements for where you’re racing. Some places will allow a helmet that only has a DOT rating, which is what most motorcycle helmets will have. Some places will require a helmet that has a Snell rating. It would probably be worthwhile to double check what rating your helmet has and to also confirm with your track what they require.

And just to echo some of the other points made by others here, if you’re missing a few things when you arrive don’t sweat it too much. I haven’t personally raced a regular club weekend at GoPro before but I’ve been to the track and know a couple of the regulars there - I’m sure plenty of people there would be happy to help out if you need a hand, have any questions, or need to borrow a tool. There’ll also likely be a place on-site to buy anything essential you might be missing.

Okay, I’ll bite. How did you discover you needed a spare for the trailer?

The most obvious answer you could think. I rolled into the track and had the lady at the gate waving her arms to let me know I had a flat. Luckily I have a tandem axle trailer so it wasn’t a major issue. Could have been if it was a single axle and blew out half way to the track.

So quick update: I’m headed to my first race this weekend. It’s be at GoPro Motorplex with plenty of spares on site. I’ve decided to go under a tent for my first race to learn the race-day logistics and get some maintenance advice. They’ll have any specialty tools I don’t have.

Here’s my packing list:
Kart Stand (homemade)

Tool box:
tire gauge
bike pump
duct tape
electric tape

Kart items:
vinyl numbers
chain oil
motor oil
go pro w/ ram mount on seat strut

Comfort items:
folding chairs
cooler w/ water
spare clothes

race suit
vans shoes
rain gear


By definition, doesnt a “tent program” have a tent? :wink:

Also, you shouldnt need the bike pump. The tent program should come with access to an air compressor. Do you have a tire gauge?

To dereks point, the program should have compressor and a big tent already!

Who are you tenting with? Maybe run this by then and ask what they think is redundant and what you might also consider.

Completely aside but ghost racing sighting in the wild:

Photo: Scott Monison

“The cool thing about Ceraland is it used to be Cummins Diesel company park. They sold it to private owner and they turned into pay park with just about any amenity you can think of. If you win the race the trophy has a giant Diesel engine piston. It’s pretty cool as far as trophies that I’ve seen.”

Apologies to op. Thought it cool but not worthy of a new thread.

Haha, yeah they have a tent. I should’ve mentioned the tent is for my wife to be able to relax somewhere other than the tent program tent.

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Roger that.

Oil/gas are usually bought from tent. No need to kart it along. (What a pun!).

Technically you are going to use their tools too. I like the list, though and that’s what you should go with. The idea is to try to prepare yourself, so despite tenting, bring your list.

One final thing to add: transponder. This will be necessary to get laptimes on days when they have beacon up. Also needed if you are going to race. Can be bought used (there’s a gentleman who posts with used ines regularly here) or bought from Mylaps.

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Forgot to mention that too, I’m renting one for this weekend but will probably buy afterwards.

I would contend with Dom’s point that it is good to have and bring your own tools. There is nothing more annoying than trying to wrench on something and not knowing where the right tool is. Plus in my experience from the other side, it’s pretty annoying when your tools are constantly disappearing and being misplaced because people forget to put them back, or leave them on floorpans and then lose them on track.

Even if I’m working for someone 1-on-1 and they have tools, I always bring my own so I can organize them and know where everything is.

And when you are trying to change gear and need the Almighty 10mm wrench, it’s guaranteed someone else needs it too.

They do have a tendency to walk away.