The Three Big Questions #3: How much does karting cost?

So your son is going to love it and you’ve decided you are up to the challenge so now it’s all down to the money – how much will this all cost? Unsurprisingly, it really depends upon how seriously you are going to take it and how much you are willing to spend (it will use up whatever budget you have and then some!). The up front costs are more visible, it’s the ongoing costs that mount up. To start with you need to decide on a class – Junior TKM is generally accepted to be cheaper than the Junior and Mini Rotax classes (there is plenty of discussion to be found on which class is preferred and Spellfame’s overview of the various karting classes is very informative) although it may boil down to what is popular at your local track. You must then set your budget for your kart – will you opt for a complete starter package or are you going to buy a rolling chassis and build up the kart from there? Then there are the things that you will need to have when you arrive at the track for the first time – tools, racewear, fuel and we haven’t gotten to the maintenance side of things yet!

I was aiming very much at the entry level; I have friends who bought karts for their sons at the same time but whose budget was up to three times the size of mine! Here is the list of items that figured in my karting costs spreadsheet along with the costs I factored in, obviously you may not need all of this…

Initial costs:
Kart – complete Junior TKM kart and a decent spares package* (£1,000)
Towing – towbar fitted, camping-style trailer (£500)
Racewear – racesuit (£100), rainsuit (£20), rib protector (optional – £60), neck brace (optional – £30), CMR 2007 certified helmet for MSA racing (£150-£400)
Track membership – Clay Pigeon offer members £5 off every practice session (£35)
ARKS pack – only necessary if MSA racing (£50)
ARKS license test – only necessary if MSA racing (£90)

Karting costs:
Practice day – £40 per day
Race day – £47 per day
Transponder hire (if racing and don’t own one) – £10 hire per day

Consumables:
Race slick tyres** (3-4 race days per set) – £130 per set
Race wet tyres** (1-2 sets per year) – £130 per set
Chains – £20 each
Sprockets – £15 each
Fuel (~5 litres per day @ 135p/ltr + oil) – £8 per day
Petrol to get to track (2 gallons per trip) – £12

Maintenance:
Engine rebuild (every 8-12 hours) – £250-£340 depending upon who
Carburettor clean (every 3 sessions) – £15

* Make sure you get a trolley, preferably spare tyres/rims, sprockets, chains, a seat that fits and any spare body/chassis bits you can!
** Whilst your son is getting up to speed, he won’t be wearing the tyres out as quickly

3 thoughts on “The Three Big Questions #3: How much does karting cost?

  1. I like what you are doing here and hopefully by documenting your efforts (and costs) it will help others who are thinking of getting involved in karting.
    I’m doing something similar but I’ve taken a different approach because I decided I didn’t have the means to by and run my own kart, so I’m racing in the Club 100 series and writing about my efforts at http://www.racinggokart.net

    Keep up the good work and I hope your son (and you) enjoy the karting as much as I do!

    • It’s definitely addictive – I only took my son to the Clay Open Day for a free go in a kart! The trouble is it’s now all about him and my arrive/drive karting has gone out of the window – back on track tomorrow though 🙂
      Good luck in the Club 100 series…

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