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How Old Do Kids Need To Be To Drive A Go-Kart?

A definitive answer about age ranges for kid karting can be had, of course, but there are a lot of different things to consider before calling to reserve some slots at your local track. I’ll be exploring everything you should think about when it comes to kid karting!

So, how old do kids need to be to drive a go-kart? Kids typically need to be at least 5 or 6 years old to ride a go-kart at most tracks. All tracks will have a policy pertaining to the minimum weight and height of children, and typically, kid karting starts at the age of 5.

This answer isn’t even mentioning the other important considerations of go-karting; it’s simply what most tracks offer. Because every kid is different, I’m going to spend more time looking at other factors that can influence what age they should hop into the kart, so don’t go anywhere!

Which Kart Series Is Best For Kids?

The first thing to really think about when getting your kid involved in karting is what you’re specifically looking at.

Kart racing is split into age brackets which are as follows: “Kid Karts”/ “Baby Karts” (age 5-7), Cadet (age 7-12), Junior (age 12-15) and Senior (age 15+). Again, these age ranges can be different depending on the track and how they run race classes, but this is the most common across the country.

The types of kart differ not only in size, which is why they are separated by age; the engines get progressively more powerful and require more experience to operate.

If you’re looking at getting your kid involved with racing, it’s always better to get them involved in karting as soon as they’re able. Children are very adept at learning and during their formative years, they will learn and store more information than most adults! There’s a reason why so many Formula-level drivers started their careers as go-kart drivers as soon as they could get into a kart, after all.

When it comes to simply wanting to give your kid a new hobby since they probably can’t stop talking about it, the decision of whether to get them involved in karting ultimately rests with you.

Kids need quite a high level of maturity to succeed in and enjoy go-karting, because they need to be aware of their surroundings and realize that they need to take care when driving a potentially dangerous machine. That isn’t to say that they should be hyper-aware and therefore scared of the activity; it should still be fun, after all!

I’d personally recommend that kids seeking a new hobby for enjoyment should try out the Cadet class (age 7-12). Karts at this level are definitely no joke with how fast they can go at top speeds (almost 50mph), but this age bracket is a time when kids will start becoming more careful.

They’ll be more receptive to warnings of danger and absorb safety briefings better than younger children, more often than not, while retaining the essence of fun that comes with the sport. Again, this is highly dependent on the child on a personal level, so this is by no means a rule!

How Fast Your Child Will Grow Out Of Their Karting Gear Matters

One of the most inevitable facts of life is that kids are basically little bean plants that just keep on sprouting and growing! They outgrow clothes and trends like you wouldn’t believe.

If you’re seeking a casual outlet for your child to turn up at the track every so often to rent karts, this isn’t something of absolute importance. After all, as an ‘arrive and drive’ karter, you can utilize the kart club’s race suits and helmets at your leisure.

However, if you’re looking at this motorsport becoming a mainstay in your kid’s life, this aspect is pretty important to consider for a few reasons.

They’ll be undergoing physical growth, which will mean they’ll likely need new equipment and even new karts every couple of years. It can become quite a costly past-time, albeit nowhere near the costs of bigger motorsport later on.

If the thought of buying your own karts for your kid to race in has already come up, I would encourage you to have a pretty serious talk with them. Racing go-karts doesn’t mean that they have to become a world-class racer someday, but making sure that they have dedication to the hobby over a few years at least is pretty important when making these decisions.

When you’re replacing their race gear and upgrading their kart, it would definitely be good to know that your kid is serious about the hobby throughout!

Another good thing to note is that, when owning your own kart and being responsible for fixes and the like, your child should be involved in that process to at least some extent.

It isn’t very exciting and/or glamorous, and it can certainly put some children off go-karting as a racer, but if they show interest and understand what the motorsport involves, you can feel secure knowing that it won’t be a short-lived hobby.

Some kids can hit this level of maturity at 5-years-old, and others might get there at 10 years of age, so this isn’t age-dependent as much as it’s kid-dependent.

Final Thoughts

Never before has a simple answer to a question possessed so much scope for different answers! Well, I’m sure that isn’t quite the case, but the question of how old kids should be to drive go-karts is part of a very long string that doesn’t reach an end.

The simple and absolute answer is what your local go-kart club states to be the minimum age, which in most cases, is 5-years-old.

But then comes the dilemma of your child being tall enough to operate kid karts as an important factor, so oftentimes, that minimum age is no longer a factor and you’re waiting for the needed growth spurts. And that isn’t even delving into the maturity required to be a kart driver.