The engine is the heart of a car, so they say. The same goes for go kart racers as well. The engine propels you and your racer down the back straight and through corner exits, and onto the checkered flag. So who do you trust when the time comes to put a powerplant between your chassiss’ steel tubes? There are some very excellent engines from some of the most renowned engine makers in the industry, not only for kart racing engines, but also in car engines and motorcycle engines as well. Here are some of the manufacturers known in the kart racing scene:
ASM kart engines
American Suzuki Motors Corporation, better known as Suzuki, have not only a reputation for giving small engines big power in kart racing, they also have an excellent reputation in motorcycles and motor vehicles as well. They deal with miniscule-size powerplants, and also up to big V-6 engines in their cars. In kart racing they are also formidable, and an excellent choice for your motor.
Honda Motor Co.
Honda, best known among tuners for its high-revving engines and the competition-stomping performance of its VTEC variable valve timing, also manufactures engines for sprint karts. They, like Suzuki, bring engine expertise from across the board, whether it’s in a screaming civic or a formula car or bike, down to their small motors in search of performance perfection.
Yamaha Motor Corporation
Yamahas have been synonymous with road-course ripping bikes, as well as dishing it out on dirt with their all-terrain bikes. They also have engines for kart racers and distill their sport bike expertise to the racers who want to have Yamaha power pushing them on in a race.
Picking an engine
Whether it’s any of the three companies above, or other major manufacturers in the kart engine builder’s scene, it’s important to consider what you want for your racer. The best thing would be to pick out an engine which is compatible with your tube frame, as the dimensions of one frame may be unsuited for an engine’s mount points. The same applies for engines, because there might be a chance that your motor won’t fit in the mounting locations provided, and you’ll have to fabricate custom engine mounts if needed. Check with your local rules if that’s allowed in competition before proceeding. Nobody wants to be disqualified even before they get on the grid.
Power versus reliability
You’ll also have to consider the power an engine makes, whether modified or stock, with custom exhaust or stock. Because modified engines make more power than stock, they also put more stress on the engine components. If a part can’t take any more abuse put on it, it’ll break down, ending your race and any chance of winning. So choose an engine that is reliable and will live longer.
It’s better to sacrifice a few horses on durability than to have a powerful engine that could blow up any minute like a ticking bomb. That way you can slowly tune up your motor so it will produce more power, but still last the race, and probably need lesser maintenance as well. It’s easier on the driver knowing that an engine is dependable and easier on the pocket in terms of maintenance as well.
So when shopping for a kart racing engine, keep this in mind as you decide what motor powers your vehicle as you cross the finish line.