The Subtle Differences in Go Kart Racing Make All the Difference

January 16th, 2018

We’re sure you’ve all heard some sort of argument over the different types of racing and vehicles. NASCAR is better than Formula1 or the other way around. Asphalt driving is much easier than off road courses. Electric karts are way better than gas powered. Whether you believe in one or the other for any of the arguments listed above, you’ll have to admit that there are some very interesting differences when it comes to the small word of auto racing, including go kart racing. We’re here to take a look at some of the more note-worthy differences and explain why proponents for each side believe they’re right.

Differences between Electric and Gas Powered Gokarts

When it comes to go kart racing, you really only have two options for the actual karts; electric or gas powered. Gas powered karts can boast higher speeds if properly tuned while fans of these cars also swear by their handling compared to electric, but in reality that also comes down to the upkeep and use of properly equipped karts. Electric powered karts are best known for their faster acceleration, more environmentally friendly power and a lack of exhaust allowing them to be driven on indoor tracks without causing drivers and spectators to grow nauseous from fumes.

Differences between Tracks

A major topic of discussion whenever NASCAR and Formula1 fans get together, different tracks mean very different things when it comes to racing. In our opinion, there’s really only 3 different kind of tracks for auto and go kart racing; a straight line drag race style, the oval and the road course. Each have their own unique attributes and style of racing necessary to succeed on them and each have very loyal fan-bases backing them.

Straight line

Known best for drag racing and The Fast and Furious, the straight line track is meant to showcase pure acceleration and speed in a car while neglecting the handling and overall turning abilities of the car. Fans of these types of tracks will tell you that it requires the drivers reactions at the start of the race to be incredibly fast and their shifting to be smooth and perfectly timed.


Almost every weekend you can turn on your television to find tens of thousands of fans crowded around an oval track to watch cars continuously make left turns, so it’s safe to say that there are a few fans of NASCAR’s oval track. While it may seem like these drivers are just keeping their steering wheels turned slightly to the left, there’s actually quite a lot more to it if you want to make a successful lap around one of these tracks. High speeds and bald racing tires lead to very little grip for drivers, forcing them to constantly be making minor corrections and maneuvers to not only gain positioning but also to avoid collisions on the track. Combine that with the constant decisions on when to pull into the pit for refueling and fresh tires during the hundred+ lap races and you have a very technical race on your hand.

Road Course

Made famous by Formula1 and utilized in most racing venues, the road course takes a long track and condenses it by mixing in tight turns with straight-aways. Cars need not only great acceleration but also strong handling and better gripping tires to be successful on these tracks while drivers must be able to hit the apex of turns perfectly and understand when to brake and accelerate at the right time in order to walk away with the best lap times.

Differences between Surfaces

No matter if you’re a World Rally Cross fan talking to a Formula1 fanatic or you’re just a big time racing enthusiast arguing over asphalt versus slick tracks, the surface definitely makes a difference when you’re racing.


The most commonly used surface for any type of racing, asphalt provides better grip for the wheels leading to tighter turns, faster races and more precise maneuvers during the race. NASCAR, Formula1 and most outdoor go kart racingtracks utilize this surface.

Slick Track

This style of track is most often used for indoor tracks and requires much more attention be given to tight turns as the wheels have much less to grip, leading to the act of drifting or just plain spinning out. Starting from a dead stop leads to less than stellar speeds initially while warm tires and continuous acceleration provide better speeds and times, again due to the lack of grip.


World Rally Cross is best known for its off-road tracks made up of mostly dirt and gravel with the occasional puddle thrown in the mix. These tracks provide little traction for regular tires, are ever changing and require the attention and improvisation of the driver. No lap is truly the same and the right and speed coming into a turn is much more important than hitting the apex.

As you can see, there are many variations of car styles, track styles and even their surface. Each has their own specific fan-base that believes it’s the best way to race while each also has its skeptics pointing out their faults. In reality, the jury’s still out on which combination is the best for racing, and while we here at Speed Raceway believe that we’ve gotten our course, surface and go karts right, we understand that it’s all just personal preference.