About the World Karting Association
- MISSION STATEMENT -
"Provide a safe, fair, consistent, fun, and affordable environment for the beginner, hobbyist, and future stars of Motorsports to fulfill their racing dreams."
The World Karting Association (WKA) is a membership-owned, non-profit corporation formed in 1971 to regulate and promote the sport of competitive go-kart racing. The WKA establishes the rules and procedures to set standards by which to sanction tracks and to conduct annual championships for various types of karting.
In the 1990s WKA grew to over 10,000 active members and 120 sanctioned tracks nationwide to make it the largest sanctioning body for kart racing in the United States and one of the largest in the world. Today, WKA maintains between 3,000 and 4,000 active members, which are located in over 40 states, Canada and Europe.
The “go-kart” phenomenon began in the late 1950s as a fun and affordable form of motorsports with informal parking lot events rapidly growing into organized competition on purpose-built tracks. Since then, the sport has spread around the world, forming a true “grassroots” of motorsports and spawning a multi-billion dollar industry. While the “go” in the name has long since been dropped by those involved with the sport, karting (properly spelled with a “k”) has gone on to become a primary recreational activity for an estimated 100,000 plus Americans annually.
Karting can be a relatively inexpensive hobby, a serious racing career or a legitimate and sophisticated training ground for those looking to move into other forms of professional motorsports. Many of today’s drivers at the highest levels of racing trace their beginnings to competitive karting, including Tony Stewart, Jamie McMurray, A.J. Allmendinger and Danica Patrick. Many others have made karting a lifelong hobby and/or career.
What is a kart? A go-kart has no suspension, measures about 72” long and 40” wide, and weighs between 150 and 200 pounds minus the driver. Engines vary from 5 to over 30 horsepower. What is not a kart are the vehicles often sold in hardware and auto parts stores aptly called “yard karts”. Competitive karts are for racetracks only and never for the public street or an unsafe area.
Organized events are available to individuals beginning at age 5. Formal competitive classes begin at the junior stage (age 7) and generally run in 3-year age groupings until “senior” status is reached (age 15 or 16, depending on the series). Around 45 percent of competitive event entrants are juniors.
Regardless of an aspiring driver’s age, experience or budget, there is a karting class for them. For newcomers interested in more information, visit our New To Karting? page. WKA also recommends newcomers research local kart shops and racetracks, and visit them, talk to people, watch the racing and gain information. A kart shop will help beginners get acquainted with what is happening in their area and provide valuable assistance in securing the right equipment to get started.
Karting is, arguably, the best way to introduce yourself and your family to motorsports. The sport offers an excellent entry level for racing that is safe, economical, fulfilling and fun. From the beginner to the experienced veteran, karting is a sport that involves the entire family. It teaches the humble way to enjoy a victory and continued success, as well as overcoming defeat and moving on to the next race. It is a great way to grow as a family, a person and as a driver.