I’ve always heard people saying that motorsports, like karting, shouldn’t be considered sports. The main argument behind this is that go-kart drivers race in circles or “Everyone can drive fast inside a race track”. This idea, however, is far from the truth.
Go-kart racing is rightfully considered a sport. Even in rental karts, you’ll need to stay focused the whole time you’re inside the kart. Plus, go-karting can be a fun way to lose some weight.
But, my karting experience merely touches the extremity of professional karting. So, I think it’s a good idea to check out how taxing kart racing can truly be and whether it’s actually worth it from a financial standpoint.
Is Professional Go Karting a Sport?
Professional go-karting is a sport, and it’s one of the most demanding ones out of all motorsports. Many F1 drivers have said that go-karting is more challenging than F1 racing in some cases. And, let’s not forget that during an F1 race, drivers lose 2-4kg due to sweating.
There are several reasons why go-karting should be considered a sport. For starters, I’ll admit that I’ve been absolutely exhausted after every race I’ve partaken in. A great instance of this was after I took a 125cc 2-stroke kart for a spin at Phuket. As you can see in the video below, I could barely breathe, even though I only did a few laps in that beast.
From a physical perspective, go-karting is very demanding. The g-forces that you withstand at every corner and heavy braking zone are devastating. And, in a matter of seconds, you’re back at the same braking zone, and your body is feeling the g-forces again.
Also, the vibrations you endure at high speeds are one of the most physically destructive things I’ve ever felt. If you look at the lap I did at Phuket below, you’ll see that I was basically shaking through the last corner.
Plus, go-kart races don’t stop, whether it’s scorching hot or freezing outside. Even if it’s raining, the racing must go on!
But, karting isn’t only taxing to your body. We usually don’t hear about the mental side of karting because most people race karts for fun. This isn’t the case with professional karting drivers, though.
In every league race, I’ve been in, I’ve had to start preparing mentally one day before the race. Now, that might sound crazy, but it’s true, and it’s helped me get a high position every time.
For starters, you have to review every possible line on the track when karting professionally. You’ll need to find potential overtaking spots, defensive and attacking lines, as well as the optimal racing line. And, you’ll have to memorize all this info while you’re reaching speeds of over 100km/h.
Similar to Other Sports
All of this barely scratches the surface of how complex karting is. In fact, I’ve not even mentioned how a karting weekend plays out, which is very similar to other sports.
So, there’s a practice and a qualifying session before the race (or races). These usually happen on the same day, with breaks in between that last around a couple of hours. This format reminds me of events at the Olympic Games, which have the Semi-Finals in the mornings, followed by the Final in the afternoon.
With all that said, I think it’s safe to say that go-karting is a sport. But is it as lucrative as other motorsports, like F1 or MotoGP?
Is Go Karting Worth It?
Simply put, go-karting is rarely profitable for the racers. Unlike other sports, professional karting races aren’t televised, and most of them don’t attract large crowds. So, the prizes for these are very low.
Some karting racers earn up to $130,000 per year, but a more modest estimate would be around $20,000. But, this doesn’t consider the amount that drivers spent for each race.
While I’m lucky enough to be in a league close to my house and the track provides me with a kart, drivers at a national or global level have to pay travel expenses and entry fees. As expected, the higher the level of racing, the more you’ll pay. So, many drivers are actually losing money when karting unless they have a sponsor backing them up.
But, truth be told, drivers in Formula 4 championships have it much worse. Some of them have to pay hundreds of thousands to participate in every race.
Speaking of formulas, I suppose that most of you don’t know how much most F1 drivers make. While big names like Hamilton, Verstappen, and Alonso earn between 20-40 million, most drivers earn between 1-15 million, with most falling to the lower spectrum.
So, the journey to F1 takes a lot of time and money, but the racers are paid pretty big sums yearly. But, that’s to be expected since F1 is a very dangerous sport. Is the same true for karting?
Is Go Karting Dangerous?
Well, go-karting is somewhat dangerous. Severe injuries aren’t too rare, and you’re bound to get minor ones, like whiplash, if you’re partaking in races. Plus, most competitive karts don’t have seatbelts, which is pretty dangerous on its own.
But, truth be told, as long as you follow all the rules and don’t race on a faulty kart, your chances of injuring yourself are really low. For example, apart from some soreness and a few bruises, I’ve not had any major injuries.
Karting is a competitive and fun sport. There’s no doubt about that. Professional go-kart drivers are athletes because they need to stay in shape physically and mentally to race efficiently. If you encounter anyone who thinks go-karting isn’t a sport, simply tell them to get inside a 125cc 2-stroke kart for 10 minutes. They’ll quickly change their mind.
Stay tuned for more articles just like this one!
FAQs for Kart Racing Being a Sport
Is Karting a Real Sport?
Yes, karting is a real sport. It’s very physically demanding, and you’ll have to be in great shape to be good at it. As is stated above, you’re bound to be sore after a karting race
Is Karting a Safe Sport for Kids?
Karting is generally a safe sport. Several academies recruit kid racers all over the world.