The 5 Best Go-Kart Tire Prep Formulas

When it comes to go-kart racing we commonly try to get every edge we can in order to increase our lap times. This can include optimizing and tuning our go-karts, increasing our driving skills but also prepping. One often overlooked technique is tire prepping, in particular finding the best go-kart tire prep formula for racing. 

A tire prep formula will increase the traction of your wheels on the track surface, which will in turn will enable you to reduce your lap times. Tracing is one of the most important things you need to rely on when it comes to go-kart racing, as skidding slows you down. In this article we’ll be exploring the best go-kart tire prep formula for racing. Please note that in some karting competitions and leagues, tire prep formulas may not be allowed. In this case, please only use traction formulas with caution and in your own personal races.

1. PJ1 Track Bite (1 gal)


Suitable For:

  • Asphalt: Yes
  • Concrete: Yes
  • Dirt: No

PJ1 Track Bite is one of the best traction enhancing prep formulas for go-karts in the market. This product contains a highly effective mixture of Isopropanol, proprietary resin and other types of ingredients. Due to its proprietary nature, the active ingredients are not disclosed. 

This non-hazardous formula was initially used for drag racing and has found its way into other motorsports such as go-karting. Applying the formula is relatively simple. Once applied to the tires, it will increase grip between the tires, the race track surface and the rubber deposits on the track.

PJ1 Track Bite can be used in all types of weather conditions, regardless if it’s during a hot race day or pouring rain. The formula is weather resistant and it also doesn’t soften the tires. It’s recommended to apply a full coating on the rear tires and a thin layer on the front tires.

How to Use PJ1 Track Bite:

  1. Apply formula directly on the tires with a brush, sprayer or roller
  2. Full coating for the rear tires and a thin coating for the rear tires

2. Pimp Juice (1 gal)


Suitable For:

  • Asphalt: Yes
  • Concrete: Yes
  • Dirt: No

Pimp Juice has been a famous tire prep formula for go-kart racing that has recently returned after a long hiatus. They’ve recently returned with their proprietary formula that has been carefully researched from the ground up. 

The formula itself features a balanced amount of solvent and polymers that are capable of achieving a great degree of tire stickiness with increased traction for go-kart racing. The go-kart tire prep formula itself is non-toxic and is free from unwanted impurities. It’s also not carcinogenic, as compared to some of the older formulas on the market. 

Pimp Juice is best used for kart racing on asphalt or concrete and is not recommended for off-road karting. It’s recommended to shake the compound well before applying an appropriate amount of it on both front and rear tires. Another great feature is that the formula is biodegradable, which means that it doesn’t harm the environment.

How to Use Pimp Juice:

  • Apply formula directly on the tires with a brush or roller
  • Full coating for the rear tires and for the rear tires

3. Pro-Blend Hot Lap 2 (1 gal)


Suitable For:

  • Asphalt: Yes
  • Concrete: Yes
  • Dirt: Yes

The Pro-Blend Hot Lap 2 is another great go-kart tire prep formula that helps to increase tire traction in races. Pro-Blend states that this formula is undetectable by passing tire tests and increasing tire life by up to 50% at the same time. Even though it’s undetectable, it’s best to check with your race organizer if tire prep formulas are allowed for that race. 

Pro Blend claims that it can reduce racing lap times by two to five tenths of a second, due to the increased grip that your tires will have. Essentially, you’ll be able to increase corner speed by around 3 – 5 mph, which will add up to a few tenths of a second off your lap times. 

It’s recommended to apply a few coats of Pro-Blend Hot Lap 2 three and two days before a race. Application is recommended on both front and rear tires and should last for a total of 25 laps per application. The great thing about this formula is also that it can be used for off-road go-karting, unlike some of the others.

How to Use Pro-Blend Hot Lap:

  • Apply formula directly on the tires with a brush or roller
  • Full coating for the rear tires and and front tires 3 and 2 days before race

4. RCI TNT 5000X (1 gal)


Suitable For:

  • Asphalt: Yes
  • Concrete: Yes
  • Dirt: Yes

Another great tire prep formula for go-kart racing is the RCI TNT 5000X. It comes in a 1 gallon bottle and should be applied equally to all four tires. According to the manufacturer, this formula will last for about four full races when applied to all four tires equally. 

TNT 5000X tire prep formula is rated to last for 50 lap races per application but should be applied in three different coats a few days before the race. The last coat should be at least 24 hours before race day. RCI also claims that this formula can increase the go-kart tire lifespan by up to 50% and that tires run about 15 – 25 degree cooler than normal.

Using this formula should increase your lap time by about two to five tenths of a second, due to the increased grip that your kart tires will experience in the corners. Another great feature of the TNT 5000X is that it also works for off-road karting, however a fourth or fifth coat would need to be applied for maximum effect.

How to Use RCI TNT 5000X:

  • Apply formula directly on the tires with a brush or roller
  • Full coating for the rear tires and and front tires 3 and 2 days before race
  • Can also be used with scuffed tires

5. Pro-Blend Hot Lap Victory Lane (32 oz)


Suitable For:

  • Asphalt: Yes
  • Concrete: Yes
  • Dirt: Yes

The last go-kart tire prep formula in our list is the Pro-Blend Hot Lap Victory Lane. It comes in a 32 ounce bottle and is easy to apply to your tires. You can simply use a brush or a roller and should apply this to all four tires equally. It’s recommended that you use several layers of coating a few days before racing. 

Pro-Blend also claims that this formula helps to control and regulate the heat of the tires during a race. This heat control can make your go-kart tires last 30 – 50% longer. The difference between this tire prep formula and others is that it can soften the tires. This is not always desirable but can be advantageous in certain situations. 

The Pro-Blend Hot Lap Victory Lane helps to increase tire grip on any type of surface, even dirt. This means that it can also be used for off-road go-kart racing. Overall, this tire prep formula is a great way to decrease lap time. However you should check if this is legal in your race.

How to Use Pro-Blend Hot Lap Victory Lane:

  • Apply formula directly on the tires with a brush or roller
  • Full coating for the rear tires and and front tires 1 and 2 days before race

Buying Guide: How to Choose a Go-Kart Tire Prep Formula

Most of the tire prep formulas that are available are very similar in nature. They all have the primary function of increasing tire traction on the race track. Even though they have more similarities than differences, there are certain aspects that you may need to consider, in order to find the best go-kart tire prep formula for your go-kart. 

In this section we’ll be taking a closer look at the available bottle sizing, the different types of formulas, how they’re applied to the go-kart tires, on what surfaces they’re suitable for and if they pass go-kart racing regulations. 

Volume

Tire prep formulas usually come in two different sizes. The most common size is a 1 gallon container. The other size is a smaller 32 ounce container. If you’re going to be using a go-kart tire prep formula regularly, it’s recommended that you purchase a 1 gallon formula, as they have a much more affordable cost per ounce ratio. If you’re thinking of trying out a tire prep formula just once or twice, then a 32 ounce container would be more suitable for you. 

To put things in perspective for you, a gallon container should last you for about 4 – 8 races. A 32 ounce container would last around 1 – 2 races. These numbers are based on the average track length and and the average number of laps per race. This guideline is just an average and you should check the actual product information first. The information is usually found on the tire prep formula container itself or can be found on the product page, as well. To summarize, it’s important to understand which volume is most suitable for your racing requirements. If you’re a regular racer and plan to use a go-kart tire prep regularly, it’s highly recommended to opt for a 1 gallon container.

Formula

Some manufacturers are required to publish a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for their tire prep formula, if it contains hazardous chemicals in quantities that are greater than 1%. This will show you what type of hazardous chemicals are used, however it doesn’t show in what amounts. 

Through extensive research, formulas have evolved toward more environmentally friendly options. Most of the tire prep formulas are now non-toxic and non-hazardous with some even being biodegradable (e.g Pimp Juice). 

Most of the formulas contain a unique blend of polymers or resins, with an active ingredient. Manufacturer’s are not required to disclose the active ingredient, as the formula is non-hazardous. That’s why you’ll see that most of the tire prep containers indicate a proprietary blend. When selecting a tire prep formula, you should ensure that the ingredients are non-toxic and are safe to use. Avoid toxic, hazardous and carcinogenic formulas at all costs. 

Application

The tire prep compound is usually applied the same way across all products, yet some manufacturers may have separate instructions in order to achieve the highest degree of effectiveness. Below is a general guide on how to apply the prep formula to your go-kart tires. Please note that below serves as a general guide, as you should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. 

tire prep formula
First Formula Application
tire prep formula
Second Formula Application
tire prep formula
Third Formula Application

The method of tire formula application is often mentioned on the container of the formula itself. You should also follow those instructions that are provided by the manufacturer. There are three ways of applying the formula on to your tires. The first way is by using a brush, the second way is by using a roller and the third way is by using a sprayer. I personally use a brush, as I feel it gives the most even coating and you’re easily able to fill out any gaps in the coating.

You can also opt for thicker layers instead of applying the formula multiple times. There are quite a number of ways to tire prep. For more information, check out the guide on how to use a go-kart tire prep formula for racing

Surface

Go-kart tire prep formulas are mostly used on racing go-karts for track days. Kart racing tracks are made of a mixture of concrete and asphalt or synthetic materials. The formula is designed to increase traction when go-kart racing and it works best on race track surfaces. 

However, some formulas also work well on off-road surfaces but usually require a few additional coatings compared to when used on tracks. Make sure that you read the product description carefully to ensure that it’s suitable for your requirements. I’ve included a separate section for each product in the reviews above where you can see on which surfaces each respective formula works on. 

Race Regulations

Using tire prep formulas for go-kart racing increases traction, specifically in corners and therefore reduces your lap times. As I have stated earlier, using a tire prep for your personal races is completely fine. However, if you’re planning to use this in professional races, you should always check the race regulations if you’re allowed to do so.

Most go-kart races and leagues disallow tire prep formulas, as it can give an unfair advantage to some of the racers. I’ve participated in a few races where tire prep was allowed and it was quite a common technique. It’s therefore always best to check the rules and regulations if you’re allowed to use compounds that increase tire traction on the race track. 

If you see that there is no mention of this in the rules, you should ask the event or race organizer if you’re allowed to do so. The last thing you want to have happen is to potentially win a race only to get disqualified and in worst case banned from future events. In this scenario it’s always better to play it safe rather than be sorry.

Price

Tire prep formulas are available in two different sizes, a gallon container and a 32 ounce container. A 1 gallon tire prep container costs about $50 – $70 and can last for about 4 – 8 races depending on how much you apply. A 32 ounce container can last for about 1 – 2 races. Here’s a quick summary for a better overview:

  • 1 Gallon Tire Prep Formula: $50 – $70 (Lasts for 4 – 8 races)
  • 32 Ounce Tire Prep Formula: $20 – $30 (Lasts for 1 – 2 races)

Frequently Asked Questions

You may have some questions beyond the content that is provided in the buying guide. I’ve compiled a list of the most common questions about go-kart tire prep formulas and answered them below. If you have any other questions, kindly reach out to me or leave a comment below.

Are Tire Prep Formulas Compatible with Other Prep Techniques?

Definitely! Apart from applying a tire prep formula to your go-kart tires there are several other tire preparations you can do to increase your lap time and increase the chances to win your race. 

A trick that you can do is to scuff your go-kart tires, especially when they’re new. Scuffing your go-kart tires will remove the top layer, which is usually smooth and doesn’t provide the best amount of grip. You can use a belt sander to remove the top layer and then proceed to apply a formula to the tire. The formula is easier to apply on scuffed tires and tires that are scuffed generally provide better grip on the race track surface.

In This Video:

  • Tire Scuffing Techniques
  • Benefits of Scruffing
  • How to Apply Formula
  • Benefits of Applying Formula

How Do I Find out If Tire Prep Formulas Are Legal in a Race?

Go-kart races and leagues usually have a set of rules and regulations, especially FIA sanctioned races. Most of the time you’ll be able to read the race regulations on the organizers website. Sometimes the regulations are also published upon registration, so make sure that you read through them properly.

Most of the time no specific reference is made to the use of a tire prep formula. As you don’t want to risk the chance of being disqualified, it’s always best to check directly with the race organizer or the sanctioning body.

How Do I Apply a Tire Prep Formula?

The most effective ways of applying tire prep compounds are by using a brush, roller or spray. I personally use a brush, as I am able to evenly coat my tires and ensure that every inch of my tires are covered. Applying the formula is also easy using a roller. You can basically hold the roller against your kart tires and spin the axle. You can then finish off uncoated areas with a brush. 

If your formula is of low viscosity you may also opt for a spray bottle. Spraying the formula on to the tires is easy, however it can get messy fairly quickly if you’re not used to it. If you’re applying go-kart tire prep formula for the first time I highly suggest using a brush instead.

Do Tire Prep Formulas Also Work for Indoor Karting?

Tire prep compounds are designed to work on hard and even surfaces such as asphalt, concrete or synthetic material. That’s why you’ll get maximum potential out of a formula on race tracks. As the surface of an indoor karting track is made of similar materials, tire prep formulas definitely work on indoor tracks to increase tire traction. 

Indoor karting tracks are usually made of concrete with a screed and finish later on the top. The finish is designed to provide a great degree of traction for rubber tires. That’s why formula isn’t really used much indoors. Most of the time, indoor race tracks use their own electric go-karts and nowadays it’s uncommon to see gas-powered go-karts indoors. 

I’ve also asked a few track owners about applying tire prep formula on self-brought electric go-karts. Most of them were against it, as they didn’t want the residue to be on the track. So if you’re thinking of using a go-kart tire prep formula for indoor kart racing, ensure that you check with the owner or the track manager first.

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