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Kart Racing – Basic Info & History

History of karting

Karting was born in 19561 in California, United States. The first commercial kart was built in August 1956 by Arte Ingels in California with an engine from a lawnmower of the West Bend Company (1911-2003), a company established in West Bend, Wisconsin. Very soon, the karting was consolidated in other bases in the United States, and the first “”wild “competitions began. The go-karts were more than 50 km / h, and many technical improvements were quickly incorporated.

Karting fever quickly gained followers throughout the United States before crossing the ocean to Europe, as three years after its baptism in California there were more than 300 different brands in North America that manufactured this small recreational vehicle. Also, in a flash, karting became a new sports discipline of motorsport, in which thousands of supporters began to participate.

In the 1960s, this sport was introduced into Europe through France and England, and numerous national federations were created all over the world. To bring this Federative process together, the International Automobile Federation(FIA) decided to create the International Karting Commission (CIK) in 1962. While the ’70s were essential for the birth of karting in Spain, by The Hand of Jorge Fuentes and other passionate young people, in the rest of the World karting was revealed as an actual school for the sport of motor racing, whose educational virtues are still praised today. Young drivers such as Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost or Riccardo Patrese would thus begin to receive their practical classes in their children’s competitions and promote this discipline when they landed in Formula One in the 1980s.

Since 1956 the evolution of karting has been steadily increasing, although the regulation has not changed much, the chassis has been gaining instability and braking. Those first welded heating tubes have given way to the most sophisticated frame and the most modern brake systems. Today a kart can reach speeds above 250 km / h (super kart) but with safety comparable to that of a Formula 1.

At first, karting made the delights of all DIY lovers, who were able to squeeze their creative wits out, but soon some builders began to produce small series of chassis. If at first the MacCulloch lawnmower engines, with their 9 HP, made the drivers enjoy themselves, they were soon driven out by the Montesa, Parilla, Rotax and Comet brands.

Always Italian enthusiasts, when it comes to mechanical sports, were the first to specialize in chassis construction. In this way, the techno house created in the 1960s the famous Puma model, which was the prototype of all the other chassis designed since then. With more than 2,000 frames manufactured in 1965, the Pederzanni brothers, techno creators, also directed their steps towards motor racing in formulas 2,000 and 3,000, before the economic problems paralyzed a Formula 1 project. Since this time, the Italians were the kings; the vast majority of material came from this country, even though the Rotax Austrian engines achieved great success over several years.

In 50 years, karting has gained respect and recognition as a complete sport and a driving school. Drivers such as Michael Schumacher, Mika Häkkinen, Kimi Räikkönen, Fernando Alonso and many others collaborated in their new games to make the sport of karting one of the most popular in the world, and, above all, the most important base of today’s motorsport.

Safety equipment for a karting pilot

Like all motorsports, karting needs some minimal equipment to make its practice safe. The necessary safety equipment for a pilot consists of the following accessories:

Helmet: it is an essential part of all the stuff since it helps to protect the head and face against possible serious accidents. There are two types of approvals depending on the age of the pilot.

The visor helps to isolate the pilot’s face from foreign elements that could harm him by being fired at high speed, such as dust, sand, soil, rubber, and even metal parts.

  • Helmet: although it is not an indispensable accessory, its use is recommended to provide greater comfort and safety. It aims to absorb the sweating produced by driving for long periods, preventing the helmet from getting wet and the sweat from soaking the face. They are usually made of cotton.
  • Neck or collar Protector: made of foam and covered in high strength nylon. It helps to reduce fatigue in the neck muscles caused by gravity forces by taking curves at high speed, especially in highly deviated circuits. They are generally supplied in a single standard size for all categories.
  • Mono: usually made in flame retardant and non-slip material to avoid burns or scrapes. Made of two layers of materials, usually enthrone (nylon fiber) on the outside and cotton on the inside. Some have Kevlar pads on their elbows and knees to provide more protection for the pilot. Recently, a textile called “”Sanity”” is used that brings more resistance to abrasion.
  • Rib protective vest: another of the essential garments for the protection of the pilot, after the use of the helmet. In karting, it is widespread to damage the ribs due to the blows of the back against the sides of the seat. These continuous blows cause inflammation in cartilage and intercostal nerves, causing intense pain and possible fissures. In turn, the objective of the vest is to protect the entire coastal area, as being well adjusted provides excellent protection against impacts insignificant accidents.
  • Gloves: made of non-flame retardant material. They help protect the hands from possible scratches or blows, as well as provide a better grip on the steering wheel.
  • High-Rod boots: this type of footwear is specially designed for karting. Its objective is to protect the feet and the area of the ankles and heels, which, when driving, are subjected to sudden movements. The soles are thinner than in conventional slippers to convey higher sensitivity to the pilot’s foot. Even some models are made of flame-retardant material.

Physical preparation of a karting pilot

The first experiences for a novice pilot who goes on a kart are traumatic; after a couple of laps, they begin to feel the physical deficiencies. This is due to many factors, but the most influential factor is the sacrificed handling position.

The neck, spine, and arms are exposed to remarkable demands. The seat is made of carbon fiber or fiberglass, and every motion of the kart, which has no suspension, is transmitted directly to the pilot’s spine, especially to the cervical and scare-lumbar area, causing small but continuous trauma.

The centrifugal force that pushes the pilot’s body out of the curve is one of the effects that cause the pilot to get into situations of muscle fatigue. The cervical spine of the pilot is not attached and is considered to be a crucial point on which mechanical solicitations are most prevalent. To keep the head in lateral bending and also to resist the centrifugal force that pushes the helmet towards the external part of the curve, an increase of the end muscular pressure is caused, the muscles become rigid and this stops the blood flow. Even when they are more in need of oxygen, thus decreasing the probability of driving in favorable conditions. In this way, it is advisable to analyze the position of the pilot and the muscles involved.