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Racing Formats

By: Sally Aquire - Updated: 11 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Sprint Races endurance Races speedway

Kart racing usually follows one of three formats: sprint racing endurance racing and speedway. The latter is more popular in the US than the UK.

Sprint Racing

Sprint races usually take place on circuits that look a bit like road circuits, with both left and right turns. They can be anything from 400m to 1600m (one mile) in length, although some circuits may be longer than that.

The races generally take place over a small number of laps. There are usually three qualifying rounds, which then determine which drivers are able to qualify for the final. Points are awarded for different finishing positions, and these are then used to decide who wins the event. Trophies are awarded to the top-placed finishers.

The average race lasts around fifteen minutes. Some races may be shorter, but they don’t tend to last much longer than this. Examples of races that are conducted in sprint format include the Federation Internacionale de l’Automobile (FIA) Karting World Championship.

Successful sprint racers must master the art of smooth overtaking, combined with raw speed.

Endurance Racing

As the name suggests, endurance races last much longer than sprint races. They can range in length from half an hour through to twenty-four hours, but the longer races use more than one driver. They take place on full-size road race circuits that range in length from 1.5 miles to 4 miles.

Because of their extended nature, consistency and reliability play a key role in endurance races, as does pit strategy. Speed is not nearly as important as it is in a shorter sprint race.

Endurance racing is more popular in the US than it is in the UK. It is nicknamed “Enduro racing” by the Americans, and is overseen by the World Karting Association (WKA) and International Karting Federation (IKF), both of which are American regulatory bodies for karting. Sprint Enduro races last around half an hour, while Laydown Enduro races last around three-quarters of an hour.

Speedway Racing

Speedway races take place on circuits that are made of either clay or asphalt. These oval circuits are between one-sixth and one-quarter of a mile long, and usually feature two straight corners, along with four left-turn corners.

The races can be as short as four laps of the track for a trophy dash, or up to twenty laps of the track for a full race distance.

There are two main race formats for speedway racing on the dirt:

  • The IKF race meetings follow the format of two heats, which each comprise of ten laps of the track. The finishing positions in these heats are then used to decide the starting order of the final twenty-lap race.

  • The WKA race meetings use qualifying times. The Go-karts are fitted with transponders, and the aim is to record the fastest qualifying time. The qualifying times determine the starting order of the race.
The racing formats are all very different, and require different karting skills. The main racing format in the UK is sprint racing, although some karting clubs do offer endurance racing and Speedway racing, if you’re interested in having a go at them.

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