Over the past 70 years, kartsport has evolved from a simple weekend pastime to a Nationally and Internationally organised competitive form of motorsport. Even so the original appeal remains the same.  Karts are still the most inexpensive way to enjoy the thrills and excitement of motor racing in a safe and controlled environment.

Whether you're 6 or 66, male or female, looking for family fun or downright serious competition, the versatility of kartsport provides it with all.  From its inception in the late 1950s, kartsport has always been a part of motor racing.

There was an explosion of interest as the world discovered the fun of kartsport.  The number of weekend participants grew rapidly and soon a need developed to organise the sport and set rules for competition and the New Zealand Kart Federation Inc. was formed in the early 1960s.  In 2002 the New Zealand Kart Federation Inc. changed its name to KartSport New Zealand and 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 motorsport in New Zealand, MotorSport 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-FIA).

KartSport New Zealand also issues International Competition Licences and Starting Permissions on behalf of the CIK-FIA for competion overseas (apart from Australia) plus Trans Tasman Starting Permissions for KartSport New Zealand licenced competitors to compete using their NZ Licence at events in Australia sanctioned by Karting Australia.

In just over 40 years, kartsport has spread to most countries in the world and become a truly international sport.  The popularity of kartsport stems from the fact that it offers so much, to so many different types of people.  Kartsport can be an inexpensive hobby in which the whole family participates.  Kartsport can be a sport in which the young learn the use of motor vehicles and rewards of competition.  Kartsport can be for the mechanically minded who like the challenge of extracting every ounce of performance from a racing machine.  Kartsport is exciting, safe, fun and affordable motorsport for everyone. The first look at a kart is usually deceptive.  It's hard to take anything so small seriously, yet closer scrutiny reveals that whilst a kart is simple in construction, it is quite sophisticated in design and theory. The chassis of a kart is also its suspension as it is designed to flex and maintain its tyre contact with the road.  A modern kart chassis incorporates a multitude of adjustable parts that can be used to enhance its grip or road-holding.   The use of lightweight materials developed for other forms of motorsport reduces the weight to make exciting performance possible from the small motors. Kart racing takes three forms.   Sprint racing where competitors race on permanent circuits ranging from 400 metres to 1200 metres in length is the most popular and there is virtually a meeting somewhere in the country every weekend. 

SuperKart racing takes place on full-size motor racing circuits such as Manfeild, Hampton Downs and Ruapuna raceways and sprint karts compete at these events with a compulsory clutch and aerodynamic body work is optional. SuperKarts, which are 250cc gearbox karts designed solely for SuperKart racing also compete at these meetings.  
Dirt racing is also contested using sprint kart chassis and engines and is raced on the dirt/clay speedway tracks such as Paradise Valley Speedway in Rotorua and Ronnie Moore Speedway in Christchurch.

Tyres play an important part in the performance of karts and the relatively small tyres used are a direct development from Grand Prix Racing.  In many kartsport classes, tyres are restricted to one make and compound for longer wearing and reduced costs.  Even so the same principles apply to optimise their grip as in other forms of motorsport.  The successful karters are the ones who learn to set up their karts to obtain the best performance from their tyres and it is for this reason that so many of todays top drivers and Grand Prix stars learn the basics in kartsport.  

A very large percentage of Indy and Formula One stars developed their skills in the world of kartsport.  Drivers such as the late Ayrton Senna, Prost, Hakkinen, Schumacher and Hamilton all started their careers in karts. Here in New Zealand, some excellent examples of experience gained in kartsport can be seen from the achievements of Wade Cunningham, who won the Karting World Championship in 2003, as well as Scott Dixon, Greg Murphy, Craig Baird, Jonny Reid and Scott McLaughlin who all spent many successful years racing karts.

The sport enjoys an enviable safety record.  Drivers are required to wear purpose-made and approved driving suits or leathers, approved safety helmets, gloves and lace up shoes that cover the ankles.Karts have an inherently safe design with a low centre of gravity making them very difficult to turn over.  Being so close to the ground the impression of speed and excitement is high.  With minimal weight and a very large tyre contact area, they slow or stop very quickly under brakes or when a driver gets offline. Race meetings are run by the 20 affiliated Clubs throughout New Zealand and are a controlled form of motorsport carried out on permanent sprint tracks, motor racing circuits or dirt (speedway) ovals.  Most permanent sprint tracks are owned by an affiliated club and need to be licenced and is subject to annual safety inspections.

Whilst today's kart bristles with modern technology, its construction is simple in terms of both motor and chassis.  Parts are easy to fit and there are many specialised kart shops and engine builders throughout the country who can assist with all aspects of maintenance from selling the smallest part to complete engine rebuilding services. Kartsport does not have a high powered approach, friendly expert guidance and advice are in abundance so maintenance of a kart chassis and engine becomes a matter of common sense with a little expert guidance as required.  With little need for a string of mechanics, panel beaters, spray painters, welders and the like to act as pit crew, the most common assistance competitors have is their families.  Fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers and friends make perfect pit crews and create the atmosphere of a true family sport which is very strong throughout all levels of competition.  Kartsport caters for age groups from six years upwards and it is not uncommon for a number of people from the same family to compete, mums and dads, brothers and sisters.

Perhaps the greatest benefit the entire community derives from kartsport is the involvement of the young in a healthy, competitive sport which invariably produces better drivers.  What better grounding for a girl or boy than a sport where they can develop their confidence and driving skills.

This means that these drivers may have years of supervised motoring experience well before they are old enough to qualify for a road licence.

Kartsport develops a sense of responsibility and competitiveness while providing safe and exciting motorsport for families and individuals both young and old.  Kartsport is not a free sport and damage to equipment is frowned upon by officials, parents and competitors alike. Karters learn the basic mechanical understanding of their karts and develop a sympathetic approach to its use.

It can be a sport that will give you a good grounding for future development within a motorsport or simply be a fun way to spend your weekends.  Young karters will soon be tomorrows road drivers and kartsport teaches car control, defensive driving techniques and an appreciation of other vehicles in close proximity to each other and most importantly the dangers of overdriving.  All this and more in a controlled, friendly family atmosphere where the focus is just as much on fun and enjoyment as it is on the competition itself.


There is lots of information about our sport on this website, however, if you have any specific questions or need some more help either:

Email: or phone 027 2747042