As a motorsport founded in trust between man and machine, in go-karting it’s hugely important to have manufacturing brands that you can turn to. CRG is one such company that’s built a reputation for competitive, reliable karts over the years that you should consider! I’ll be giving an overview of their decorated history and current success.
CRG Go-Karts Were Late Bloomers
It’s important to know as a point of reference that the go-karting phenomenon started to sweep the world in the 1950s following a design first made in the US of A. Of all the regions worldwide, Europe really resonated with this new motorsport and it’s easy to see why; just look at Italy and their love of things with engines!
Most go-kart manufacturers sprang up during the 60s and early 70s in order to start building chassis that could be used for the sport, which gives them so much pedigree in karting.
As such, CRG is considered to be a late-comer to the chassis-building scene due to their official founding in 1986.
The founders of CRG, however, were building experience under another company name; Kalì-Kart. This little chassis-maker was founded during the early 70s, and they primarily made karts for amateur racers until 1979, when they won a National kart race and put themselves on the map.
With a victory under their belts, Kalì-Kart continued to make some chassis but overall their work dialed back. Because now, thoughts of CRG were very present in the minds of the founders.
Giancarlo Tinini and his family were the brains behind their first venture which then bled into CRG when they were confident in their knowledge.
Racing As Research
When the company was founded in Italy, where other established kart manufacturers were already operating (Tony Kart and Birel), the founders of CRG knew exactly what direction they wanted to take with the business.
Primarily, they wanted to focus on industrial production of high-tech products to provide kart enthusiasts with quality on a higher scale than some of their competitors.
And in order to achieve this goal, CRG founded a race team alongside its manufacturing branch. This was highly common when looking at kart manufacturers the world over, because racing teams were a natural development after making competitive chassis for individual racers out there.
What made CRG’s move different was the symbiotic nature of the founding. Both the manufacturing business and the race team were founded in 1986, and they grew alongside one another at the same pace.
What this allowed CRG to do in terms of manufacturing their chassis and other kart products was to use the race team as both branding, to get their name out there, and a prime method of testing.
Unlike the more localized race teams of other manufacturers, especially in the early days, the CRG team was soon jetting all over the world to compete in International fixtures almost as soon as it was brought to life. This nailed their goal to get word of their brand out there, and before long, their name started to be uttered in the same breath as the big guns.
Innovation Into Success For CRG
Although CRG were often considered to be a young manufacturer and therefore not worth the ‘risk’ in a lot of karting circles, there was to be no denying their growing accolades as they moved into the 1990s. Their race team was present at a lot of International races, and slowly, they began to accumulate podium finishes, followed by wins.
A huge part of what cultivated their amazing chassis were technical partnerships that they forged with other companies and designers. One such range of note was called Maranello, and was released in the late 90s to the tune of huge success with then-kart-racer, Jules Bianchi.
The DR brand was launched under CRG around the same time and was managed on-track by the 5-time World Champion, Danilo Rossi. These names lending themselves to a seemingly inexperienced manufacturer started to turn the tables on people’s expectations in huge ways!
During the year 2003, CRG underwent a rather major restructuring in order to integrate the Maxter engine division into their line-up more seamlessly. Following this, they entered into a partnership with Dino Chiesa who managed the Zanardi Kart project. It was with this combination that CRG claimed two World Championship titles and two World Cups.
A Fresh Start And Modern CRG Kart’s Achievements
It’s no secret that the karting world gives opportunity to future motorsport champions, and CRG celebrated a great many fantastic drivers who wore their colors over the years. These include:
- Alessandro Zanardi
- Michael Schumacher
- Tonio Liuzzi
- Nico Rosberg
- Lewis Hamilton
- Robert Kubica
- Max Verstappen
With one such driver, the hugely successful Formula 1 driver, Lewis Hamilton, CRG launched the LH brand in 2009 which included premier karting products for the serious racer. To celebrate this new and exciting partnership, the kart manufacturer took the opportunity to open a new chapter by opening a new headquarters building.
This new production site is one of the biggest the whole world over, and takes the cake for the most modern, too. Not only was it a place that their chassis were built, but it was a massive technology center, too, where they worked on brand-new innovations and continued to push the envelope on new discoveries.
CRG wanted to continue to satisfy the demanding go-kart market, and this new headquarters of theirs checked every box.
They’ve remained at the same site ever since, and have worked on growing their distribution network in order to bring CRG products to more and more places. Today, there are over 100 certified dealership locations!
Overall, their goal that was set at the start of their production journey continues to be met. CRG designs and makes karts that are aimed at the higher levels of kart competition; premium products that will provide a true racing edge over all else.
They’ve retained their pinnacle place as one of the world’s most recognizable and trusted kart manufacturers, even when people doubted them at the start. To this day, members of Giancarlo Tinini’s family still operate CRG, keeping everything within the family business and passing it down for generations to come.
Now that you know the premium-centric history of CRG, surely you want to check out the best of their current karts that continue to win them titles out on the track!
I’ve researched the manufacturer extensively and had the pleasure of driving some of their karts, so my picks for their best karts at the moment were pretty easy to make. Check out the current stars of CRG’s line-up!
CRG’s Current Range: 3 Karts Reviewed
1. The New Mini Hero Kart
Karting always begins with young people, and CRG are very aware of this fact. They’ve taken one of their award-winning chassis, the Mini Hero, and overhauled a lot of it to produce an even more competitive Cadet-level (age 9-12 approx.) kart.
As with all of their karts, the New Mini Hero has been rigorously tested and undergone heavily monitored quality controls in order to be released. The production philosophy they cite is: maximum performance, reliability, attention to detail and unique design.
Needless to say, they’ve hit the nail on the head with this racy kart. It’ll definitely get you picked out in a crowd of other racers, that’s for sure.
- 28mm moly tubing
- Adjustable rear axle
- Adjustable caster camber
- Ven 12 braking system; self-ventilated floating disc
- 950mm wheelbase
- 3L Fuel tank
- Molded resin seat
2. The Dark Rider Evo 15 Kart
With a kart name this cool, who wouldn’t want to take it out for a spin? As ever, CRG outdid itself with the design of their Dark Rider series of chassis; making it both sleek and unique.
What makes this chassis so special and worth a mention here, however, is the innovative variable engine mounting position to accommodate for the adjustable wheelbase. You can pick between 3 frames when purchasing a Dark Rider, and each has differently-sized moly tubing to make your driving experience all the more personal.
This machine is designed for Rotax kart racing; one of the most competitive and well-organized series in the whole world of karting. It has to have some edges on the competition because of that, and CRG have pulled out all the stops.
- 3 frames to choose from: 32mm moly tubing, 30mm moly tubing and 32/30mm variable moly tubing
- Adjustable stub axle settings
- Sniper caster camber system
- Ven 11 braking system
- 1050mm wheelbase
- 8.5L fuel tank
- Molded resin seat
3. The Heron Kart
In the realms of karting, you either pick a direct drive (no gearbox) or a shifter (gearbox) kart and that’s your lot. You can’t modify the chassis to accommodate for the opposite, because of the different design required to fit a gearbox on an otherwise sparse chassis. The balance will be thrown off entirely.
CRG have broken that mold by producing the Heron, a lightweight Senior-level (age 15+) kart that can easily be switched between direct drive and shifter. This is due to how the chassis is balanced compared to others, and the smaller moly tubing giving it some lightweight leniency.
Overall, it’s a good kart for beginners due to the more forgiving, flexible moly tubing compared to most adult karts out there. And the added flexibility means that the kart can grow with you as a driver!
- 30mm moly tubing
- Can be set up as direct drive or shifter
- 1050mm wheelbase
- Hydraulic hybrid brake system
- Resin molded seat
- Adjustable rear axle
- Adjustable caster + camber
So, there we have it; a comprehensive view of the youngest kart manufacturer (in the big leagues) and a run-down of their current kart chassis stars!
CRG are a highly competitive kart manufacturer who have benefitted from their late start in the manufacturing game, and have built an impressive legacy with unique, striking karts that turn heads wherever they’re seen on the track.
Make sure to check them out and have a look at their current kart range for the full line-up!