Five Essential Pieces of Karting Equipment
He provided current British Formula Three champion, Jordan King, with karting gear in the early stages of his career, and supplies the reigning British 250cc gearbox champion, James Hassell, with his kit.
With a background in the automotive industry and over thirteen years of experience in karting, Alan knows exactly what equipment is needed to take your karting performance to the next level.
Whether you’re a compete beginner or you’re looking to progress in a particular karting formula, here are the five essential bits of karting equipment you can’t do without, according to Alan.
1) A Good Quality Race Suit
“A good suit is fundamental. If there was an accident and you were to come out of the kart, the suit gives you a great deal of protection because it’s made with an abrasive resistant material.
“Feeling comfortable in your suit can help you relax on the track. The suits supplied by indoor tracks are great for that level of racing, but if you’re racing in outdoor championships you should look for something with more padding and suitable breathing vents.
“You have to have a recognised CIK FIA suit for many outdoor karting events. Without the right sort of suit you won’t be allowed to race in MSA events. It’s not just poseability, it’s actually a requirement. If you haven’t got the right suit, you won’t be allowed to even get into the kart for a practice session, let alone a race.
“A lot of teams like to get customized suits too. We’re about to supply a couple of universities who are racing the British Universities Karting Championship with Sparco suits. They’re going to be embroidered with the name of the driver and the university on the front and back.
“We also supplied the Teesside Angry Birds, one of the teams in the Elite Kart League, with custom suits this year.
“If anyone is looking for a really good suit for outdoor racing, I’d recommend the new Sparco KS-3 and the Alpine Stars K-MX 9, which meet all CIK FIA specifications.”
2) Good Boots
“The most important part of a good pair of karting boots is the heel grip. When you’re driving a car your heel isn’t that important, but in a kart your heel can easily slip on the plastic or aluminium floor tray. Any quality race boot will have a decent heel grip.
“They’re also thinner than a conventional pair of trainers, which gives you more feel on the pedal.”
3) Padded Gloves
“Good karting gloves are padded, which helps absorb some of the shocks coming through the steering wheel. This is really useful, particularly over long races.
“The right boots and gloves can make a real impact on your race performance. And they don’t just give you the edge in a practical sense, there’s a psychological benefit to turning up for a race in all the best gear.
“People who haven’t got the best equipment suddenly start assuming those who do are really good and give them a bit more room on the track. Without a shadow of doubt there’s a mental boost to be gained by having the right stuff. It’s all about feeling comfortable and confident in your kart.”
4) MSA-Approved Helmets
“Finding a decent helmet is obviously crucial too, particularly if you’re racing outdoors. If you’re doing MSA racing on a big outdoor track, you’ve got to have an MSA-approved helmet, which gives you the adequate level of protection.
“Helmets for indoor karting are available at lower costs, although most indoor tracks will provide everything you need.”
5) Waterproofs and Wetsuits
“A lot of people who are getting into karting rush out and buy a helmet and race suit straightaway. While those are both really important, wetsuits are equally essential.
“I was at a three-day karting meeting in Dorset recently and there was rain, fog, low cloud and practically every other weather condition you can race in.
“The racers who didn’t have a wetsuit on were practically suffering from hyperthermia at the end of the day – it was freezing. I’d be very surprised if several of them didn’t come down with the flu the next day.
“It’s vital that you keep warm and dry on the track, not just for your safety, but also for your race performance. A good waterproof or wet suit can protect your race suit too.”