Michigan Kart Racing: Road Race and Sprint

Since 1969, Michigan Kart Club has been supporting the Great Lakes area karting community by hosting events in all the major karting classes, primarily “Enduro” Road Race Karting.  For more historical information, visit our History Page. One of Motor Racing’s best kept secrets,  Road Race Karting events are held at tracks greater than one mile in length, designed for full sized cars  like CART Open wheel racers, SCCA sports racers, and Road Race Bikes.

Why Road Racing?

  • Wide open tracks
  • Fantastic top speeds
  • Plenty of actual On Track Driving Time
  • Wheel to Wheel competition
  • Experiment with aero dynamics
  • Plenty of room to pass the competition
  • Experience Drafting.  Execute your own slingshot pass.  What a blast !
  • Great scenery
  • Great weekend get-away
  • Race the tracks that NASCAR, Can AM, SCCA race on TV.. As a Road Race Karter, you can experience the same thrills and challenges as the big guys.

 

Types of Karts:

Sprint  Racers

This is a great place to start racing. These karts can be equipped with either 2-Stroke Yamaha engines as shown above, or 4-stroke, 5 HP Briggs & Stratton engines with a 65 mph top speed.

Kart:  Sprint Race Chassis

Engine:  Yamaha or Briggs & Stratton

Displacement: 100 cc

HP:  10-20 HP

Drive:  Single speed with centrifugal oil bath clutch

Top Speed:    80 MPH

Fuel: Race Gasoline and oil mixture

Cost:  $5,000 New / $2,500 Used

Skill Level:  Novice and Intermediate

Age: Rookie: 5-7, Sportsman: 8-12 Junior: 12-15,  Senior: 15 and up

Race Tracks:  Grattan, Mid-Ohio, Road America, Gingerman, Flat Rock,  Waterford Hills, East Lansing, Flat Rock, Palmyra, and M.I.S.

 

Enduro  Road  Racer

This class is a lot like motorized luge.  You lay down for ultimate low aero drag.  Check out your drafting and slingshot skills on the way to the front of the pack.

Kart:  Emmick, Margay, Coyote, Invader

Engine:  2-cycle piston port or reed valve induction

Displacement: 100 cc

HP:  25 HP

Drive:  Single-speed with centrifugal oil bath clutch

Top Speed:  90 – 115 MPH

Fuel:  Race gasoline and oil mixture

Cost:   $4500 New / $1,500 Used

Skill Level:   Intermediate

Age:  16 and up

Race Tracks:  Grattan, Waterford Hills, Mid-Ohio, Road America, Daytona, Barber Motorsports,M.I.S., Gingerman, Blackhawk Farms

 

125cc  Shifter  Kart

This class closely resembles the thrills you get, and skills required, for Formula 1 auto racing.  Formula 1 and Indy car guys run these Karts in the off season just to keep their skill sets sharp, and, they don’t always win.

Kart:  Birel

Engine:  2-cycle, water-cooled TM, Rotax

Displacement: 125 cc HP:  45 HP

Drive:  6-speed manual gearbox

Top Speed:  125 MPH

Fuel:  Race Gasoline and oil mixture

Cost:  $9,500 New / $2,500 Used

Skill Level:  Intermediate and Expert

Age:  16 and up

Race Tracks:  Grattan, Mid-Ohio, Gingerman, M.I.S., Flat Rock, Waterford Hills, East Lansing

 

250cc  Road  Race  Karts

Even if you can’t afford to race this class, it is a blast to watch.  Imagine standing at the guard rail at Road America and these guys go by at 130 mph, within 20 feet of where you’re standing.  There is nothing quite like it.

Kart:  Super Kart, West Racing Chassis

Engine:   2-cycle, Honda, Yamaha or Rotax

Displacement:  250 cc

Power:  85 – 95 HP

Drive:  6-speed manual gearbox

Top Speed:    150 MPH

Fuel:  Race Gasoline and oil

Cost:  $30,000 New / $20,000 Used

Skill Level:  Expert Only

Age:  21 and up

Race Tracks:  Grattan, Mid-Ohio, Road America, Daytona, Barber Motorsports, M.I.S.

Historical Overview

Karting began in the late 1950’s in California when a chain saw engine was adapted to a basic steel tubular chassis.  At first competition was simple.  Everyone had the same equipment and relative speed levels weren’t an issue, so everyone raced in the same class group.  As the years passed, and the desire for more speed evolved, fairness of competition was desired.  Classes of kart/engine/driver combinations developed as competition grew, so new engines, engine modifications, chassis, driver size, and age were taken into consideration so as to level the playing field a bit.

Local clubs and National Organizations were formed to bring order and a degree of standardization to the sport.  Safety and fair competition were also part of the plan which drove the addition of accident insurance and qualified medical personnel to attend each event.

Still, karting’s appeal was its relative simplicity, reliance on personal inventiveness, kart preparation and driving skills.  Dedicated kart tracks began to sprout up in addition to events at major sports car tracks in the country ( Mid Ohio, MIS, Daytona, Watkins Glen).

Basic Track Program Formats

Layout

Surface

Track Size

    Format

Ages

Typical Fees

Dirt Oval

Clay

1/10 to ½ Mi Night Heat races

5 & Up

$10 to $40

Road Course

Asphalt

1/8 to ¾ Mi Day Heat races

5 & Up

$15 to $40

Road Race

Asphalt

1.2 to 4.5 Mi Time distance races, 20, 30, 45 Minute duration

12 & Up

$60 – $110

National Organizations

World Karting Association: www.worldkarting.com,     Publishes Printed Rulebook, Insures Events, organizes National Level Championships

International Kart Federation: www.ikfkarting.com,      Publishes Printed Rulebook, Insures Events, organizes National Level Championships

National Karting Alliance: www.nkaonline.com ,           Publishes Online Rulebook, Insures Events

American Kart Racing Association: www.http://americankarting.us  Publishes Rulebook, Insures Events, hosts championship series

Getting Started in Karting

It is the opinion of many veteran karters that, regardless of age group, that prospective racers start out as follows:

  1. Go visit local Sprint and Road Race events in order to see karts race, and talk with some of the racers.  Ask if there is someone who lives in your area that you can buddy with at the track ,and exchange ideas and experiences.
  2. Buy used equipment first, to get the best financial entry point, and learn how the equipment operates, and how to perform basic maintenance and kart set-up.
  3. Plan to race at short, sprint tracks, to develop driving skills, and become familiar with event processes.
  4. Start with a kart designed to run in the “slower classes” like 2 cycle Yamaha sportsman or a 4 cycle class to develop driving skills.  Fast classes like TaG and 125cc Shifter are impressive with their speed, but the guys who race those classes have good race experience, and appreciate being on the track with drivers having similar completion skills.
  5. Fast, high horsepower classes usually result in higher maintenance costs ranging from engine overhauls to tire costs.  Lower horsepower helps hone driving skills being that with less power to “waste”, the driver must have better skills in order to win.

Kart Tracks – Sprint – Asphalt – Michigan

East Lansing Kart Track:  East Lansing, MI,  www.karttrack.com

Palmyra Speedway:  3349 E. US 223,Adrian, MI  www.palmyraspeedway.com

Jackson Speedway:  M127, south of I94 at Jackson, MI  www.jacksonspeedway.net

Flat Rock Speedway:  14041 Telegraph Rd, Carleton, MI www.thunderbirdkartclub.blogspot.com

Kart TracksSprint – Dirt – Michigan

Owosso Kart Speedway, 2504 West M21, Owosso, MI  www.owossospeedway.com

Road Race Kart Race Events – Michigan

Michigan Kart Club:  www.michkartclub.com

Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn, MI 248-881-6510

Championship Enduro Series:  www.championshipenduro.com

Grattan Raceway, Belding, MI

Gingerman Raceway, South Haven, MI

Kart Shops

Stoney Creek Racing: 574 W Columbia Ave, Belleville, MI. 734-697-6971

MRP Motorsports: 105 North Elm St., Three Oaks, MI 49128 269-756-9133   http://www.mrpmotorsport.com

Comet Kart Sales: 2650 West Main Street, Greenfield, IN 46733, 317-462-3413 Showroom:  http://cometkartsales.com/Photo-Gallery.html

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