Every Formula 1 driver starts their racing career in karts. And many a stag do ends in a pile-up at an indoor karting centre. You might think there isn’t anything else inbetween, but karts are used in a huge variety of racing.
Including, it seems, drag racing. The footage you see was taken during a Run What You Brung event at Santa Pod earlier this month that four drag karts turned up to. We’ve no idea who the drivers are, but they’re considerably braver us – their karts look absolutely terrifying.
We can’t tell if the karts started life as circuit racers or if they’ve been custom-built for drag racing. Either way, their tube-frame chassis are much longer than normal for better stability and to accommodate the engine.
These things clearly use bike engines of some sort, no doubt very heavily tuned. Possibly turbocharged and/or nitrous injected.
So, how fast can these karts go? The fastest of them posts a best time of 9.305secs at 138.58mph. To put that into perspective, the fastest production car ever down the quarter-mile is thought to be the Dodge Challenger Demon, with a time of 9.65secs.
They’re really very, very fast, then.
Modern, top-flight circuit racing karts are, of course, massively fast. They might only top out at about 80mph, but they get there as quickly as any supercar. And they can generate as much as 3g in corners.
And then there are Superkarts, which race on full-size tracks and are usually the quickest thing racing on the day, reaching speeds of over 150mph and barely slowing for turns. And the drivers do this sat about an inch above the Tarmac.
Chris Harris drive one for Extra Gear and it left him breathless.
By Graham King