Article from
Popular Science February 2004


Green Flag
About Superkarts
World's fastest"go-karts"

 Track Vehicle Flag
Superkart Links

Passing Flag
Superkart Videos

Smalldebrisflag.gif (920 bytes)

South Africa

International Superkart

Superkart photos from
around the World

Track Vehicle Flag
Links To Everything Needed
To Race Your Superkart

Passing Flag
Tracks Around the World
Including US tracks

Yellow Flag
Popular Science Superkart Article
This is a Must Read!

Red Flag
BRC 250F/E

F.P.E. 250F/E


Hemingway 250F/E

Track Vehicle Flag
New Pics Added
Two Seat Superkart

Yellow Flag
Jeff Deskins' Photo Gallery
from Mid-Ohio

White Flag
SKI 2001 WSK Coverage/Photos
Excellent coverage!

Red Flag
Motorcyclist Mag. WSK Article

Rotax Logo
Rotax Dealers

Green Flag
Vintage Karts
How it all started... Thank you Art!




Superkarts are miniature marvels of performance engineering,
featuring metal-matrix-compound brake rotors and
carbon-fiber rear wings.

Photographs by John Rettie


By Preston Lerner         February 2004
 When Eddie Lawson told me his superkart was "a kick in the butt," I didn't think he meant it literally. My mistake. After driving it for 90 minutes, my body was dotted with ripe purple bruises -- though I was having too much fun to notice. The only reason I called it quits was that all the lateral Gs I was pulling had my head flopping around like a newborn baby's. Not to mention that I couldn't focus my vision on the road in front of me -- no small concern when you're zipping along at better than 110 mph with your keister two inches from the pavement.

Lawson had generously arranged this test session at a racetrack carved from the Mojave Desert a few miles west of Edwards Air Force Base. The first order of business was to warm up the high-strung engines, which tend to explode if not romanced properly. Before long, the air was redolent with the aroma of burnt castor oil, which is mixed with 110-octane race gas to lubricate the internal moving parts of the two-stroke motors.

After Lawson turned a few shakedown laps, I squeezed into the formfitting seat. He gave me a push start; once rolling, I shoved the shift lever forward to engage first gear, goosed the gas pedal, and the kart scooted forward like something out of a Road Runner cartoon. After about, oh, two seconds, it was time to upshift. When I pulled the lever, second gear engaged with a satisfying thunk. Downshifting was easier still: I banged the lever forward and -- voilą! -- no muss, no fuss, no clutch and no need to master the tricky racecar technique of heel-and-toeing to match engine and gearbox revs.
 At low speed there was nothing to it. But when I nailed the throttle, I was like, "Holy horsepower, Batman!" Third gear, fourth gear, fifth, sixth and still pulling strong. I was too overwhelmed to scan the digital tach on the steering wheel, but I later realized that the power-band began around 8,000 rpm, and the screaming little engine didn't run out of steam until closing in on 13,000 rpm.

Approaching a corner, I squeezed the brake and the superkart slowed so dramatically I lurched forward in my seat. Emboldened, I went deeper into the next turn and hammered the brakes. The rear wheels locked and the tail started to come around. No problem: I made a quick steering correction and the kart snapped smartly back into line. Soon I was sliding around like a stunt driver on a frozen lake. Nothing I'd ever driven responded so intuitively. There were no springs or shocks or complex aerodynamics to muddy the conversation: I felt a direct, almost telepathic connection between my nerve endings and the contact patch where tires met pavement.

Superkarts come with awkward baggage: Limited racing opportunities. Minimal sex appeal. Zero driver protection. They're also hard on the wallet (by kart standards) and even harder on the body (by car standards). But short of spending hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, a superkart is as close as most of us will come to the experience of driving a Formula 1 car. By the way, I was a full 12 seconds slower than Lawson. Talent, unfortunately, doesn't come with the kart.

Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3