Things To Consider
Go-karting is a fun and thrilling experience for adrenaline junkies and petrol heads, but given the nature of driving around at high speeds – there’s a lot of health and safety that comes into play, as well as other rules and regulations which may affect your experience.
These different rules and regulations can unfortunately sometimes make you or someone else in your party eligible to drive and the strictness varies depending on the facilities and equipment a track can provide.
This means it’s important to always do some extensive reading on any go-kart experience you choose and it’s details – as you don’t want to be turned away come race day!
Here are the vital things you need to look out for…
There are plenty of go-karting arenas and circuits all around the UK, but if you’re after a specific track or experience, you need to make sure it’s in a location that’s simple enough for you to get too or that you have secured some nearby accommodation if the journey will take much longer than a few hours.
We say this because many tracks have a policy where if you do not make it to your allotted session on time – you will lose your slot – as health and safety briefings are crucial, and you can’t afford to miss them.
Age Restrictions & Adult Supervision Rules
A huge consideration for those looking to take younger children karting, most tracks have strict age guidelines, meaning many children will be unable to race there.
In general, standard karting tracks have minimum restrictions of 15-16 years old, so if you have children younger than this, you need to find a specific track which provides junior karting for those aged 15 and below. However, it’s very rare to find any karting experiences for children aged 7 or below.
Be aware that tracks that do accommodate 15-16-year-olds sometimes still require parental guidance for under 18s.
Height & Weight Restrictions
Something you really need to pay attention to before booking go-karting is a track’s height restrictions, as the size of the karts and their racing gear equipment mean there is often a limit or cut off point for very small or very tall racers.
The best tracks will be able to provide gear and suitable for karts for racers from as low as 4ft all the way to 6ft 6. However, there are disappointingly many tracks who can’t cater to anyone over 6ft 2, so be sure to find somewhere that can provide for lankier fellows!
It should be noted that most go-kart tracks also specify a weight restriction, which usually tends to be around the 18 stone mark.
Other Health Restrictions
Most go-karts want their driving customers to be in optimum health, so that everyone on the track has no ailments or health conditions which may be exasperated or threatened by a high-speed bout of kart racing!
Most often, tracks will refuse pregnant women, epilepsy sufferers, those with diabetes and people with pre-existing back and neck troubles.
The strictness of these restrictions varies from track to track, so be sure to check you are eligible should you suffer from a health ailment!
Go-kart experiences are designed to be fun, exhilarating races shared with friends and so packages can range between 1 person up to 5. If you have a larger party to provide for, you’ll likely have to specifically contact a race track to organise such a large booking.
On average, the standard go-karting experience lasts around 2 hours per 2 people and features no more than around 30 minutes of driving per person. This is because there is usually 30 minutes to an hour of health and safety tutorials before going out on the track, which is vital for keeping you safe, teaching you how to drive the kart and learning track rules.
However, if an experience is several hours long for just two of you, that’s a lot of money spent for almost no time spent driving and could potentially drag on or just be frustrating.
We reiterate that health and safety are incredibly important though and it can be opposingly just as worrying if a karting experience has a worryingly short duration – as anything less than 2 hours implies a lack of safety tutorials!
What kind of karting experience you choose should depend on your own personal taste.
If you are just in it for fun and have that need for speed, there are plenty of tracks who provide simple lap-based or time-restricted slots for you to leisurely zoom around the track and get to grips with driving these little zippy machines.
If you’re the competitive sort though who wants to recreate F1 conditions, you’re better off going for some endurance team racing packages which see you and some buddies pitted against others or just a simple Grand Prix style racing package with trophy presentations at the end.
Go Kart tracks can differ widely in terms of excitement, with some offering nothing more than a basic, doughnut circuit – which can get a little repetitive if you fancy yourself as a bit of a whizz behind the wheel.
That’s why we recommend looking up a track’s shape and style before choosing it, as you can get a better understanding of how thrilling it is. Those with lots of corners and varying levels of road offer the most excitement, but they may also be fiendishly frustrating if you find you’re not the natural you hoped you’d be!
Kart Type & Quality
Go-Karting experiences can be drastically different depending on just one thing – the kart.
Every track seems to boast their own model or range of karts and something you should keep an eye on when reading a kart description is its CC value. This stands for cubic centimetres and relates to the engine volume.
In short, the higher cc a go-kart boasts, the more powerful the engine and the faster it will go!
For a slower safer speed we’d recommend 150cc karts, while 250-70cc karts are usually the fastest form for those looking for high-speed racing!
Choosing Indoor or Outdoor
There is nothing more annoying than booking a go-karting session months in advance, then spending weeks looking forward to it, only for it to be called off on the day due to extreme weather conditions.
This is always a risk with outdoor race tracks and so you may want to choose an indoor arena to ensure nothing goes pear-shaped. Indoor tracks also usually offer electric karts which means less horrible fumes and smells!
That being said, outdoor tracks are more often than not much more exciting and authentic than an indoor one. Outdoor tracks help replicate that race track feeling and offer larger courses with more open space.
Indoor tracks tend to be a lot smaller, with lots of tricky bends and tight spaces. They’re immensely fun – but won’t give you the F1 experience you’re perhaps after!
As go-karting is incredibly popular, and only so many people can be on the track at one time, booking very far in advance is a must!
Although standard racing or lap-based slots are available daily, other styles of racing such as large team endurance events may only take place once a week or even once a month. So if you’re after a particular experience, be sure to book it as far in advance as possible – as limited spaces always make it easy for you to miss out.
Go-karting involves a lot of expensive equipment and so you should always be aware of any insurance a track has in place.
For your own cover, it’s best to make sure the track will not hold you liable for any accidental damage, as given what you’re doing, there’s always a chance a kart could become damaged!
Make yourself aware of any terms and conditions like this, so you know what you are signing up for.
Go-karting experiences usually range from £30 – £50 per person.
Options towards the cheaper end will tend to offer a looser structure based around getting a certain number of laps of 30-minute time restraint, allowing you to leisurely get to grips with driving and just have fun navigating the track.
More expensive options will usually have a bit more organisation in which you’ll be racing against other drivers and receive fun extras such as podium finishes.