Go-karting is an exhilarating and action-packed sport. My experience so far has shown me that the adrenaline rush that you get during a race or a timed lap is incredible. But, as with every other sport, there’s a professional side to go-karting.
I’ve already covered some essential gear that you’ll need to start karting professionally. That said, ever since GoPros became accessible and affordable, tons of karting racers mount a camera on themselves or their go-kart during a race. I’ve seen drivers at my local track with go-kart cameras on the front or the side of the kart numerous times.
While go-kart cameras and go-kart mounts aren’t essential (in fact, many tracks have banned their use), they can be beneficial to the driver. For starters, you’ll be able to review your footage after a race to see where you’re losing time. In the races that I’ve partaken in, I often forget the first lap, even though I lose time during it. This is where a GoPro would assist me.
Other than that, if you’re looking into the professional side of go-karting, footage of your driving can attract sponsors or teams. Plus, you could start a Youtube channel and share your karting skills with everyone on the internet. Now that I think about it, that doesn’t sound like a bad idea…
So, let’s take a look at some factors to consider when you’re buying a go-kart camera and go-kart mounts, as well as some of the best cameras the karting community adores.
What to Look For in a Go-Kart Camera
There are a bunch of go-kart cameras on the market, all of which offer different perks and options. The prices of cameras usually range between $100 and $500, with most being priced at around $300. I was stunned to find that a camera and a mount cost more than my entire gear!
So, there are a few key points that you’ll need to know when you’re buying a go-kart camera. GoPro cameras are the norm, so I mainly focused my research on them. There might be some “GoPro killers” that you can find on retailers, but I know that with a GoPro you’ll get what you pay for.
The first thing you’ll need to consider when you buy a go-kart camera is the main reason why you need one. Don’t get me wrong, both professional racers and leisure drivers should invest in a camera, but there’s no reason to overspend if you’re kart racing leisurely. So, in such cases, you should be fine with buying a mid-tier go-kart camera.
But, you might be a professional karting racer who’s looking for a team or sponsors. Or you want to produce content for Youtube. In either case, you’ll need the best action camera on the market; you might even need a set of cameras to record every angle to find the most entertaining one.
Just like every other piece of go-kart gear, there are several go-kart camera types. When it comes to GoPros, I was told that there are 360o cameras, cameras with resolutions up to 8k, and different frame rates. I was overwhelmed, to say the least.
In reality, if you’re still a novice like myself, you won’t need any fancy go-kart camera with the best resolutions. A much more modest option should be optimal. I found that having a high frame rate is better than having over-the-top resolutions. Something that runs smoothly at an average resolution is always better than something choppy at a higher resolution.
As I’ve briefly stated above, go-kart cameras are towards the expensive end when compared to other go-kart gear. Still, most go-kart racers that I asked, along with the research I did, pointed at go-kart cameras costing an average of $250-$300. I also found some that cost around $100 and others that cost $500. If we solely focus on GoPros, their prices range from $200-$550.
However, there’s an extra cost that you’ll have along with the camera: a go-kart helmet mount. I’ll explain mounts below, but their prices are usually at the $10-$50 price point, while most official GoPro mounts cost around $20.
So, a budget setup can set you back around $250, while a premium setup can cost as high as $550 or $600. And, when you consider that some racers use multiple setups for Youtube videos, then the price tag goes up to around $1000-$1500. This is close to the amount I spent on my trip to Italy!
That said, while these are some of the fundamental factors of go-kart cameras, I know that any professional racer reading this wants to learn more. So, let’s find out how you can find the perfect go-kart camera.
How To Choose the Perfect Go-Kart Camera
Choosing the perfect go-kart camera is easy if you know the reason why you want one. Still, since there are so many of them on the market, I’ll try to explain some factors that you’ll need to consider to find the perfect go-kart camera for you.
Frames Per Second
As I said above, a smooth-running video is much better than a choppy one, no matter the resolution. This is especially true in karting since there’s tons of motion throughout a race. So, smooth footage is optimal.
The standard frames per second that you should look for is 60 or higher. Unfortunately, the higher the resolution is, the lower the frames per second drop. This means that a 4k camera might be able to stream at an 8k resolution, but the footage will be at 30 frames per second or less. Speaking of resolutions…
The quality of your footage is as vital as the smoothness of it. Thankfully, most go-kart cameras have at least a 1080p resolution, with most of them having 4k resolutions. Some even have 8k resolution and 360o capabilities!
The recording resolution in a go-kart camera is important since the sport is very fast-paced. Just imagine how bad footage can look when you’re racing down the main at top speed due to the vibrations. So, quality should also be regarded as a factor along with smoothness. If you want to post your footage on social media or Youtube, then a 4K camera at 60fps is a must.
While this is usually overlooked, sound quality can provide the racer with a lot of data. Some drivers at my local track told me that hearing when you accelerate, when you brake, when the tires squeal, can be beneficial. Karting isn’t F1, so the graphs of the throttle and brake don’t exist, meaning that the sound of your footage is the only way to self-evaluate the stuff I mentioned above.
But, good sound quality also adds entertainment points to your footage. So, if you upload it online, the viewers will love it. I mean, who doesn’t like to listen to a 2-stroke engine at full throttle down the main straight?
I think I’ve already established that go-kart cameras aren’t cheap. So, it’s only natural to want your camera to last for many races or even your entire karting career. It’s not uncommon for go-kart cameras to get knocked off while you’re racing. Both professionally and leisurely, you’ll find some drivers who are very aggressive and think that they’re playing bumper cars, so your camera might fling off.
It’s also not rare for a camera on the kart to get knocked off because of the g-forces during turning, braking, and accelerating. So, investing in a durable go-kart camera is a must.
What’s the point of having a go-kart camera recording 8K footage at 60fps if it isn’t stable? As your body will let you know after a race, the engine and the g-forces give off a lot of vibrations. Plus, some tracks are bumpier than others. All of this will ruin the quality of your footage, so you’ll need to purchase a go-kart camera with some vibration-canceling options.
Go-karts aren’t bulky pieces of machinery. A slight change to the chassis can change the aerodynamics of the vehicle. So, if you buy a camera that’s too big or one that only fits in a specific part of the kart, you won’t be able to gather great footage.
To avoid that, you should look into small go-kart cameras which have different mounting options. And, since we’re on the topic of mounting your go-kart camera…
How to Mount a Go-Kart Camera
When it comes to mounting your go-kart camera, you’ll have plenty of options. I’ve seen racers with cameras on their go-karts or themselves plenty of times. As you can imagine, each camera mounting location provides different viewing angles, but it might come at the cost of footage smoothness and quality.
That being said, since there are a few different mounting locations, let’s take a look at what benefits each one offers.
Being a motorcycle fan, I can tell you for sure that karting racers and motorcyclists love helmet cameras. However, these are getting banned from most tracks all over the world. I’ve seen racers with helmet cameras at my local track, so they’re not banned in official races yet.
Helmet cameras offer fantastic viewing angles compared to other mounting locations. Not only that, but you’ll be able to see your head movements, which can help you become a better racer, especially if you have a racing coach. But, they can also be a bit shaky compared to other mounting locations.
Front Fairing Mount
Since most tracks are banning helmet mounts, the front fairing mounting location is rising in popularity. You’ll need to place the camera as high as possible on the front part of the go-kart so that you get the best angles.
Speaking of angles, the view from the front nose is as great as the helmet one. Unlike helmet cameras, the vibrations are much less. This is because the front part is the farthest away from the engine, which is the main reason for the go-kart’s vibration.
Rear Bumper Mount
When you’re racing go-karts, you’ll have to defend your position most of the time. A camera on the rear bumper is excellent for footage purposes since you can review your defending after a race. Plus, if you want to upload your content on Youtube, you’ll have a great sound from the engine, which is really entertaining for the viewer.
As far as I’ve seen, the frame mount is an umbrella term for mounting locations at different parts of the kart’s frame. Some racers place their go-kart cameras next to the engine or the radiator, while others place them on the strut or parts of the chassis.
This isn’t the best location, however, since the vibrations from the engine can ruin the footage’s quality and smoothness. But, you’ll get some great shots if you want to upload your footage online.
Generally, from what I’ve gathered, if you don’t wish to upload your content online, the best mounting locations are either the helmet or the front fairing. But, if you want to upload content on Youtube or social media, you’ll have to utilize different mounting locations and gather lots of various shots.
That said, I tried to find the best go-kart cameras that you can buy. I asked some racers at my track and some of my biker friends and karting buddies for their suggestions. I also gathered info from several karting communities online.
My Top 3 Go-Kart Cameras
There are several go-kart cameras online. However, GoPro undoubtedly makes the best go-kart cameras because of their plentiful features and their small weight.
Best Overall Go-Kart Cameras: GoPro Hero 9 Black
The GoPro Hero 9 Black Edition was the primary go-kart camera I was told to buy when I asked on the internet and at my local track. While the GoPro Hero 10 is available, I was told by one of my close friends that it tends to overheat after a few minutes. So, it seems like the Hero 9 is the best alternative from GoPro.
It’s not a cheap camera, and it usually costs around $400, but it offers some very neat features. As I found out, the camera can record footage at 5K, as well as 4K 60fps, which is amazing. Features like Bluetooth connectivity, image stabilization, and great battery life are also present.
Best Premium Go-Kart Cameras: GoPro Max
If the Hero 9 Black is the prince of GoPro cameras, then the GoPro Max is the king of go-kart cameras. As I was told by one of the best racers at the local course, the GoPro Max offers the most features and the best image quality out of any other go-kart camera on the market.
The GoPro Max is a bit more expensive than the GoPro Hero 9, but it offers just about everything that the Hero 9 offers and more. For starters, the GoPro Max offers 360o capabilities, which is much more entertaining for viewers.
So, in reality, the GoPro Max is geared towards any of you who want to upload your content online. There are other GoPros that have better recording quality, but they can just record at one angle.
Best Affordable Go-Kart Cameras: GoPro Hero 7 Silver/White
The two cameras I mentioned above are mostly for racers who want to upload their content online. That’s why I decided to find any GoPro cameras that are towards the cheaper ($150-$200) end. As per my research, if you don’t want any fancy resolutions, you should opt for the GoPro Hero 7 White or the Hero 7 Silver.
The main difference between the two models is that the White Edition only offers 1080p, while the Silver Edition offers up to 30fps at 4K as well. Both models are shakier than the newer models, but it’s targeted towards beginners, so that shouldn’t be an issue.
Overall, either of the two editions of the GoPro Hero 7 are excellent options if you want a budget option. You can find the Hero 7 Silver on Amazon and Walmart. The Hero 7 White is also available on Amazon and Walmart.
Recording Tips For Karting
While I’m no expert when it comes to go-karting, there are a few general tips that I can give to any of you who want to upload go-kart content on Youtube.
A great way to capture the viewer’s attention is through storytelling. Yes, there’s no actual story when you race go-karts, but you could include parts of the day leading up to the race, as well as the aftermath of the race.
Another great method to make a go-kart video interesting is commentary. You might not be David Croft or Matt Brundle, but you can easily commentate on your own race. When you give your insights on the footage that the viewer sees, the content becomes much more engaging.
Lastly, if you want to attract sponsors and go-kart teams, you should invest in several go-kart cameras and make your footage cinematic. This way, you can combine different views, which will make your content unique and engaging.
Go-kart cameras aren’t an essential part of the go-karting gear. But, having a great go-kart camera is beneficial to any racer who wants to get better. Plus, it can become your primary way to get your name out there and attract potential teams or sponsors. So, if you’ve got the budget, you should look into a GoPro go-kart camera, as well as a good-quality camera mount.
Stay tuned for more articles just like this one!
FAQs Go-Kart Cameras and Mounts
How do you mount a GoPro on a go-kart?
There are several ways to mount a GoPro on a go-kart. As I mentioned above, you can mount your go-kart camera on every part of the go-kart, as well as your helmet (even though this is getting banned at several tracks).
What GoPro is best for racing?
The best overall GoPro for racing is the Hero 9 Black Edition. There are a couple of other GoPros that I’ve mentioned above, which are great depending on how good you want your footage to be.
How do you mount a GoPro to a racing helmet?
You’ll have to buy a go-kart mount to mount a GoPro to your racing helmet. Most mounts are attached to the chin of the helmet. But, since these are getting banned at most tracks, you can check some of the other mounting locations that I mentioned above.
Do you need a camera for kart racing?
No, you don’t need a camera for kart racing. A go-kart camera can help you become better at karting since you’ll be able to review your footage. Plus, you can attract potential sponsors if your footage is good.