Karting is the most basic form of motorsport, but it’s still quite expensive to get started. Whether you’re interested in buying your first go-kart for yourself to go racing, or a kart for your child, you might be wondering how much go-karts cost.
Go-karts typically cost around $2,500 to $5,000, but the most competitive racing karts can cost as much as $10,000. Starting karting from scratch can cost 5 figures even for beginners. Buying the kart, tools, and equipment is expensive, but you also need to add in consumables like fuel and tires.
The problem with getting into karting is that it’s difficult to find out what tools and equipment you truly need. Everyone has different wants and needs when they take up any sport or hobby, so we break things down further below so you can understand the real cost of karting.
Go-Kart Cost By Category
The first thing you need to consider is which class of karting you’re going to be participating in. There are different classes based on the age group of the driver. Younger drivers have smaller and less powerful karts. These age groups are just guidelines in some cases, but in championships they are strict rules.
Younger drivers can jump into Bambino karts that are very small with tiny engines. These are the perfect karts if a driver is still learning the ropes and getting into the sport. Although the official age group is 5 to 9 years old, younger drivers can also use these karts if parents want to get their kids started even younger.
Drivers can start as young as the age of three, but they are not allowed to compete in official events until the age of five in most cases. This varies depending on the rules of your local championship, so make sure to check this before you commit to a specific chassis and engine combination.
The chassis forms the base of your kart and it’s a crucial piece of the puzzle. Chassis are sold fully built with all the parts you need to get started (aside from the engine). This includes the brakes, axle, seat, wheel rims, and all the other parts you need. Essentially all you need to do is bolt an engine on and you can drive it.
Karting chassis are relatively expensive because they include all of the additional parts that you need. Karting chassis can be used for several years, especially if they are bought brand new and looked after, both on and off the track.
Every chassis has a homologation tag that you need to check. This identification tag will tell you how hold the chassis is and how long it can still be used in competitions. Chassis “expire” for professional competition, so always make sure to check your championship’s rule book on their acceptable age of chassis.
Below is a breakdown of the average prices you can expect to pay for the chassis of each class. These prices might vary depending on the manufacturer that you buy from. For example, CRG is more expensive than Ricciardo kart, so make sure to shop around to find one that suits your budget.
Go-Kart Costs By Chassis Type
|Karting Class Chassis||Cost|
|Bambino Kart (5-9 years)||$2,500|
|Micro Kart (7-11 years)||$3,000|
|Mini Kart (9-13 years)||$3,500|
|Junior Kart (12-15 years)||$5,000|
|Senior Kart (14+ years)||$5,000|
|KZ Shifter Kart||$6,000|
Since kart chassis come without an engine, you need to make sure that you also take into account how much it costs for you to buy and install a suitable engine onto the chassis. Each class has an engine that you need to buy, and they vary in size, power, and weight.
There are big differences between some of the classes, but others are identical in most ways, which allows you to save costs when upgrading. For example, if you’re going from junior to senior class, you don’t need to buy an entire new engine. The only difference is the addition of a power valve that gives the engine more power at the lower RPM range.
You will need to open up the engine to install a power valve, so you might need to take it to a mechanic to have the part installed and the engine resealed again, which adds some cost. On the other hand, the jump from mini karts to the junior class is an entirely different engine, and you will need to buy a new one when making this switch.
Below is a breakdown of the costs you can expect when buying an engine for your kart. The majority of the engine prices below are based on Rotax engines (the most popular engine in karting championships). The only exceptions are the Bambino and KZ shifter kart engines, which are not manufactured by Rotax.
Go-Kart Engine Costs By Category
|Bambino (5-9 years)||$1,750|
|Micro (7-9 years)||$2,700|
|Mini (9-12 years)||$2,850|
|Junior (12-15 years)||$3,800|
|Senior (14+ years)||$4,000|
Go-Kart Cost Breakdown
|Tools & Equipment||$1,250|
|Kart Specific Tools (optional)||$1,720|
|Total Cost||$15,975 – $17,695|
NOTE: The costs above include everything you might need to buy to start up a kart racing career from scratch. This includes a decent chassis and engine, and consumables, tools, and other parts that you might already have or be able to pick up used for much cheaper. This is not how much it will cost to simply get into karting for a few club meetings each year.
Karting is an extremely expensive sport, especially when you look at the overall cost of buying a kart and all the equipment and tools that are needed to properly keep it running. That’s why you need to break the costs down so you can carefully analyze how much each part costs. This allows you to prioritize the parts that are essential, and the ones you could pass up on in favor of more important components.
Keep in mind that if you buy a rolling chassis all of the parts below are included except for the engine. You can buy an empty frame separately, which means that you need to buy each part individually to build the kart. This could end up being cheaper or more expensive depending on the parts you’re buying.
The tables below can be used as references for the estimated amount of money you need to budget for spare parts and various other components. Some of the parts below such as steering rods are essential for spares because they can often bend and break, which means that you are likely to replace them multiple times per season.
Breaking down the costs involved before buying a kart is crucial. It not only gives you a good idea of how much you’re going to spend, but it’s also going to give you an idea of how much you need to keep aside if something goes wrong (such as a bent chassis for example). Below, we go through all of the main costs in more detail.
NOTE: All costs are estimates based on buying new parts, tools, and equipment. You can obviously bring the costs down by sourcing used products instead.
Go-Kart Cost Breakdown – Main Components
|Rear Wheel Hubs||$60|
|Front Wheel Hubs||$50|
|Carburetor Jets & Needles||$25|
|Air Filter (excl. Air Box)||$10|
The Main Things You Need
The first set of costs you need to look at are the main parts that are fitted to your kart. Aside from the chassis and the engine, there are several other crucial parts you need to factor into your budget. These parts are also essential for the setup of your kart, so you will need to get different types of the same part to allow you to adjust your handling etc.
For example, it’s a good idea to have at least four different sprockets available to fine-tune your setup. This gives you the flexibility to test gearing setups on different circuits and in different conditions. Gearing is one of the most essential setup elements that you need to keep in mind, and you’re probably going to collect a bunch of different sprockets during your karting career.
Some parts have different options that you can use depending on the setup you’re going for. For example, you can find seats and axles that have different levels of stiffness. If you’re a newcomer, it’s recommended to go for the most neutral setting possible until you get a better idea of which one works for your driving style.
Some of the parts are fragile and may need to be replaced from time to time (the chain is one example of this). There are also parts that need to be replaced multiple times per year, especially the air filters and brake pads. The table above outlines the costs of one unit of each individual item, so bear that in mind.
Go-Kart Tools & Equipment Costs
|Brake Bleeding Kit||$130|
|Wrenches, Ratchets, & Sockets||$90|
|Engine Sprocket Changer||$30|
|Tire Pressure Gauge||$15|
|Allen Key Set||$15|
Essential Tools & Equipment
The kart alone is great to have, and it will get you around the track. However, there are some essential tools and equipment you’ll need if you want to keep going around it! These tools are needed to work on the kart to maintain it, so it’s crucial that you invest in them in addition to buying the kart.
NOTE: The cost of tools and extra equipment is one that many karting beginners often overlook.
Wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, and Allen keys are the most important tools to have. However, you should keep an eye on these because they easily get lost when people “borrow” them in the pit lane!
Equipment like pop-up tents and foldable tables are nice to have but not essential. In your first year of karting, you probably don’t want to focus on buying these items unless you have a bigger budget. It’s important to buy all of the essential items before you invest in luxuries that will make your karting life easier.
Some of the basic equipment can be borrowed from other drivers and mechanics in the pit lane, but it’s important to have your own tools and equipment rather than having to rely on others. There may be scenarios where you can’t borrow tools because they are in use, which will leave you scrambling trying to find tools to use!
Kart-Specific Tool Costs
|MyChron or Alfano||$650|
|Sniper Laser Wheel Alignment Kit||$330|
|Tire Changing Tool||$330|
|Digital Temperature Gauge||$300|
|Laser Chain Alignment Kit||$90|
|Steering Wheel Level||$20|
Specialized Karting Tools
If you’re looking to participate in races and go professional, you’re probably going to start looking into specialized karting tools that will help you to boost your kart’s performance and allow you to further adjust its setup. These tools can be used to fine-tune the kart to your liking and get an advantage over other drivers on track.
However, these tools are expensive, and it’s recommended to start investing in them later on in your karting career, especially if you’re on a tight budget. These tools are not necessarily essential, but they can make a big difference once you get them.
On top of that, it’s also important to learn the basics of karting before you invest in these tools. This will help you to better understand how to use the tools to your advantage and make the most of them once you’ve added them to your arsenal.
The most useful tool that you should get first is a data logger such as the MyChron or Alfano. This allows you to keep track of your lap times while you’re driving, but you can also download the data onto a laptop to analyze it and see what you can adjust or improve in your driving.
Go-Kart Consumables Costs
|Fuel||$300+ (costs vary)|
Even after you have bought your kart and all the tools and equipment you need for your karting journey, it’s still going to cost you more money. It’s incredibly difficult to keep up with the costs of running a kart, especially if you’ve just spent a fortune on the chassis, engine, and the tools you need to keep it running.
Karts run on consumables such as fuel and tires. Without these consumables you won’t be able to run the kart, never mind race with it! It’s expensive just to practice in karting, which is why it’s such a difficult sport for kids to get into, especially if they’re aiming to become professional racing drivers.
The cost of fuel varies, but luckily karts don’t use a ton of fuel. In general, one gallon of fuel should be enough for a day of practicing at the track. However, you also need to keep in mind that you need to mix it with 2-stroke oil, which adds to the costs of running the kart. Fuel costs will vary by kart, region, and series, as this may dictate what specific fuel you must use.
There are also other lubricants you will need to maintain the kart and keep it running smoothly. Brake cleaner and carb cleaner are two of the best lubricants you can invest in when it comes to cleaning any mechanical parts on your kart, so these are absolutely essential.
Go-Kart Safety Gear Costs
|Fire Resistant Underwear||$200|
|Neck Brace (optional)||$120|
|First Aid Kit||$50|
There’s no doubt that karting is a dangerous sport. Since karts don’t have any seatbelts and the driver is exposed to the elements, it’s crucial that drivers have good quality safety gear when driving their karts. It’s important to have this safety gear on hand at all times, even if it’s just for a day of practice.
Safety gear can be pricey at first, but it can be used for several years. Just like the chassis of a kart, there is a homologation date associated with safety gear such as race suits, which means that they have an “expiry date” for professional races. However, race suits can last up to ten years or more if they are taken care of properly (and can still be used for practice sessions).
Neck braces are required for younger karting classes such as Bambinos and Cadets, but they are not required in classes such as junior and senior. Most drivers prefer not to use a neck brace because they can be dangerous with faster karts, but make sure to do your own research before deciding whether you want to use one or not.
Rib protectors also aren’t essential pieces of equipment, but they can make driving your kart much more comfortable! Karts have stiff seats, and unless you put padding on the inside there is nothing to protect your body through the bumps and shunts, so it’s not uncommon to end up with bruised and sore ribs after a karting session without a rib protector.
The Costs Of Racing A Kart For One Season
Having your own kart is great, but if you can’t race it against others then you’re not going to be able to get as much out of it. Racing isn’t always about being competitive and aiming to become a professional racing driver. Karting is the purest form of motorsport, and Formula 1 drivers still love karting even after winning in the most premier series of all.
So, even if karting is just a hobby for you, participating in races is still a great idea. You’ll meet some lifelong friends, develop a competitive streak, and learn more about motorsport by racing in a championship. However, the costs of participating in racing can become extremely expensive.
Below is a breakdown of the costs you can expect to have to pay if you’re participating in a karting championship for one year. The majority of the costs come from buying a kart and safety gear, which would only be necessary in your first season of karting, or if you’re upgrading to a new class.
It’s important to keep in mind that costs will vary a lot depending on the championship you’re racing in. Most championships require you to use a brand new set of tires for each round of racing, and some of them also require you to travel to different circuits, which can add to the total costs of the season.
Go-Kart Racing Season Cost Breakdown
|Travel & Accommodation||Varies based on championship|
How Much Does A Go-Kart Engine Cost?
Kart engines typically cost about $1,500 all the way up to $6,000 depending on the class that you want to enter. The cost of a kart engine will vary depending on the manufacturer and whether you’re buying a new or used engine.
The engine is the heart of your go-kart, and it will ultimately determine how fast your kart can go. If you’re buying a frame or a complete chassis, chances are you still need to buy an engine to bolt onto it. That’s because not everyone wants to use the same engine. The engine usually determines which championship you’re going to race in.
Kart races are not only divided by different classes such as junior and senior, but they are also divided by manufacturers. For example, you can’t take a Rotax kart engine to a championship where they race with IAME or Vortex engines.
How Much Does A Go-Kart Chassis Cost?
Go-kart chassis can cost from $2,500 up to $6,000 depending on the class of the chassis and the manufacturer you’re buying from. You can also pick up go-kart chassis much cheaper than this if you opt to buy a used one.
The chassis of the kart is just as important as the engine because it will determine how your kart handles around a race track. Every chassis is unique, and while many rookies and amateur drivers might not be able to tell the difference at first, you can clearly start to pick out the key factors that differentiate chassis from one another when you gain experience.
For example, the CRG chassis is known for being stronger under braking while the Tony Kart chassis is a great all-rounder. It’s important to do thorough research on each chassis before you make your investment, because the chassis of the kart will probably stay with you for several years.
You can use a chassis for up to four years in most competitions, and since they’re so expensive it’s worth keeping them for that long. You should also make sure to check the specific spare parts and tools you might need for a chassis, as they can differ in price from one chassis to another. For example, the Tony Kart requires a special tool to adjust the spindles.
How Much Do Go-Kart Tires Cost?
One set of go-kart tires can cost more than $300, although costs vary depending on the manufacturer and the class for which you’re buying the tires. If you have a season that consists of ten rounds, you could easily end up paying $3,000 just for tires.
Tires are crucial in karting, and they will be one of the most expensive parts of your season if you’re racing professionally. They may be small pieces of rubber, but they are specifically designed to withstand the extreme heat put into them caused by the friction on the tarmac, giving you the grip you need to go fast around a track.
In karting races, you will need to buy a brand new set of tires for every race weekend that you take part in. This is often frustrating for drivers because the tires they used in their previous race might still be ‘fine’ to do another race. You’ll probably end up with several sets of used tires by the time the season ends, and they are technically unusable according to the rules.
However, these tires are still perfectly usable for practice rounds, and it’s recommended to use as much of their lifespan as you can to get some good testing laps under your belt. Again, tires will vary in price according to the manufacturer you’re buying from, and the class of karting that you’re buying for.
Other Karting Costs To Consider
There are lots of other karting costs to consider, other than the main ones we’ve outlined above. For example, you need to pay just to go and do some testing at the track or get a few practice laps under your belt. If you’re not aware of these costs beforehand, it can catch you off guard as the season’s bill ramps up.
Karts are incredibly sensitive machines, and they need to be maintained and looked after. This means that you’re going to need to buy tools, lubricants, and other equipment to keep your kart operating at peak performance. If you don’t look after your kart properly, it could easily be damaged or it could even break down unexpectedly.
You also need to have a place to store your kart. If you’re storing your kart at the track, you will need to pay for the storage unit that you’re using. If you’re storing it at home, you’re going to need to invest in a kart trailer that allows you to transport your kart to and from the track.
The Costs Of Getting Competitive
If you’re racing professionally, you’ll also want to invest in tools that improve your skills and make your life easier. Buying a data logger and investing in a coach can help you to get ahead of your competition quickly, and it can flatten your learning curve dramatically.
Is Go-Karting Expensive?
Karting is one of the most expensive sports or hobbies out there (especially for kids). Considering the fact that some F1 drivers start karting as young as three years old, there are a lot of costs that you need to keep in mind if you want to get your kids into karting.
If you’re just starting out, you can expect to spend more than $10,000 on karting in your first year of competing. That is if you’re spending conservatively and buying a second hand kart. The problem is that the expenses never stop with karting, and you will always need fuel, new tires, or new lubricants. It’s not just about buying a kart and enjoying it.
The expenses do get lower over time as you accumulate the tools and equipment you need, but there will always be a cost to karting, even if you’re not racing!
Is It Cheaper To Build Or Buy A Go-Kart?
Karting is an expensive sport whether you build a kart or buy one. Buying a brand new kart will always be the most expensive, but also the easiest and most convenient way to get into the sport. Buying a new kart also ensures that you (hopefully) won’t have to deal with any reliability issues or cracked chassis after just a few races.
Building a kart from scratch may allow you to stay within a tighter budget, but you might not be able to race with it. You will need to buy parts from an official manufacturer and put them together if you want to build your own kart that you can also race in a championship, but the costs of this can quickly add up too.
Buying Second Hand
The cheapest way to get into karting is to buy second hand. Whether you buy a full rolling chassis or buy every part separately and build the kart yourself, buying second hand is always the cheapest way to get into the sport.
However, buying second hand could also come with some drawbacks such as having poor reliability in your kart. It’s easy to overlook something like a damaged axle or worn out brake pads, so always be prepared to spend more money in case something comes up, and thoroughly research the kart you plan to buy, taking it for a test drive if possible.
KEY POINTS• Karting is a very expensive sport/hobby
• Total costs for getting started can reach 5 figures
• The cheapest way to get into karting is through buying second hand
Karting is one of the most expensive sports to get into. If you’re starting fresh, karting can cost up to $10,000. The biggest expenses are one-off costs such as buying a kart, tools, and safety gear. However, you still need to maintain and run the kart with fuel, tires, and more, which can cost several thousand dollars per year too.