Frequently Asked Questions

This is a list of frequently asked questions concerning many aspects of KartSport from getting started to technical queries.

How do I go about getting into KartSport?

The best way to find out about getting into KartSport is to visit a Club on a race day and see what it is all about. At the Clubs race meeting you will find an abundance of people willing to show you all about KartSport and answer your questions. 

For further information see the Hot Start page or go to the Clubs page for details of all the Clubs in New Zealand.

How much will a kart cost me?

This will depend on whether you purchase new or second hand.  Purchasing new you can expect to pay around $3000 to $3500 for a chassis.   For a new Yamaha KT100 engine you will pay around $1400 and then you will need to purchase safety equipment (helmet, race suit, gloves etc) which will be between $500 and $1500 depending on what cost you place on your safety.  In addition you will require accessories such as wet weather tyres, spare sprockets, tools etc which may add to the initial cost.

Purchasing second hand is cheaper but you must be careful about what you are buying.   The kart and engine must be legal to the KartSport New Zealand rules and you should always check the chassis for cracks or previous welding repairs.  A good second hand setup could cost you between $2500 and $4000 depending on what additional equipment may come with it.

How do I get a KartSport New Zealand competition licence and what is the cost?

This is only available from the KartSport New Zealand Competition Licence Secretary on application. An applicant must complete the appropriate application form and medical declaration and become a financial member of an affiliated Club. For an applicant under 18 years of age a birth certificate is also required. The completed application forms, proof of Club membership and licence fee must be sent to the Competition Licence Secretary who will process the application and issue the licence. There is a concession rate for subsequent family members residing at the same address provided the first member pays a full licence fee. 

Licence application forms and full details including cost are available from each Club or from this website by clicking here and should be completed at the time of becoming a member of the Club. There are 20 affiliated Clubs in New Zealand and a full list of Clubs with contact details can be found on the Clubs page.

How does a racing kart differ from a fun kart or indoor kart?

The biggest difference is that fun karts (amusements karts, indoor karts etc) are not designed for 'hard out' competition and as such usually have detuned 4 stroke engines and in many cases a speed governor to limit their performance and speed. Fun karts usually run harder compound tyres, extra protective nerf bars and bumpers and rollover bars and are therefore heavier than a racing kart. Fun karts generally do not have sophisticated braking systems or front wheel brakes as racing karts do. 

Racing karts are built specifically to be raced by their owners and use high performance racing engines which are highly tuned and produce more power and thus speed. Racing karts, while incorporating sophisticated safety, do not have additional nerf bars, or rollover bars and are lighter and more performance oriented.

What types of engines are used?

In New Zealand the majority of classes use the Yamaha KT100SE 100cc 2 stroke kart racing engine. This has been the mainstay of NZ kartsport classes since the early 1980's. It is a single cylinder piston port induction engine which drives via a low slip centrifugal clutch or directly from the crankshaft and uses a fixed gear ratio.

 Another popular class recently introduced to New Zealand - Rotax Max - uses a Rotax Bombardier 125cc water cooled 2 stroke engine with a fixed drive ratio via a centrifugal clutch and has a push button electric start. 

There are other types of 100 or 125cc 2 stoke engines used in other classes which include piston port, reed valve and rotary valve types from the likes of Rotax, Parilla, Ital System, Vortex etc. These engines also have a fixed gear ratio via direct drive or a centrifugal clutch. 

There are also gearbox classes which generally run either a 125cc or 250cc water cooled motorcycle or specialised kart engine. Other engine types and cubic capacity up to a maximum of 250cc are also used in some other classes but these are not the norm. 

The Cadet class for 6-12 year olds uses a Raket 85cc engine. 

For full details of engines used in each class in NZ go to the Classes page of this site.

Who runs KartSport and who establishes the rules for kart racing ?

KartSport New Zealand is recognised as the organisation controlling all kart racing in New Zealand.  It consists of a number of Clubs and people who are affiliated or registered with KartSport New Zealand. KartSport New Zealand has a signed agreement of mutual recognition of the organisation by the national body controlling four wheeled motor sport in New Zealand, Motor Sport New Zealand (MSNZ).  Through MSNZ affiliation to the Federation Internationale de L'Automobile (FIA), KartSport New Zealand are delegated the authority for control of kartsport in New Zealand by the Commission Internationale de Karting (CIK).

All registered members of the affiliated Clubs are represented annually in August at the KartSport New Zealand National Conference where they elect an Executive to manage the sport for the forthcoming year. This elected Executive forms a Rules sub committee who consider rule changes and make recommendations to the Executive for all new rules or changes to existing rules. The Executive then decide on the merit of these changes and the timing of there implementation.

Do I have to belong to a Club in order to race ?

Yes. You must be a financial member of an affiliated kart club and you must hold a current KartSport New Zealand competition licence.  Full details on joining a Club and obtaining a licence can be found on the Hot Start page.

Do I need a kart licence in order to race ?

Yes. You must have either a current KartSport New Zealand competition licence or a KartSport New Zealand One Day Licence. Before you can obtain either you must be a member of an affiliated kart club.  Full details on joining a Club and obtaining a licence can be found on the Hot Start page.

How much of a factor is weight ?

Since most kart engines are either 100 or 125cc in capacity they have fairly limited horsepower despite being highly tuned and therefore weight is extremely important.  It is a simple case of power-to-weight ratio and the lighter the kart and driver is the faster they will go given the same amount of horsepower.

Most kartsport classes have minimum weights that must be maintained in the interests of fairness and competitiveness to all.  You should therefore choose a class to compete in where your combined weight of kart and driver is closest to this minimum weight.  If you are slightly under this weight it is fine because you can simply add lead to your kart to bring it up to the minimum required weight but if you are too far over this minimum weight you will be at a disadvantage to other competitors who are closer to the minimum weight limit. The average weight of a standard 100cc kart is around 70kg. Cadet karts are lighter and 125cc karts heavier.

For full details of the minimum weights used in each class in NZ go to the Classes page of this site.

How old do you have to be ?

Six years of age is the minimum age to start racing a kart in New Zealand.  All Junior classes are controlled by age groups from 6 to 17 years. At 15 years of age you can compete in the Senior classes and there is no maximum age limit. For full details of the age groups for each class in NZ go to the Classes page of this site.

What fuel do karts use ?

As nearly all kart racing engines are 2 strokes they use a fuel and oil mixture. There are basically two types of fuel used. The first is standard pump gas that you would run in your normal car or 100 octane racing fuel. The second type is alcohol or methanol and is only used in some specific classes. Oil is normally any high performance 2 stoke racing engine oil.

What is the "blowdown" in a kart engine ?

The most accurate description of blowdown would be the amount of time between the exhaust and transfer port openings however this "measurement" would only be accurate at one RPM, so blowdown is commonly referred to in degrees of crank rotation. For a complete explanation of "blowdown" see the article Blowdown Explained in the Reports page under Tech Reports.

How do I tune the engine/carb/pipe for best performance at the track ?

The techniques of tuning for best performance at the track are very complex and is something that can generally only be learnt from experience. However there are two very good articles on the Reports page under Tech Reports titled On Track Tuning Basics and Gauging Your Gearing which will give you some good information about how to learn these techniques.

What are the different Serial Numbers on Yamaha KT100 engines ?

The serial numbers relate to the different type and production batch of crankcases and engines.  For full details of the different crankcase types and the serial numbers of the Yamaha KT100 engines see the article Yamaha KT100 crankcase types and serial numbers on the Reports page under Tech Reports.

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