What to expect
Go karts are a type of open-wheel motor vehicle. They’re usually low to the ground and powered by small petrol engines, but there are loads of different varieties around the world. You’ll usually drive them on a purpose-built track – some are outside and others are indoors.
You’ll take the wheel solo, with no space for a passenger as you drive around the track as fast as you can. Don’t worry – protective equipment including a full-face off-road helmet (a bit like a motorbike helmet) will keep you safe.
What you’ll learn
Go karting gives you the chance to think for yourself and make your own decisions while having plenty of fun. As the driver, it’s up to you to look around or other people and practice your spatial awareness to stay on the straight and narrow all the way to the finish line. Some places run go karting team games that need everyone to communicate and work together, others focus on races or tournaments.
Karting originated in California in the 1950's, and it’s taken off around the world. There are plenty of competitions worldwide, including the Karting World Championships and the Junior Monaco Kart Cup.
- Don’t forget the camera. Getting pictures means you’ll have something to look back on later, and go karting can be a great chance for people to practice their photography skills too.
- Take a water bottle. Go karting can be thirsty work, so encourage everyone to bring a drink with them. You may want to bring some spares, or have a backup plan for anyone who forgets.
- Bring some hair bobbles Some places will ask anyone with long hair to tie it back so bring some spares along just in case.
You must always:
Be safe outdoors:
- Check the weather forecast
- For motorised activities away from public roads everyone must wear a helmet and appropriate safety equipment
- Everyone must be briefed before the activity, and speed managed
- There must be a clear separation or boundary between participants and spectators
Joint activities with other organisations:
This activity can be led by you or someone else in Scouts
You can go to a centre or use an activity leader who is not part of Scouting:You must find a suitable provider who meets the following requirements:
The provider must have public liability insurance.
Go karting gave everyone the chance to try something new and develop skills. Everyone learned to drive a go kart, but their experiences were probably very different. Some people might’ve liked to shoot off at speed, while others preferred to be more cautious and focus on accuracy. It doesn’t matter how people approached the adventure, as long as they had fun and enjoyed their experience. What did people enjoy most about go karting? People might think about overtaking people, going fast, or reaching the end and feeling proud of themselves.
What skills did people use to get around the track? People could think about coordination, communication, and thinking on their feet. Would people do anything differently if they tried go karting again? Maybe they’d face their fears and put their foot down on the accelerator, or perhaps they’d take the sharpest corners a little more cautiously.
Go karting can often be adapted so more people can give it a go. Many outdoor centres have facilities that cater for people with additional needs and experienced instructors to help everyone achieve their goals. Get in touch with your local provider to chat through the needs of people in your group – make sure you give them plenty of notice.
All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.