Starting Out.

Karting is one of the most popular, affordable and competitive branches of motorsport. It offers motorsport for drivers from the age of eight years upwards and has a level of competition to suit just about everyone.

For some drivers, karting will be the pinnacle of their ambitions, while for others it will provide a vital grounding for the journey up the racing ladder. Most of the drivers on the current Formula 1 grid started their racing in karts and the fact that youngsters can start from as early as eight years old makes it the perfect starting point.

With so many choices in terms of classes and venues, karting is easy to get into, but like any branch of motorsport there are some necessary steps that need to be taken before you can get onto the grid and go racing.Kart racing is controlled by Motorsport Ireland and has similar rules and safety regulations as Formula 1 and other forms of motor sport


How to get started in Karting

Go to a race meeting

Kart Races are held at tracks all over the country from March to October. Check the calendar to see where and when the next race is on

Decide on what Class you want to race.
This will depend on your age and engine performance.

Junior Cadet age 8-13 (Yellow number plates with black numbers) Weight Kgs 105

Novice Cadets age 8-13 (Black number plates with White numbers)Weight Kgs 105

Mini Kart age 6-8

Junior Max 125cc age 13-17 ( Red number plate /white numbers) weight Kgs 148.

Junior X30 age 13-17 (Green number plates /with white numbers) weight Kgs 148.

Senior Max 125 age 16+(Blue numbers plates/with white numbers) weight 165.

Senior X30

Super 4/ Billans

125 Open Gear Box

KZ2 Gear Box

Masters X30


Join a club

If you join a club Motorsport Ireland will charge you half the price of a non club member. The Irish Karting Club membership is only 20 for juniors and 30 seniors. Black Plate 10



Get a Competition Licence
Apply to Motorsport Ireland, the governing body for this sport. Motorsport Ireland 01 6775628. You can download the (first licence) application form from

Tel: + 353 1 6775628 Fax: +353 1 6710793 email:

You will need to get the club you are a member of (ie the Irish Karting Club) to stamp your application form before you send it to Motorsport Ireland.

You also need a medical report done by your doctor. All is explained on the Motorsport Ireland application form.

Get a race number

You will need to register for a Motorsport Ireland race number 


The top 6 in the championship from the previous year can you numbers 1-6 according to the championship position. Your previous years race number will be held for a period of time the following season before it will be offered to other drivers.

You may have seen karts using IRL, O, C or GP. These plates are awarded annually to the winners of one off events held by each club. They are normally a 1 day meeting but never count towards the Motorsport Ireland overall Championship.

You will only collect points from the date you register so be sure to do this before your first event. Every championship you register for puts you in the running for the end of year awards from that club.

There are a number of clubs approved by Motorsport Ireland to run kart races in Ireland. These are the only race kart events in Ireland that you are covered by the Motorsport Ireland insurance policy. Each club runs 2/3 events a year at their local track. 2 of the events will be Motorsport Ireland Championship rounds as well as club rounds. The Motorsport Ireland Championship is based  at 4 different tracks (Tynagh, Athboy, Whiteriver and Watergrasshill).

Buying a kart
When you go to a race meeting ask other drivers what they recommend. Check out the Buy & Sell section of this website.

It often makes sense to buy a kart from someone else who races, who will be able to give you help and advice when you race at your local circuit. Look around the club and see which kart models are popular and winning. If you buy new then the history of the outfit is clear from the start, but you will have to buy wet weather tyres and wheels, a trolley and so on. Sometimes buying used equipment, these essentials are included. If you can, take an experienced mechanic along to check over used equipment. There will always be some scoring underneath a chassis, as it rides the kerbs, but not too much. Look for cracks, or repairs in the chassis, where a purchase might be inappropriate. Check the kart is straight by measuring each side from the axle mounting points, and also diagonally. These dimensions should not vary more than a very few mm. Look at the chassis number, there will be a year code to see if the age agrees with the vendor's description. Does the seat fit, or will you have to buy a new one.

If the engine is from one of the sealed classes, there must be a log book showing the service history. Check the seal and engine numbers against those in the log book. Ask for receipts for recent rebuild work, remembering that a full rebuild can cost several hundred euro, so the more recent the more value the engine has. And if possible see it running, even if it means finalising the deal at the race track. If you can, get a written assurance, with a money-back promise, that the engine complies fully with the regulations and at the earliest opportunity ask a scrutineer to check it over if you are in any doubt.

Always check the Karting Regulations before purchasing. They can be found in the Karting section of the Motorsport Ireland yearbook. You can download this from the website  Make sure the kart you buy will be suitable for the next racing season

Buy Kart Race Gear

Before your first race, you will need race kit. In basic form, this means helmet, overalls, gloves and racing boots (that cover the ankle) as an absolute minimum. Rib protectors are now compulsory and you should never drive a kart without one or you risk seriously damaging and in many cases breaking your ribs.

How much you spend is really down to you. Racesuits, which are not the same as the fireproof suits used in other forms of motorsport, can be obtained from about 100+, with boots from about 50+ and gloves from 30+. Good quality helmets will cost from 350 upwards, and note the EC standards stocked at motorcycles shops are not permitted for racing. Youngsters should take care to buy a good lightweight well-fitting helmet. There are certain standards for junior drivers helmets os be sure to check the Motorsport Ireland yearbook before purchasing one. Our advice is to buy the best kit you can sensibly afford. We hope you will never need it, but if you do, you'll be glad you didn't skimp.

Racewear suppliers can be useful sources of advice about race equipment and make sure you check about longevity, as things like helmets and overalls have a well-defined legal life. You'll find supplier ads in most of the motorsport press, and there's always lots for sale in the buy and sell section of our website. Also check out our advertisers and sponsors on the right hand banner on our home page

Race suit, boots, gloves, wet suit and rib protector can be bought second hand but should be CIK approved. It is inadvisable to buy a helmet second hand.

Make sure you have the right tools and equipment

If you're planning to run the kart yourself, you're required to carry an approved size fire extinguisher in your car or van, and you'll also need a decent set of tools, including a socket set, screwdrivers, pliers, spanners, plug-spanner, Allen key set, and a tyre gauge and foot pump. You'll also need a kart trolley or stand to wheel the kart about and work on it, and spares and consumables including fuel (don't forget 2-stroke oil to mix with petrol if you've a 2-stroke engined kart!), chain spray, spare spark plug, and cleaning fluids and rags. Plus wet weather tyres, and a chain and sprockets so that you can change the gearing for different tracks. You'll need a transponder sooner or later. This is a small box fixed to your seat, that signals to the lap timing equipment every time you cross the start line, but some clubs keep a small quantity to hire out for the day. Don't forget to charge your transponder before each event along with the battery for the starter in your kart if it has one.

Karts will generally fit in the back of a decent sized estate car, but many people find that using a van and/or a small trailer is easier.

Now you are ready to race
Race entry forms and supplementary regulations are published on this website 2-3 weeks before each race.

Other things you need to know about race meetings:
Paddock space is on a first come basis so set up where you can while not blocking anyone in.  
Sign on will be announced over the tannoy. Sign on will be available  the day before the race and early in the morning on race day.
Scruitineering MI officials will check that the kart is safe for use and complies with all standards. This will also commence on the day before the race. This will also be announced.
Drivers Briefing will take place on the Morning of the race day, YOU MUST ATTEND. So keep a listen for the announcement. Get the Schedule of Racing and make sure you arrive at the grid in plenty of time. You are due to be ready once the previous race leaves the grid.

There will be a number of practice sessions followed by heats and a final. New drivers will start at the back of the grid for their first 6 races. A new driver is often refered to as a "Black Plate". This is beacause you use black background with white numbers for your first six races. The grid marshal will tell you where to go.  This gives you a chance to get used to racing and watch what the other drivers are doing.

Practice sessions are usually available at the tracks on the day before a race meeting and many tracks allow testing at other times if you ring and book first.

As with all sports Karting is something to be learned, although some people have a natural aptitude for it there is nothing more beneficial than time testing to learn the vagaries of the mechanics and get used to driving at speed.

Most tracks have open testing for a small fee where you can come along with your kart and run on their track for the day. Other karts will normally be there also. See the directory for more details. Some tracks require that you have a Motorsport Ireland License prior to open testing so it is worth checking.

Racing is controlled by a variety of officials, marshals, timers and even a childrens liaison officer. They are there for your safety and welfare and you should obey their instructions.

You should spend some time learning the rules of karting such as the start proceedures and what the different colour flags mean. All this can be found in the Motorsport Ireland yearbook.

All this may seem a bit daunting but it's not actually that complicated and we are always available by email to help if you need help. Nearly all of the people who work at the events do so free of charge and for the love of the sport so you won't find it hard to find a friendly face and a helping hand.

Remember to have fun and enjoy yourself.

If you need any other information just email us on and we'll do our best to help you.

Standard Motorsport Ireland  forms can be found at


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