Many successful motorsports stars got their racing start learning to drive karts in their youth. Here’s a partial list of some of those individuals you just might know:
- Michael Schumacher – 7 time Formula 1 World Champion
- Lewis Hamilton – the young Formula 1 star with McLaren
- Bryan Herta – CART, IndyCar & ALMS successful racer & now a team owner
- Sam Hornish Jr., former 3-time IndyCar Series champion & Indys 500 winner, now competes in NASCAR
- Tom Kristensen – 8 time Le Mans winner for Audi
- Adrian Fernandez – former CART racer & team owner, now LMP2 racer & team owner
In this part of South/Central Texas there are a variety of karting facilities. I know of 2 of them & they cater to different people with different types of karts. Alamo Karts, which I’ve already posted a number of articles here, is a business that provides single speed, fun to drive karts. This can be a starting commitment to get into karting. But this is only up to a certain level. It has a limited top speed, depending on the kart, the track & the driver’s weight. I did try it once & I decided it wasn’t my “cup of tea”, so to speak.
This past Fall, on a weekend in October, I was able to spend the greater part of an hour watching 2 former SASCA presidents (Richard & Matt), run practice laps at the Hill Country Kart Club (HCKC) track.
This kart track facility is located just south of New Braunfels, Texas. This is a twisty, curvy quarter mile length track where young people (& adults, too), push their machines & their bodies to the limits. HCKC is considered one of the top learning tracks in the country!
At this track they race the next & more serious step up which is to shifter karts (up to 6 [or 7] speeds). These powerful little machines (.125cc single cylinder) have a greater power to weight cylinder volume ratio than Formula 1 racing machines – 336HP/liter versus 333HP/liter for F1.
Here’s a well-written article about using karting as a starting point to launch into racing: How to Become a Race Car Driver – Karting First
Some will say it is even better to continue up the karting progress path to the Superkarts. In the United States there are 2 classes:
- 250 cc Formula/E or F/E – Twin cylinder, 6-speed, liquid cooled Grand Prix motorcycle engines such as the Honda RS250, Yamaha TZ250 or made for karting engines such as the BRC250.
- 250 cc Inter-Continental E or IC/E – Single cylinder, 5 or 6-speed, liquid cooled Grand Prix motorcycle engines.
Wow! This is insane! In some cases, these superkarts are actually faster on a course than full size race cars!
Racing Ready realizes that karting isn’t for everybody, & I don’t think it’s for me. But it is a very well-regarded & sanctioned form of racing that can get you to advance to the professional level of motorsports.
P.S. – Here’s another good list of famous drivers that started in karts…