Open wheel racing is about as exhilarating as it gets. Watching skilled Indy Car racers speed around a 2 1/2 mile track at speeds over 230 mile per hour is an adrenaline-pumping thrill. Open wheel racing has been around for decades and go kart racing is a modification of this motor sport. The alteration is that go carts are much smaller and race on shortened race courses, but the excitement of racing a go cart can be just as great. Additionally, lots of drivers use go karts as a prerequisite to more high-priced, competitive, and faster racing. A lot of the top drivers got their start here.
As with just about everything else there is a whopping difference in the kind of go carts that can be driven. Maximum speed is generally determined by the go kart engines, but it is also influenced by the quality of the go kart frame, specifically when driving through hairpin corners. Super Karts are the swiftest type and can hit top speeds of 160 mile per hour or more. If that's just a bit too speedy for your taste you can choose to race other kinds of karts that will be a good amount slower. Recreational go karts found at local family fun parks will offer speeds that might reach no more than 10 or 15 mph so there's a huge range for you to decide from.
4-stroke as well as 2-stroke engines are ordinarily used for racing. Different versions of the 4-stroke engine are very popular in the amusement parks and fun centers, but electric powered motors are rising in status. Electric engines have a number of advantages that make them perfect for small family fun center race courses. They are extremely inexpensive to operate and maintain and only require a charge up once their power becomes too low. There is no need to fill them up with high-priced fuel since they get their power from long-term high performance batteries. And with no gasoline powered engine to break down they are economical to maintain. As a bonus, they can be raced indoors due to the fact that they don't produce any harmful emissions. The only negative side to electric powered go karts is that they need recharging after about 20 minutes of driving, but as battery technology increases the batteries are holding longer charges.
Well-known makers of 4-stroke go kart engines are Honda, Briggs and Stratton, and Tecumseh among others. These manufacturers produce low-powered motors that will generate anywhere from 5 to 20 hp. These motors are generally used by novice drivers or in amusement fun centers. But don't let the small horse power deceive you; a lot of these motors can propel a go kart at speeds up to about 45 or 50 mile per hour. This might not seem fast to you, but after you begin driving through turns in a small gokart at these high speeds you'll immediately realize just how speedy this is.
Several 4-stroke motors have extra muscle and will give up to 50 horse power. These motors can race at up to 11,000 rpm and are frequently used in many National Championship class races, but if you want to race at top speeds you'll have to get a 2-stroke engine. Many 2-stroke motors will produce as little as 10 hp or less, but some can also provide 90 hp or more at 16,000 rpm. Speeds around 160 mile per hour can be reached with these powerful 2-stroke motors.
In bygone days motors were air-cooled, but with today's faster speeds the majority of go kart engines are water-cooled. A lot of the less powerful 4-stroke motors are still cooled with air, but the premier hp motors are most commonly water-cooled. With the varied differences in power and energy, there is an engine available that will be right for you, no matter what kind of racing you wish to do.
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