While go-kart racing is usually conducted on indoor or outdoor race tracks (either on a concrete or asphalt surface), dirt track racing with go-karts is gaining in popularity, especially in North America and Australia.
While it’s not as popular in Europe, the region has begun showing interest in dirt track karting in recent years. Racing on dirt tracks requires specialized go-karts that have higher ground clearance, more grip, and a sturdier design (usually with a roll cage), among many other features.
In this article, we’ll discuss the different types of dirt track go-karts, their speeds, price ranges, and a list of the most popular manufacturers. If you’re getting into dirt track karting, this article is for you!
Types of Go-Karts for Dirt Tracks
There are various types of dirt track go-karts, each having its respective specifications, requirements, and design. Let’s go through the five most common go-karts that are designed for dirt tracks:
- Outlaw Karts
- Quarter Midget Karts
- Flat Karts
- Off-Road Karts
- Dirt Racing Karts
Outlaw karts are designed to be raced on dirt tracks. Unlike traditional racing go-karts, which are typically raced on concrete or asphalt tracks, outlaw karts have larger tires and higher ground clearances to better navigate the rougher terrains of a dirt track.
Outlaw karts typically have a higher power-to-weight ratio than traditional go-karts, as they need to be able to accelerate quickly out of the turn. They also often feature a more aerodynamic design and a wing to help them reach higher speeds and maintain a low center of gravity.
These go-karts are raced on short, oval-shaped dirt tracks, typically about 1/5 to 1/3 miles in length. Races are usually run with a field of 8-12 outlaw karts, although larger fields are not uncommon, especially in national races.
Heats are typically 8-10 laps in length, with the main event being anywhere between 20-30 laps. Outlaw karts provide an affordable and exciting form of motorsport for drivers of all ages, and experience levels.
Quarter Midget Karts
Quarter Midget karts are small, open-wheel race cars that are popular among young racers. These karts typically have four wheels and a simple frame with a seat and a steering wheel.
These go-karts are powered by small engines, typically with an output of 50cc. Quarter midget karts can either be raced on a paved oval track or dirt track and can reach speeds of up to 35 mph.
Dirt tracks are typically shorter and narrower than paved tracks, which makes them ideal for quarter midget karts. Paved tracks are typically longer and wider, which can provide a more challenging race for experienced quarter midget kart drivers.
These go-karts are a great way for young racers to get started in the world of motorsports, as these go-karts offer an affordable and safe entry into racing.
Flat karts are a type of dirt track racing kart designed for oval tracks. These karts typically have a low center of gravity due to the lower ground clearance and broader stance. While they’re primarily raced on either asphalt or dirt oval track, they’re often referred to as oval karts.
Flat karts can be powered by either gas or electric motors, although gas-powered variants are more common. On a 1/4 mile oval race track, these go-karts can reach speeds of up to 50 miles per hour.
You’ll also notice that flat karts have an off-centered seating position with the driver seat being closer to the inner track, which is typical for oval racing go-karts. These types of go-karts are popular among both amateur and professional racers, and they are often used in competitive events (mostly local and national).
As the name suggests, off-road karts are primarily designed to be raced on off-road terrains, such as dirt, gravel, grass, sand, and many others. These karts typically have a more powerful engine than traditional racing go-karts, due to the heavier frame and also to accommodate an additional passenger.
While most off-road go-karts come in a two-seater configuration, it’s not uncommon to see four-seater versions available. Due to the nature of the terrain that these go-karts are designed to race on, they feature a coil spring suspension system.
The karts come in a variety of designs and sizes, but all share certain common features, such as a roll cage, steel frame, padded seats, headlights, seatbelts, knobby tires, and foam padding, amongst various others.
Off-road go-karts aren’t typically raced professionally, instead, they’re used for leisure racing on dirt tracks, trails, or any outdoor terrain. The added safety features ensure that the driver and passengers are well-protected at all times.
Being powered by either a two-stroke or four-stroke engine generating a maximum output of about 300cc, they can easily reach speeds of up to 50 mph. Make sure to check out my review on the best off-road go-karts on the market for more information.
Dirt Racing Karts
Dirt racing go-karts are practically racing go-karts with dirt tires. This helps with grip and allows them to accelerate quickly out of corners on a dirt track. There are also various frames available for different classes, including senior, junior, rookie, and twin.
The frame of dirt racing go-karts is typically made of 4130 Chromoly tubing, which is robust and sturdy. While these go-karts are a blend of racing go-karts and off-road go-karts, they do not have a roll cage or roll bar.
Depending on the track layout and the dirt racing go-kart (specifications & modifications), they can easily reach speeds of up to 60 miles per hour.
Where To Find Go-Karts for Dirt Tracks
While already popular in the United States, dirt track kart racing has garnered increasing interest in Europe, Asia, and Oceania. Various types of karting associations, such as the World Karting Association organize dirt track racing events for various kart classes throughout the United States.
Dirt track go-karts are available globally, with many of these manufacturers located in the United States, United Kingdom, China, India, and Australia. With a wide range of dirt track go-karts to choose from, I’ve listed some of the best ways to buy a dirt track go-kart.
Directly From Manufacturers
One of the best ways to purchase go-karts for dirt tracks is directly from the manufacturer. This way, you can be sure that you’re getting a high-quality product fresh off the production line.
Additionally, you’ll be able to work with the manufacturer to customize your go-kart to ensure that it’s exactly what you need. Even if you aren’t an expert, a reliable manufacturer will guide you on what’s the best option for you.
Through Online Marketplaces
If you’re not able to purchase directly from a manufacturer, another option is to purchase a dirt track go-kart from an online marketplace. This can be a great option as you’ll have a wide selection of go-karts to choose from and can even get them delivered to your doorstep.
However, be sure to do your research to ensure that you’re buying a high-quality go-kart from a reputable seller or distributor. A limitation of online marketplaces is that they mostly offer off-road go-karts.
Thus, if you need a different type of dirt track go-kart, such as a flat kart or an outlaw kart, these platforms may not be the right solution for you. However, you should still give it a try – the best online marketplaces are Amazon, eBay, and Craigslist.
At Trade Shows & Exhibitions
Another great option for finding go-karts for dirt tracks is to attend trade shows and exhibitions. This is a great way to see a variety of different products and to talk to manufacturers and sellers directly.
Additionally, you may be able to find some great deals on go-karts at these events and also have the ability to connect with other like-minded people in your community.
In Classified Ads
Finding dirt track go-karts on classified ads is also a great idea. This can be a great way to find used go-karts that are still in good condition. eBay, OfferUp, Facebook Marketplace, and similar sites are great places to start.
However, be sure to inspect the go-kart thoroughly before purchasing to ensure that it’s in good condition and that it will be suitable for use on a dirt track. Contact sellers directly and ask them everything you need to know about the dirt track go-kart you’re interested in purchasing, including warranty, upgrades, age, usage, etc.
Popular Dirt Track Go-Kart Manufacturers
While not exhaustive, here’s a list of brands that manufacture dirt track go-karts. I’ve also included what type of dirt track go-karts they manufacture, the manufacturer’s name, the estimated price (if available), the production location, and a link to their website.
|BRK Karts||Dirt Racing Karts||$4,000 - $5,000||Australia||Visit Website|
|QRC Karts||Outlaw Go-Karts||$5,000 - $8,000||United States||Visit Website|
|PMC Kart||Flat Karts||-||United States||Visit Website|
|Phantom Chassis||Flat & Outlaw Karts||United States||Visit Website|
|KNK Karts||Off-Road Karts||$2,000 - $4,000||India||Visit Website|
|Coleman Powersports||Off-Road Karts||$1,500 - $2,500||United States||Visit Website|