Go Kart Chassis Rules

Written by rick carlton
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Go Kart Chassis Rules
Karts provide driver fun and significant performance on a budget (karting image by monregard from Fotolia.com)

According to the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) a go kart is defined as a "...land single-seater vehicle without a roof or a cockpit, without (a) suspension and with or without bodywork elements..." Or, in colloquial terms, an open frame with no suspension carrying an engine, a seat, gas tank and steering/braking gear, rolling on four wheels and tires. Karts are typically used for family fun, as basic driver-training aids or as competitive vehicles used during professionally sanctioned racing events.

Materials and Dimensions

In order to meet international safety requirements, kart components (including the frame and all auxiliary chassis components) must be fabricated of high-strength, or alloy-integrated structural steel. General wheelbase dimensions (the length extending from the rearmost outside frame component, to the farthest-forward frame component) are between 3.31 feet (101cm) to a maximum of 3.51 feet (107cm). The chassis' track (the width extending from the right front wheel-hub to left wheel-hub) must be a minimum of 2/3 of the total wheelbase. For example, in the case of the shorter wheelbase, the required width must be at least 2.49 feet (75.90cm). Finally the chassis must not sit higher than 2.13 feet (65cm) from the ground, excluding the height of the seat.

Structural Requirements

When adding or integrating ancillary mounts, brackets or other structural sub-assemblies, all components must be either fastened directly to the chassis, or to one another, then to the chassis. For example, engine mounts must be welded directly to the chassis, whereas affiliate engine brackets are first attached to the engine, then can be securely bolted to the welded chassis mount. The chassis/frame structure cannot flex or articulate longitudinally or laterally. The system cannot provide for any type of suspension or damping, whether mechanical, hydraulic or pneumatic. The rear axle housing must provide for a maximum axle shaft diameter of 1.97 inches (50mm).

Auxiliary Components

In addition to the chassis/frame itself, a set of auxiliary components is integrated within the structure. These include a four-wheel braking system, in addition to the kart's engine with integral exhaust system/silencer. Further, necessary steering components, a driver's seat, gas tank(s), throttle/brake pedals and forward and aft crash bumpers are added. Finally, the chassis is integrated with various weight and ballast components, affiliate system support devices, engine fittings as required and any bolt-on brackets, plus any secondary tubing necessary to ensure frame integrity.

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