Why do people switch teams?

Hi all, I have been noticing that some drivers switch teams that also have different chassis brands and was wondering why is it that some national drivers change teams like this from season to season or in some cases, during the same season?

Especially after investing a lot into parts for that brand if you have a kart of that brand at home

Bigger paycheck maybe? Just like f1 isnt? Just smaller scale.

  1. Better deals
  2. Misaligned expectations
  3. FOMO

When racing at National level what kart you have at home doesn’t really matter in terms of prior investment. Chassis are disposable items by and large. So then other factors come into play. What deals are on offer etc…

  1. A possible chassis advantage.
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“possible” leads us back to point #3 :wink:


I have seen racers leave teams for different chassis especially in 206.

Drivers that aren’t up front always think a different chassis will help them get there. It’s never the driver, just ask them. :roll_eyes: I exaggerate…but only a little…

1). What deal is being offered? Is it reduced cost, opportunity outside of karting, you name it.
2). Working with a certain person or group of people.
3). Perceived advantage from chassis or team.
4). Chassis that more suits driver size or driving style.

National level folks are treating these karts like disposable items, so a manufacturer change is less impactful to the budget. Heck, you have some that are arrive and drive and don’t own the equipment they are racing anyway. There is the learning curve in subtle driving differences that still exists, but top level drivers should be able to adjust quickly to that.

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That class is still evolving. As some American chassis manufacturers are focusing on purpose built 4 stroke platforms, they are gaining market vs the Euro chassis. Some of it is perceived performance, but perception is what matters.

I’m generally of the stance that the actual team matters more than the color/brand of chassis. There’s overlap of course… but at these high profile events you need the right people to make the most of whatever you have on a given weekend.


I disagree slightly with this - they aren’t gaining market share because of the karts they are building, it’s primarily that the teams/brands are giving rides to some top tier drivers for their feedback & data and building a big tent style database faster and more efficiently than the one off teams can.

If Rollison or PSL or TKG decided there was a financial upside to adding the big CKNA events to their calendar then you’d see OTK, Birel and KR dominate CKNA eventually as well.

That’s not saying anything positive or negative about any brands. Just that the big tent approach with proper data and/or coaching programs is where the success is rooted more so than chassis development.


Definitely relevant to the larger question of people leaving team to team. My response on 206 was more focused on just chassis and the growth being seen.

No doubt the big teams don’t see value in regional and grass roots programs. Have a friend that is a principal in a national level program. They started out looking at the regional level and quickly realized that there wasn’t $$$ to make it viable at the caliber they wanted. But the 206 fields are a mix of privateers and smaller teams, and the front runners aren’t necessarily associate with a team in that class.

I think you are spot on regarding teams and coaching. It’s what we had to do when we jumped to KA this year. 206 has so many budget racers, privateers, and newbs that it is a totally different animal. We could be competitive in 206 as privateers, not so much KA.

I do firmly believe the American chassis manufacturers are targeting the very American 206 class and developing chassis more suited to the low HP. The Euro chassis are targeted at higher HP 2 stroke applications. The fact that they are targeting 4 stroke means we won’t see them outside of CKNA and regional events. I think OTK will be top dog in market share for quite a while.

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All great points for sure! I do find it a shame that the big teams have divested themselves from club and regional racing for the most part. It’s one of the big reasons club racing struggled for awhile - somewhat of an upward brain drain made it harder for club racers to learn the ropes with less teams and experienced drivers there to help the next generation. But I can’t blame the teams at all though - once you build that traveling team beast, the only thing that keeps it fed is more travel races. Lol

I do think the American manufacturers are seeing a niche and seizing the opportunity that is there to carve out a market segment. I don’t think they are building anything better than the big euro brands for 206 but they are catering to a customer base that is craving more attention than what they are getting from the big brands. Kudos to them - love seeing a little ingenuity result in success!

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I think this is a very good point. It’s a team sport for most drivers who can’t be 100% self-reliant, so working with (or away from) certain individuals is a very important factor. Judging from the outside, you can’t always tell

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Young adults are less likely to pay for their own racing also.

Kids have their parents paying.

So when a good deal arises, it’s generally that 18-25 year old age bracket where drivers come and go rather than having to pay for something themselves.

I think the main reason people change is down to value - whether perceived or actual.

The motivations for switches are diverse, ranging from logical like “I think this chassis suits me better,” to irrational “I just think I want to be a part of a bigger tent because it’s what successful racers do,” to petty “I don’t want to work with XXX anymore, F that guy!” (No context given or sometimes a hyperbolic story that may or may not be true).

I’ve heard all of these reasons before from racers of various backgrounds and competition level. Some people also just like to be a rolling stone.

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I went also through different chassis brands. It was not the chase for speed since most of them where quite equal. But for me was the feeling what i was searching for. First i started with gillard, was pretty ok, bit difficult on setup in some conditions, but since rotax went from mojo d3 to d5 the thing was really hard to setup. It was just to stiff and since there was no development from Gillard to adapt on the softer tyres i had to switch to sodi. Was pretty a go to chassis in dd2 in that time. Was quite happy with it, still it had some drawbacks. Than everyone went from sody to tony, but for my driving style it was not was i was expecting, too loose on the back and difficult brakes. After half a year i dropped it cos i could not adapt to it. Than searched for alternatives. One birel team gave me a chance to test one and what can i say…this was it. The feeling was amazing. I could push it immideatly and the speed increased alot. So in my case was not the speed it was just the right feel for a kart which i was hoping to find