What is Karting?
These are not the kind of go-karts you might see at a family amusement center or park! Sprint karts are serious racing machines – lightweight with powerful, purpose-built engines – capable of very high speeds. Most of today’s racing superstars have begun their careers in karting, including Formula One legends like Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher , current Grand Prix stars like Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton, as well as most drivers in NASCAR, IndyCar and other forms of international racing competition.
There are a number of different racing categories based on chassis and engine type. Russell competes in a racing series that uses two-cycle, 125cc engines with centrifugal clutches, producing 35hp and capable of propelling the kart to speeds of up to 80MPH, depending on the particular track and gearing. The Senior TAG category in the Northeast Super Series allows the Rotax MAX and IAME X-30, as well as the ROK and IAME Leopard engines.
IAME X-30 Senior Senior Engine
Rotax FR125 Senior MAX Engine
The chassis are again purpose-built, racing frames made by a number of specialized companies with a lot of research and engineering know-how invested in them. In 2017 Russell used a Birel ART RY-30 S8B chassis. As with a full size racing car, these chassis allow for many settings and modifications that allow drivers and their teams to tailor their karts to the particular track and its conditions.
Birel ART RY-30 S8 chassis
Tires are arguably the part with the most influence on performance. For the Northeast Super Series used the MG brand of tires for their Senior TAG categories. Again, these tires are slick (no thread) tires made exclusively for racing, and all competitors have to use the same tire and compound. Rain tires (called “wets”) are also used in the appropriate conditions.
MG "yellow" dry weather tires
MG wet weather tires