Karting in Ireland is governed by Motorsport Ireland which is part of the FIA. The FIA is the world governing body for most forms of motorsport around the world such as F1, WRC and World Rallycross.
Many F1 world champions such as Ayrton Senna and Lewis Hamilton raced karts when they were younger and a lot of the current drivers began their careers in karts and continue to use them to keep fit. Fernando Alonso has his own kart race circuit and brand of kart.
Classes are divided up by age and kart and engine type. Girls and boys are treated equally and race together.
- MiniKart (6-8 years old)
- Cadet (8-12)
- Mini Max, Junior Max, Mini X30, Junior X30 (Varying from 11-16 depending on experience)
- Rotax Max (16+)
- X30 Senior (16+)
- 125 Open (16+)
All karts are direct drive (no gear changing required) with centrifugal clutches except for the 125 open class which has 6 gears.
There is a minimum weight for a kart complete with driver that must be adhered to. If you are below the weight limit you must securely add lead weights to your kart to keep the competition even between competitiors.
Beginners will start with Black number plates with white numbers for their first 6 events to identify them as new drivers.
Karts can be purchased for as little as €1000. Before you purchase a kart you should attend at least one event to learn about which class suits you best and what mechanical and safety equipment you need. You should also ensure that the equipment you are buying is the correct specification for the class you want to race. This can be done by asking an official at any Motorsport Ireland kart race or checking the current years rulebook. We would recommend you buy used equipment to start with apart from your helmet which we strongly recommend that you buy new.
You will need a suit, boots, gloves, helmet and rib protector. These items must be to a certain standard. Check current rulebook for further details.
An FIA Motorsport Ireland race license is necessary to race in the championship. Fortunately under 16's get their first year’s license free and “first timer’s” over 16 at a highly discounted rate.
www.motorsportireland.com/useful information is the place to go for further information, including the current yearbook that contains all the rules and regulations in Appendix 70.
The Motorsport Ireland National championship takes place throughout the year at the following tracks:
- Mondello Park, Kildare
- Whiteriver Park, Louth
- Athboy, Meath
- Tynagh, Galway
- Nutts Corner, Antrim
- Watergrasshill, Cork
Most tracks have allocated times for owner/drivers to practice in their karts away from race weekends on payment of a fee.
A kart is a reasonably simple piece of equipment and there are always people on hand to help you on a race weekend. There are also race teams that can transport and run the kart for you for a fee.
The format of a race day is practice, 2 qualifying heats, a pre-final and a final. Races usually take place on a Sunday, but on occasion the event can take place over two days.
If you go to an event you'll find there are an endless amount of people willing to help give you information you need to get started. Do not be intimidated by the larger race teams with big set ups as they too will be happy to help.
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