Drag Racing Go-Karts: Everything You Need To Know!

Drag racing was typically known as a type of motorsport that saw specialized drag cars race across a long straight section. Nowadays, all sorts of automobiles and motorcycles compete in drag races, with the most common format being the 1/4-mile drag race. 

However, not many people are aware that drag racing with go-karts is actually a thing! Moreover, there are even customized drag racing karts that are built for this type of motorsport. It goes without saying that these drag races are extremely fun and exciting to watch. 

In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at drag racing go-karts and discuss everything there is to talk about! Let’s jump right in!

What Are Drag Racing Go-Karts?

Drag karts, or drag racing go-karts are special types of go-karts that are designed for fast acceleration and top speed on a drag strip. These go-karts have a low center of gravity and a high-top speed in order to reach the 1/4-mile finish line as fast as possible. 

Drag racing go-karts can reach speeds above 120 mph and complete a 1/4-mile race in under 10 seconds – that’s insane! In that regard, it can easily beat most Lamborghini’s and Ferrari’s!

drag racing go-karts on a drag strip
Drag Racing Kart on a Drag Strip © UKDragKarts

As you can see from the image above, drag racing karts are less than an inch off the ground, in order to keep a low center of gravity. With a tubular steel frame and no bodywork, besides the occasional nassau panel, the weight is kept as light as possible. This enables the drag kart to reach mind-boggling acceleration. 

You’ll also be able to see large and wide rear wheels for extra grip and a spoiler to ensure that there is enough downforce during the 1/4-mile race. A safety harness is absolutely required to keep the driver secured to the seat and racers typically wear full racing gear. 

Typical racing go-karts are equipped with 2-stroke and 4-stroke engines, but not these racing machines. Drag kart engines require much more horsepower and it’s not uncommon to see modified motorcycle engines. The Honda CBR600 engine is a popular choice when it comes to drag racing go-karts. 

These engines have about 500 – 800cc and will allow drag karts to reach speeds of more than 120 mph! That’s just insane.

How Are Drag Racing Karts Made?

Drag karts are mostly custom built from scratch. This means that the frame of the go-kart is welded using steel, and all other components are subsequently added. Modified motorcycle engines are a popular choice, as they are efficient and lightweight compared to other types of high-performance engines.

There are also no drag go-karts for sale from manufacturers, as this motorsport seems to be quite a unique niche. However, you will see hobbyists and drag kart racers sell them occasionally. 

Where Do Drag Karts Race?

Drag karts are raced on drag strips. These drag strips are typically a 1/4 of a mile (1,320 feet or 402 m) in length, and are usually made of either asphalt or concrete. This allows drag racing go-karts to get the grip they need, in order to reach 0 – 62mph as quickly as possible and dash past the 1/4-mile finish line.

Santa Pod Raceway go-karts
Santa Pod Raceway in Bedfordshire, UK © UKDragKarts

While the United States is most commonly associated with drag racing, the most popular drag kart racing scene is in the UK, believe it or not! The drag strip we’re talking about is the Santa Pod Raceway along Airfield Road in Bedfordshire.

Santa Pod Raceway was opened in 1966 and has been featuring various types of drag races for a wide variety of vehicles, including drag karts. This raceway was named after the famous drag strip called ‘California Santa Ana Drags’ and features a complete concrete surface.

Drag Kart Racing Videos

Here are some awesome videos that feature some of the best drag racing go-karts in the UK. These karts feature modified GSXR1216 and CBR600 engines. If you look closely, you’ll even get to see the NOS boost!

Drag Kart Pages

If you would like to find out more about the drag kart racing scene in the UK or in general, head over to the UK Drag Karts Facebook Page.

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About Gerrit

Owner, Researcher, Writer & Editor at GoKartGuide.com

Hi, I'm Gerrit. I have been racing go-karts competitively and recreationally for the past 20 years. Apart from actively growing local karting communities, I run GoKartGuide and write comprehensive articles, guides & reviews about go-kart racing. I race, build, mod, & discuss go-karts whenever I find the time. Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the read!

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