CRG is a karting manufacturer that has built a reputation for competitive, reliable karts over the years that are worth considering no matter how much karting experience you have. Below, we’ll go into the full history of CRG go-karts, and we’ll discuss a few of their best rigs too.
CRG Go-Karts History
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 USA. Of all the regions worldwide, Europe really resonated with this new motorsport more than many others.
Most go-kart manufacturers appeared during the 1960s and early 1970s in order to start building chassis that could be used for the sport. CRG is considered to be a late-comer to the chassis-building scene, due to their official founding coming later, in 1986.
But the founders of CRG were building experience under another company name: Kalì-Kart. This little chassis-maker was founded during the early 1970s, 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, as the would-be founders of CRG were already planning their own venture. Giancarlo Tinini and his family were the brains behind this, and CRG was born when they were confident enough of their karting knowledge to build their own chassis.
The Early Days Of CRG
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 with kart manufacturers the world over, because racing teams were a natural development after making competitive chassis for individual racers.
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.
The CRG Race Team
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 as prime method of testing their karts on the track.
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.
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 they slowly 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 Line
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!
In 2003, CRG underwent a rather major restructuring in order to integrate the Maxter engine division into their lineup 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.
CRG In The Modern Era
It’s no secret that the karting world gives opportunity to future motorsport champions, and CRG celebrated a great many fantastic F1 World Champions who wore their colors over the years. These included:
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, CRG opened a new headquarters for the company in Lonato del Garda, in Brescia, Italy.
CRG’s Modern Headquarters
This new production site is one of the biggest in the world, and takes the cake for the most modern too. Not only was it a place that their chassis could be 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 in the karting space.
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!
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.
CRG designs and makes karts that are aimed at the higher levels of kart competition. They’re premium products that will provide a true racing edge over all else. I’ve been lucky enough to drive a few of them, and I’ll take a look at some of CRG’s best karts below.
KEY POINTS• CRG is a fairly young kart manufacturer, being founded in 1986
• Their karts have been used by many F1 World Champions over the years
• They produce premium karts for those at the top of their karting game
CRG’s Current Range: 3 Karts Reviewed
1. 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 (ages 9-12) kart.
As with all of their karts, the New Mini Hero has been rigorously tested and undergone heavily monitored quality controls. 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 competitive kart. It’ll definitely get you picked out in a crowd of other racers, that’s for sure!
- 28 mm moly tubing
- Adjustable rear axle
- Adjustable caster camber
- Ven 12 braking system (self-ventilated floating disc)
- 950 mm wheelbase
- 3L Fuel tank
- Molded resin seat
2. 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 themselves with the design of their Dark Rider series of chassis, making it both sleek and unique.
But what makes this chassis so special and worth a mention here is the innovative variable engine mounting position to accommodate the adjustable wheelbase. You can pick between 3 frames when purchasing a Dark Rider, and each one has differently-sized moly tubing to make your driving experience all the more personal.
This machine is designed for Rotax kart racing, which is one of the most competitive and well-organized series in the world of karting. For this reason, the Dark Rider is designed for maximum performance and edge over the competition.
- 3 frames to choose from: 32 mm moly tubing, 30 mm moly tubing and 32/30 mm variable moly tubing
- Adjustable stub axle settings
- Sniper caster camber system
- Ven 11 braking system
- 1050 mm 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 (normally) 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 would 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 gives 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!
- 30 mm moly tubing
- Can be set up as direct drive or shifter
- 1050 mm wheelbase
- Hydraulic hybrid brake system
- Resin molded seat
- Adjustable rear axle
- Adjustable caster + camber
CRG are a highly competitive kart manufacturer that has benefitted from their late start in the manufacturing game, and they have built an impressive legacy with unique, striking karts that turn heads wherever they’re seen on the track.
I created and have been writing on this site since 2019, collaborating with drivers, coaches, engineers and manufacturers to provide you with the most reliable information about motorsport. Find out more about me here.