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Special | Rental karting: everything you need to know

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RENTAL KARTING: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW

What to do? Where to go? How much does it cost? Is it possible to race? Here are all the answers to the questions you have asked yourself (or will ask yourself) if you intend to approach what is considered, and rightly so, the first step into the world of karting: Rental karts.

WHERE TO GO

Determining which track to go to rent our first kart is not just a matter of distance, a factor that is certainly relevant if you don’t want to go a long way. In fact, we must take into account that, depending on the track, you’ll find different karts (we will talk further, in this article, about the main different types of karts and engines available). So the choice of the track has to be made also based on the type of kart you’d like to try out.

GOOGLE SEARCH

The easiest way to find a kart track is to search for “kart track”, “karting complex” or “kart rental” on the most famous internet search engine in the world: Google. The results, if Google is able to determine your position, will be highlighted on the basis of the tracks closest to you. Once obtained the results, it’s recommended to visit the website of each track to evaluate their kart offer and to view a map of the track, so as to be able to choose your destination based on these parameters. It must be said that there are more kart tracks than you can imagine. Sometimes they are located right next  to racetracks. For example, the Phillip Island track in Australia, where Moto GP and Superbike race, in the same area has a 750-meter kart track that has the same layout of the “real” one, with a view of the ocean. This does not mean that kart tracks are confined only to the most famous circuits, rather it is obvious that they can be found everywhere, even in shopping malls or on cruise ships.

INDOOR TRACKS

As the name suggests, these are located inside buildings. These are basically the kind of tracks expressly dedicated to Rental karts only. Generally they have a shorter length than outdoor circuits, but above all they have a narrower track width and particularly twisty layouts with a straight line of limited length. However, there are tracks, such as Highway Kart Racing GmbH in Dortmund, Germany, which can reach up to 1,600 meters in length. Unlike outdoor tracks, indoor ones often offer electric karts for rent. There are also companies that use karts with internal combustion engines, but in this case they should be equipped with a dedicated air recirculation system. In addition to these “location-specific” factors and the kart models they offer, there is another factor that differentiates this type of track from outdoor ones: the surface on which you drive. If the outdoor tracks mainly use asphalt, indoors we prefer to use synthetic resins, such as epoxy. A solution that ensures greater grip to the tires, without having to wait many laps to get them up to temperature. A final feature of indoor tracks is the fact that they generally do not have escape routes, as they are delimited by barriers along the entire internal and external perimeter of the course.

OUTDOOR TRACKS

If you are not worried about the weather you and you prefer to aim higher in terms of speed, then the outdoor tracks are the place to go. Unlike indoor ones, they are usually longer and also have a wider track. Because of this, layouts are often less twisty and often offer corners that can be taken at greater speed than indoor tracks. The surface with which the road surface is made is asphalt, the most suitable in case of rain. Unlike indoor tracks, where they are simply painted (or even non-existent), here the curbs are a relevant part of the track. Not all outdoor kart tracks have the licence to host races valid for national or even international championships. A condition that perhaps is not so important for the rental side, except for the fact that the tracks that enjoy the most relevant homologations are often the most demanding. On average, the length of these circuits goes from 450 to 1,699 meters. But in Shepherdsville, in the US state of Kentucky, there is a 2.4 kilometer long kart track.

THE COOLEST TRACKS ON THE PLANET

Fantasy knows no limits, as some kart tracks around the world demonstrate. One of the most incredible indoor tracks is that of Supercharged Entertainment. Not so much for its length, around 745 meters, as for its layout. Arranged on two levels, it is a continuous succession of ups and downs, with also bumps. It takes about 35 seconds to complete a lap. The circuit is located near the town of Wrentham, Massachusetts. Another track, another kind, that of Lydd, in Kent, in Great Britain. It is an outdoor track, considered by many to be the Silverstone of karting. Even the scenery is as spectacular as the design of the circuit, very fast. That’s because it’s built between two artificial lakes and therefore you have the sensation of driving in the middle of the water. If, on the other hand, you are on the Australian continent, one of Australia’s most famous tracks is the Go Kart Club of SA, which is home to the longest affiliated track of Karting Australia in the southern region. The track is 1,020 meters long. Leaping back to the United States, if you’re fascinated by Laguna Seca’s corkscrew, there’s a perfect track to emulate pro riders. It is the Atlanta Motorsport Park, whose kart track has unique characteristics of its kind, such as elevation changes that can reach up to 13 meters. If, on the other hand, you are undecided between indoor and outdoor, the solution could be to choose both. In Vicenza, Italy, there is the Vicenza Kart Indoor, a track that develops over 3 levels and also includes an outdoor portion, reaching a maximum length of 1,400 meters.

THE ENGINES OF RENTAL KARTS

As mentioned previously, each track has a different kart offer that varies mainly according to the engine. Let’s analyze the main ones (4-stroke, electric, 2-stroke) and their different driving sensations they offer.

4-STROKE

4-stroke engines are currently the most popular among rental karts. A decidedly more reliable technical choice than 2-stroke engines, ideal if you think about the fact that Rental karts are driven by different types of drivers, often inexperienced, and for a long time within a day. Furthermore, the power delivery of a 4-stroke engine is less abrupt than a two-stroke engine and this puts even beginners at ease. The architecture of these engines in karts always includes a single cylinder. Among the most popular engines used by the companies that make rental karts, we have the Honda GX which provides different displacements: from the more compact ones like the 200 (5.8 HP), up to for example the 390 (11.7 HP), passing through the 270 (8.4 HP).

ELECTRIC

Electric go karts are relatively newer in the rental kart scene. They have the great advantage of being particularly reliable and suitable for indoor facilities as they do not emit any type of harmful gas. Unlike internal combustion engines, in addition to having a better efficiency, they have the non-negligible advantage of expressing the maximum torque starting from 0 rpm. This translates into truly thrilling accelerations, certainly greater than those of a Rental kart equipped with a 4-stroke engine, but also a 2-stroke engine. On the other hand, however, the weight is also greater due to the batteries that inevitably have to equip the kart to power the engine. So Electric Rental karts have burning acceleration but in some cases, due to weight, they can be less “agile” and offer less exciting handling due to their mass.

2-STROKES

This is the least common type of engine when it comes to rental karts. But that doesn’t mean it’s not potentially available, mostly on outdoor tracks. Two-stroke engines are usually intended for racing karts, therefore they are recommended for a more experienced audience than those who are absolutely new to karting. The 2-stroke engines, then, are more suitable for competitive use, consequently they are less efficient in terms of consumption and reliability than a 4-stroke. However, there are 2-strokes installed on Rental karts: these karts are able to offer the same level of safety as a normal Rental, a good degree of reliability, but superior performance to any common motorized Rental Kart, for example, with a Honda 4-stroke, even the most powerful GX 390. This is the case of the Sodi Sport and the Sodi GT Max (reserved for the Australian market) which can be equipped with the Rotax 2-stroke 125 cc 21 or 28 HP engine. In this regard, just to have a reference in terms of lap time, the difference between a 4-stroke and a 2-stroke is in the order of 2.5 seconds in favor of the latter. A figure, if we take for example the Misanino track in Italy, 890 meters long, referring to the comparison between a Sodi SR4 4 Stroke (44.9 seconds) powered by Honda GX 390, and a Sodi GT Max 2 Stroke (42.4 seconds) motorized Rotax.

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