Go-karts are small machines that run mere millimeters off the tarmac and are a fraction of the size of your average car. They only weigh 160 lbs (72 kilograms) without a driver too. You might therefore be wondering if you would fit into a go-kart.
Most people can fit into a go-kart. Whether it’s a rental kart or a professional racing kart, the pedals and the seats can be adjusted to accommodate different people. In racing, weight is important but there is a minimum limit to keep the competition close. Being tall also comes with challenges.
Height and weight are not all bad in kart racing though, as long as you understand how you can use them to your advantage. Below, we’ll discuss this in more detail, along with everything you need to know about how your height and weight affect you as a go-kart driver.
How Big Can You Be To Fit In A Go-Kart?
You can generally be any size (within reason) and fit in a go-kart. The absolute maximum weight limit is usually around 140 kg (308 lbs), with a maximum height of 6’4” to 6’7” (1.9-2.0 meters). There are various classes of junior karts that suit different age groups.
There are different types of karts for different age groups. For cadet and Mini Max karts, there is a height and weight limit. However, it’s unlikely that kids would grow over this limit when they are in the relevant age group for the category they are participating in.
The same goes for junior and senior max karts. The seats and the pedals can be adjusted based on the height and physique of the driver. This allows just about anyone to race in these karts, although the driver must be comfortable in the kart if they want to race safely and competitively.
Rental karts are much more difficult to adjust. The pedals and seat can move forwards and backwards to an extent to accommodate taller and shorter people. The seats are also much bigger and wider and don’t fit as snugly as racing seats do. This is designed to accommodate drivers that have different physiques, as a sort of one-size-fits-all approach.
Karting Height & Weight Limitations
While it can be difficult to determine guidelines on how big you can be to fit into a go-kart, some karting tracks around the world have limitations in place. It must be said that even if a driver is over these limitations, there is still a possibility that they would be allowed to drive the kart based on their physique because height and weight are not everything.
The weight limitation is usually about 140 kilograms (308 lbs). The height limit in the majority of cases is between 6’4” and 6’7” (1.9-2.0 meters). These are averages from different karting circuits around the world, and they will differ from one track to another. Some will enforce them more strictly than others too.
Is There A Weight Limit For Driving A Go-Kart?
There is no official maximum weight limit for karting, but some circuits have general guidelines on their weight limits. On average, tracks will have a maximum weight limit of 140 kg (308 lbs) per driver. There is usually no weight limit for rental karts, but often a minimum age limit.
In competitive karting, there is always a minimum weight limit that every driver needs to meet. This is to ensure that competition between drivers is as fair as possible. Drivers who are lighter will have an advantage in their karts, which would be unfair because it’s out of other drivers’ control.
While the minimum weight restrictions for each class varies based on the championship, there are some general guidelines on the weight limits that need to be met. On average, the minimum weight limit for junior class karts is around 140 kilograms (308 lbs), and the limit for senior class is around 165 kilograms (363 lbs).
What Happens If You’re Under The Weight Limit?
The weight restrictions are set for the kart with the driver included. Karts will be weighed on their way into the pits after a race, so you want to make sure that your kart meets the weight limit even when the fuel has run out, or else you will be disqualified from the event.
Karting regulations are extremely strict on meeting the minimum weight limit, and even being under the limit by as little as 100 grams can lead to being disqualified from the race. At the same time, being too heavy will slow you down on the track, so you want to find the right balance.
If a driver and their kart is under the minimum weight limit, ballast weights can be added to the kart. Weights come in the form of lead blocks, which can be bolted to the seat of the kart. However, you need to make sure to place these in the right area, especially if the driver needs to add a lot of weight to meet the requirements.
Placing Weight In The Right Area
Lead weights can be added to different areas of the kart. Unless you’re using specialized karting weights, it can be difficult to add them to the front of the kart or closer to the rear, but it’s highly recommended that you use these to maximize your advantage.
Most drivers will place their weights on the back of their seats. What many drivers don’t realize though is that they can adjust their kart setup using these weights. Placing the weights underneath the seat can help to lower the center of gravity, making the kart more stable and planted.
Placing the weight further backward on the kart will reduce oversteer. This adds more weight onto the rear tires, which will also improve traction and braking. Moving the weight further forward will give the front end of the kart more bite, and you’ll have more oversteer.
KEY POINTS• Karts are generally made to fit most sizes of people
• The maximum weight limit will generally be around 140 kg (308 lbs)
• There are minimum weight limits for kart races
Does Bodyweight Matter In Go-Karting?
Bodyweight is one of the most important elements in karting. The driver is the heaviest part of the kart, and so bodyweight will have the biggest impact on how the kart handles through corners and how it accelerates. Being heavier will result in slower acceleration and straight line speed.
However, there’s still a way that you can get the edge over your competition by using your heavier bodyweight. Even if you’re slower in a straight line, a heavier weight can give you much better braking stability and stopping power.
Using Your Weight
Shifting your weight onto the back wheels and braking smoothly (in rental karts) will allow you to brake much later than others. This can help you with faster lap times and spectacular overtaking moves. In racing karts, you want to hit the brakes hard and fast, but make sure to shift your weight backward for that extra stopping power!
Your advantage continues throughout the corners too. You can shift your weight onto the outside tires to get them to bite more into the track and give you more grip. The outside tires are working the hardest while cornering, so putting more weight on them will force them into the tarmac even further and make them work harder.
Can Tall People Drive Go-Karts?
Karts may be tiny machines, but tall people can still drive them. Mercedes F1 driver George Russell was always taller than other drivers, and he had no trouble in karting. Even today he is nearly 6’1 (1.85 meters) and he can still comfortably race in a kart (although he’s more at home in an F1 car).
As far as rental karting goes, you can adjust the seat and the pedals to suit your height. You may be slightly uncomfortable, but as long as you can turn the steering wheel and operate the gas and brake pedals, you’re good to go! You’re likely just driving a rental kart for fun anyway, making the issue of bodyweight less important.
Racing Kart Seat Adjustments
When it comes to competitive karting, you have a bit more freedom to adjust your driving position as needed. You can move the pedals back and forth, but the seat is also fully customizable, and you should use this to your advantage!
For taller drivers, it’s recommended to move the seat as low as you legally can. There is a limit, and at some point, you’re going to be scraping the tarmac. Remember, each circuit is unique and has bumps and undulations, so it’s normal for the seat to scrape the tarmac every now and then. But you don’t want the seat to be scraping the ground throughout the lap!
Once you hit the lowest point the seat can go, you need to start tilting it backward. Lowering the seat and tilting it backward will lower the kart’s center of gravity, which ensures that it maintains grip at all times and has a good amount of bite through the corners.
With your seat tilted backward, you will also have more weight over the rear axle of the kart, which means that you’ll have better acceleration and more stable braking. Overall, it’s not too bad being a taller driver in competitive karting!
How Tall Is Too Tall For A Go-Kart?
If you’re over 6’4” (1.9 meters) then you’re on the limit of being too tall for a go-kart. At this point, rental karts are too small for you to fit, as their pedals and seats can only adjust so much. You may find that your knee blocks you from turning the steering wheel while driving.
In competitive karting, the height limit is most likely similar. Even though you can make more adjustments in racing karts compared to rental karts, there’s still a limit as to how low and far back you can adjust your seats.
In both cases, you can try it out for yourself because each kart is unique. You should be sitting comfortably, and you should at the very least be able to turn the steering wheel (even if your knees are somewhat in the way). You might not be competitive, but you might still have some good fun in the kart!
KEY POINTS• Bodyweight is important in karting, and you can use it to your advantage
• You can drive a go-kart even if you’re tall
• However, 6’4” is about the height limit for a comfortable karting experience
The majority of people will fit comfortably into a kart. The seating position in a kart can be adjusted, and as long as you are comfortable in the kart and can operate the pedals while turning the steering wheel, you should be able to fit in a racing go-kart or a rental kart.
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