Go-karts might be small and lightweight machines, but they are incredibly fast. You might be thinking about the rental karts you find at your local karting circuit, but when you see a real racing kart on track, you’ll understand what karting in its true form really is.
Racing karts can accelerate from 0-60 miles per hour in just 2.5 seconds. This the same as supercars such as Ferraris and Lamborghinis. They can accelerate at this pace because they are lightweight, so they have an incredible power to weight ratio, which is the factor that determines how much weight the engine can move, and how quickly it can move the weight.
Karts are incredibly fast and there have been multiple occasions where karts have beaten production supercars in drag races. Once you understand how fast a kart can go, you’re probably curious about how they can move so fast. Keep reading to find out more about why these small, lightweight machines are so fast off the line.
How fast do racing karts accelerate?
It’s difficult to determine how fast a kart accelerates because there are different types of karts out there. Below we’ll quickly go through the different types of karts and their acceleration times from 0-60 miles per hour to give you an indication of the difference in speed between each class of kart.
Firstly, rental karts are much slower than racing karts. These karts are often heavier, and they use 4-stroke engines which have poorer performance compared to 2-stroke racing karts. Rental karts have a maximum speed of around 60 miles per hour in most cases, and it can take several seconds for them to reach this speed.
The junior class kart is the first of the 2-strke karts, and they can reach a top speed of 75 miles per hour. They will hit 0-60 miles per hour in around 4.8 seconds, which is still incredibly fast for a kart that is driven by a 15 year old.
In the senior class, the engine is modified by installing a power valve. This power valve increases the amount of power that the engine produces within a specific RPM range (kind of like a turbocharger on a car). The top speed of a senior class kart is around 90 miles per hour in the perfect conditions. They can accelerate to 60 miles per hour in around 3.5 seconds, which is much faster than the junior class kart. The power valve can be adjusted to increase acceleration or increase top speed depending on the RPM range that it activates in.
The next class is the DD2 class which uses a gearbox with two gears. These karts have a paddle shift system where the driver can pull the right hand side paddle to shift up, and the left hand side paddle to shift down. These karts can reach speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour, and they can launch from 0-60 miles per hour in an incredible 2.8 seconds!
The top of the range kart is a KZ shifter kart. These karts have motorbike gearboxes with 6 gears! The top speed of these karts are around 110 miles per hour, however they can exceed these speeds if they have a long enough straight. They can also be propelled from 0-60 miles per hour in just 2.5 seconds!
Are racing karts faster than supercars?
Racing karts are faster than most supercars over the 0-60 miles per hour range. Shifter karts can accelerate through this range at around 2.5 seconds, which is the same (and in many cases faster) than Ferraris and Lamborghinis.
This is an incredible achievement and it’s all thanks to how lightweight go-karts are. Because of how light they are, the power that the engine drives through the wheels is more effective (even if it is just 32 horsepower). This is known as the power to weight ratio.
Karts have power to weight ratio similar to Formula 1 cars, which means that they can deliver more power to their wheels than there is weight on the kart. However, the downside is that they cannot go much faster than 100 miles per hour, so they will lose the race if it’s more than a 1/4 mile drag race.
How are karts so fast in acceleration?
Karts are incredibly fast in acceleration because they weigh very little. In general, a kart weighs around 350 lbs with the driver included. This is extremely light for a vehicle that has a relatively powerful engine attached to it
Karts also have the ability to accelerate instantly because there is no turbo lag and no computer system interfering with the acceleration process. On top of that, most karts are direct drive, which meand that the driver does not have to change gears (which can cause the kart to slow down during the acceleration process). Shifter karts also don’t have a clutch pedal, which means when they do need to change gears, it’s instant and seamless.
How to make a kart accelerate faster
There is a secret to making a go-kart accelerate faster, however, you will sacrifice your top end speed. This is a set up technique that many karting drivers use, and it if you use it correctly, you can get a go-kart to accelrate faster than the numbers we gave above.
It all comes down to the gearing of the kart. The gearing is all about the sprocket next to the rear wheel of the kart (the big gear that is attached to the chain). Using a bigger sprocket (based on the number of teeth on the sprocket) means that the kart will accelerate faster, but it will lose top end speed.
On the other hand, if you use a smaller sprocket the kart will have a higher top speed, but it will accelerate slower. This is a crucial set up technique that you will need to use if you;’re planning on racing in the future.
Go-karts can accelerate much faster than you think. Real racing karts can accelrate from 0-60 miles per hour in just 2.5 seconds, which is much faster than most production supercars. This incredible speed is achieved because the karts are so lightweight, and the engine can work hard enough to propel all of the weight to the top speed in a matter of seconds.