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An amazing little vehicle that started out as a way for airmen in the 1950s to kill some time has gradually turned into a popular worldwide sport for many. The go kart has quickly become a phenomenon all over the world. Art Ingels was given credit for inventing the go kart when he built his very first one in 1956. That first go kart was little more than a riding lawn mower compared to the models available today. Today, modern go-karts can travel 160 mph or faster. A little too fast for your fun center, but pretty amazing none the less.
There are many different words to call them: go karts, go carts, go-karts, shifter karts, gokarts, enduro carts, off road go karts and other variations. Go karts are related to Formula One and Indy Car open-wheel racing. One thing is clear, getting behind the wheel of one is exciting. Many professional race car drivers, including Michael Schumacher, Sarah Fisher, Darrell Waltrip, Tony Stewart and Kyle Petty all got their start on the go kart racing circuit.
So what exactly makes a gokart a gokart? Gokarts have a motor, transmission, chassis, seat and 4 tires. Since they don’t have a suspension, the chassis has to provide flexibility while retaining enough stiffness to let the kart grip around the track, especially through the turns. The chassis can be either be closed, also known as a caged chassis, which allows protection for the driver in the event of a rollover, or open, which provides no driver protection.
Engines used in gokarts are typically either 2-stroke or 4-stroke. The 2-stroke engine is usually more specialized and is made by companies like Honda or Briggs and Stratton. The 4-stroke engine is usually the standard type used in lawn mowers. The 2-stroke is typically more powerful than the 4-stroke and can be up to 30 horsepower or more.
As with Formula One racing, the kart tires can be either rain tires or slicks. Slicks have no tread and are used to achieve the best traction on a dry track. Rain tires are used during wet weather and have a tread. Icy conditions warrant specially-made spiked tires that give good grip on slippery surfaces.
Go-karts can be a stepping stone for drivers who want to work their way up to professional Formula One or Indy Car racing. It’s a less expensive way to get involved with racing. Of course, go karts are not just for those who aspire to become professional drivers. Mostly go karts are raced by people who want to have a little fun. Their popularity has reached all over the world. There are kart tracks for every skill level, from the extremely tame tracks located in family fun centers and amusement parks, to high end speed grand prix karting tracks found in larger cities.
With the many different stages available for go kart drivers today, anyone can race at a comfortable level. The sky is the limit to a talented driver, who, with a lot of practice and a little luck, may just find himself racing alongside a professional someday. It is an exciting possibility.
Starting your own Go-kart track racing business can leverage the experience of many amusement attraction owners and operators who have gone this way by offering multiple family friendly activities as part of a total fun center business. Today there are two choices for Karts, electric and the standard old-school gas powered go-kart. Many new fun centers are providing indoor karting as a means to operate year round, without concern for inclement weather or hours of operations. Indoor karting tracks typically choice battery powered karts as these do not require the kind of air conditioning and exhaust venting that traditional gas powered go-karts require.
Outdoor karting tracks may use either gas powered or battery powered karts - and there is a group of hard-core racers that still stand by the old gas engines, as the "real" go-kart. However, new Kart technology offers the owner/operator major improvements in crowd control, Kart safety and really cool sound effects and other things not available with the traditional gas powered go-carts.
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