We’ve all heard how expensive go-karting is. But, in my experience, karting hasn’t been as costly as commonly thought. Still, it’s not a cheap sport, and you’ll need a few thousand dollars every season.
A go-kart can cost as low as $1000 to as much as $10,000 or more. A club-level season will set you back $3000-$5000, while regional and national championships are much more expensive, with most costing over $30,000-$40,000.
That said, I’m racing at a local league for much less than that since I’m renting the kart for each race. Plus, buying a used go-kart and second-hand equipment will be more affordable if your budget is tight. So, let’s run down the costs of karting in more detail.
How Much Does a Go Kart Cost
Regarding the cost of the vehicle, I’ve heard several people mention that you’ll need to be a millionaire to buy your own kart. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
There are numerous types of go-karts, with some costing more than others. An average, brand-new 4-stroke kart will cost around $5000, while used ones will set you back as low as $1000. Racing 2-stroke go-karts are more expensive and can cost more than $10,000.
Then again, a go-kart consists of several parts. So, by knowing each part’s price, you’ll be able to cut some costs. For example, there’s no reason to buy a new IAME X30 engine if you’re leisurely karting once a month. You could, instead, buy a used 4-stroke Honda GX270 engine, which costs much less.
Here’s a table of the average cost of rental and racing go-kart parts.
The engine is the most crucial part of your go-kart. The engine type you choose will determine which category you’ll race in. For example, if you select a cheap 4-stroke engine, you’ll have to race against drivers using the same engine type.
Most 4-stroke engines are affordable, costing less than $1000. Honda engines might cost a bit more, but they’re extremely durable and should last you for many years. Then again, Predator and DuroMax engines sell for less than $400, and they’re great as starter engines.
2-stroke engines will cost at least $1000, with some going up to $5000. This price range doesn’t include shifter kart engines, which can cost double the money. It’s cheaper to go for a used 2-stroke engine and spend a few hundred bucks on a rebuild rather than buy a new one.
The chassis is the most expensive part of a go-kart. While the engine powers the kart, the chassis is in charge of the go-kart’s aerodynamics and protects you from crashes. After all, a kart without its frame is not even a vehicle.
The cheapest adult kart chassis you can find will cost around $1500. But, its price depends solely on its age, brand, and engine displacement. A brand-new one for a 4-stroke kart from an unknown brand will cost much less than a DD2 Tony Kart one, which can cost up to $6000.
That said, be very careful when you’re buying a used chassis. If it’s flimsy or feels soft, you’ll not be competitive. Also, if it’s been raced for more than four years, it’s practically worthless. That’s because it’ll be near-impossible to tune it due to its wear, making you much slower than your opponents.
A go-kart speedometer might not be necessary, but it’s one of the nice-to-haves that won’t cost you a fortune. In fact, an average go-kart speedometer or data logger will set you back around $500. Compared to other go-kart parts, this is pretty cheap.
Despite not having used one yet, I’ve heard that they’re great for keeping track of the temperature of certain components (engine, exhaust, water). Also, since they’re speedometers, they’ll display your kart’s speed, RPM, and lap time.
All this info can help you improve your times since you’ll be able to know the optimal speed for every part of the track. Additionally, you’ll manage to find a temperature issue before it destroys any go-kart part.
While most club-level leagues utilize the track’s go-karts, buying a stand and a set of tools is essential if you own a kart. Basically, these two components will help you tune your go-kart and change tires or any other parts at the bottom of it.
A stand and a toolset will cost as much as a speedometer, so $500 on average. If you have a friend who’s a car mechanic, you could also borrow these from them for much less money. Or, if they’re a good friend, they might lend you them for free!
Without a good set of go-kart tires, your kart will be practically useless, even when you’re the best karting racer in the world! Fresh tires are a must when you want to be competitive, whether racing in club, regional, or national events.
A new set of tires will cost you around $200. This might seem cheap initially, but you’ll have to remember that you’ll need a new one after every race. Or, if you’re racing against tough competition, you might want to use different tires after every session.
That said, this isn’t always the case. Many drivers, especially in club-level events, opt for a used set of tires for practice and a new one for the race. And, if you’re just karting for fun, you could drive on the same wheels for several sessions.
When racing in a regional or national league, you’ll have to transport your go-kart to the track. I’ve heard that most drivers use RVs or trailers; I’ve also seen drivers bring their karts at my local track on top of their cars. But, it’s not exactly easy to lift up a go-kart alone.
You’ll need a van/pickup truck or some sort of trailer to transport your go-kart. While some of you might already have that, others will have to pay upwards of $10,000 or more to transport their kart safely.
That said, a go-kart can fit in your car’s trunk if you dismantle it. And, considering that many of you are interested in club racing, you can simply park your kart at the track and pay a parking fee (which shouldn’t be more than $500).
The extra parts and consumables required during a karting season are several. You’ll need fuel, gas, oils, lubes, cleaners, etc, before and after every session to maintain your go-kart. Also, you’ll need additional parts like chains, spare rims, and axles, as well as fuel and water cans. These costs quickly add up.
On average, you’ll spend at least $1000 on consumables and extra parts during a season. The costs are much higher once you count in potential crashes or certain go-kart parts, like the engine or the chassis, breaking down. These will drive up the expenses to over $5000!
Still, since these take up a large chunk of the expenses, you could cut corners here and there. For example, you could buy most of the consumables at once at discounted prices, saving you some money. You can also avoid crashes… but that’s not always easy.
How Much Is a Go Kart for Adults
A brand-new race-ready adult go-kart costs between $2000-$12000. The actual price depends on the engine type you pick and the karting category you want to race in. For example, a 4-stroke kart is cheaper than a 2-stroke TaG go-kart, which is more affordable than a 2-stroke shifter kart.
On the other hand, a used adult go-kart can cost you as low as $1500! But, at such low prices, you can’t expect something better than a 4-stroke engine with a chassis that’s been used for 1-2 years.
How Much Is a Go Kart for Kids
A new go-kart for kids will cost $3000 on average. Since teenagers can even race up to Seniors, a kid go-kart can be as expensive as an adult go-kart. But, most kids in the Cadet and Junior categories drive karts that cost between $1500-$6000.
That said, a pedal go-kart for younger children can cost as little as $150. A used kid kart is also relatively cheaper than adult ones, with most costing below $1500. Such go-karts usually come with a 50cc 2-stroke engine, which explains their low costs.
How Much Does a Go Kart Cost to Build
Depending on the type of go-kart you decide to build, it can cost you between $1000-$3000. At this price range, you can get a used or new chassis and a commercial 4-stroke engine from Predator or DuroMax.
If you’re looking to build a fast 2-stroke go-kart with a chassis from a well-known brand, the cost can skyrocket up to $10,000. In such cases, I’d suggest you buy one that’s already assembled, to save you a lot of hassle.
But, if you’re simply interested in building a 4-stroke kart to drive around your backyard, $2000 should be enough. If you want to make one for your kid, the price can go down to below $1000 if you buy some used parts.
Whatever you decide to choose, keep in mind that you can always build your own chassis. As long as you have welding skills, you’ll only need some steel pipes, which cost much less than a karting chassis.
How Much Does Go Kart Racing Cost
So, you’ve got your brand-new go-kart ready for the race. You won’t have to pay for anything else apart from some consumables, right? Well, unfortunately, that’s not the case.
Once you’ve bought a go-kart, you’ll need to make an additional investment in go-kart gear. Also, you’ll have to spend a lot of money on consumables, like fuel and tires, after every race. And, you might incur some maintenance costs if you push your kart to the limit.
To get a glimpse of how much go-kart racing costs at a club or regional level, you can check the table below:
|$250-$500 per day
|$350-$700 per day
Before I dive into these expenses in-depth, I’ll focus mainly on the costs of go-kart racing when you own a kart. If you’re renting one to race in a club race, you’ll usually spend less than $100 for both the race and practice sessions.
I’ve also not included the expenses in case of a crash, which can be devastating, especially if you have to buy new parts. And, for obvious reasons, I’ll not cover the costs of international races since they can be hundreds of thousands of dollars.
I’ve covered every piece of go-kart gear you’ll need in a more in-depth guide. But, as a beginner, the essential equipment you’ll need is a karting helmet, a pair of go-kart gloves, and go-kart shoes. If you don’t want blisters on your hands, make sure to buy good karting gloves. Don’t make the same mistake as me (I raced for 30 minutes in the middle of the afternoon without gloves).
The most crucial pieces of go-kart gear you’ll need will cost you a minimum of $200. I’d highly suggest you spend a few extra bucks to get great pairs of gloves and shoes. You should also look into buying a durable helmet.
If you want to expand your reach to regional races, you’ll need additional gear, like a racing suit. You’ll also have to upgrade your shoes and gloves if they’re required to be FIA-CIK certified.
Practice Day Costs
During a practice session in karting, you’ll have to use a certain amount of fuel and a set of tires. At the same time, you’ll add mileage to your kart’s engine and slowly wear off its components, like the chain or the brake pads. You’ll also need to pay a track access fee to drive around the track.
These costs quickly add up to a minimum of $250 per day. This can be lower, however, if you decide to use the same set of tires for several practice days rather than changing it every time. That said, if you’re racing at a national event, you’ll have to also count in travel costs, which can quickly raise the expenses to $500 after each day.
At club-level races, it’s not too big of an issue to use the same tires for numerous practice sessions. You can also save a lot if you have a membership since you won’t have to pay for track access.
Race Day Costs
As is expected, race day has a few more expenses than practice. In most cases, you must use a new set of tires to be competitive. And, you’ll often have to pay an entry fee for the race, especially when it’s not a club-level one. These fees can reach tens of thousands in national and international races.
This is why you’ll pay anywhere between $350-$700 for a race day. The expenses are this high because you’ll need your kart to be the best on race day. This means you’ll usually need to change some parts and use more fuel to go full power in the entire race.
With that said, these costs are relevant for 2-stroke adult go-kart leagues. Kid karting is usually a bit cheaper while racing on 4-stroke engines will be much more affordable.
Should I Buy a New or Used Go Kart
Many of you have been asking me if it’s better to buy a brand-new go-kart or a used one when you start out. The answer, however, isn’t that simple.
Buying used parts for your go-kart, like the chassis or the engine, is a great way to save money, especially if your budget is tight. But, buying a new kart is the best idea for absolute beginners whose budget is flexible.
The issues that come up with used go-karts revolve around the quality of the parts. For example, even after nearly a year of karting, I couldn’t tell you if an engine sounds “good” or not. Also, buying a used chassis is risky since you’ll have to check if it’s flimsy, which can be pretty hard for beginners.
But, for more experienced racers, buying some used parts is the way to go!
And that’s all there’s to say about the costs of go-karting. It’s worth noting that the expenses get exponentially higher as you progress to regional, national, or even international events. So, if your budget isn’t hundreds of thousands (don’t worry, you’re not alone), you should stick to club leagues.
Stay tuned for more articles just like this one!
FAQs for Go Kart Costs
Is Go Kart Racing Expensive?
Yes, go-kart racing is pretty expensive. To be competitive, the costs of go-kart racing can be around $5,000-$10,000 in club or regional leagues, while they get much higher in national ones.
Why Are Go Karts So Expensive?
Go-karts are so expensive because they’re like small cars. They have an entire chassis, engine kit, and wheels, just like a car. As I said above, all of these parts quickly add up, making go-karts pretty expensive.
How Much Does a Professional Go Kart Cost?
A professional go-kart costs around $10,000. Of course, as I mentioned above, you could buy some used parts to lower that cost.