Think sport, think karting!

POSTED ON: 16/05/2017

When discussing ‘sport’, activities such as football, tennis, cricket etc are the traditional activities that will probably spring into most people’s minds, but have you ever stopped to think about those activities slightly left field and the benefits that they offer?

Take karting for example…not necessarily something that would spring to mind initially but karting and the wider motorsport offer in general has a great deal to bring in terms of an individual’s development physically, emotionally and in preparation for life in general. Karting is accessible, different and exciting. Its technical, surprisingly physical and the highs and lows of racing at any level demand the driver develop a mature and measured response in the face of success , disappointment and anything in-between.

To compete successfully at Karting physical fitness is crucial. Compete in an arrive and drive session to feel how tired your arms feel after just 12 laps of an indoor circuit and then imagine how much more gruelling it is to compete outside on larger circuits with bigger events in all extremes of weather. Your body needs training and strengthening to cope with the forces exerted as you take a hairpin at the end of a 70 mph straight so weights, cardio and endurance building are all essential for any would be racing driver.

Alongside that is the need to be able to assess and respond quickly and calmly to situations whilst racing at speed. Izone, driver performance centre at Silverstone, is one of a few centres that coaches drivers to develop their psychomotor skills to develop enhanced reactions and superfine motor control and hand/eye coordination using both driving simulators as well as equipment such as batak machines. It is widely recognised that young drivers who have raced throughout their youth in karting have a better appreciation and understanding of driving hazards and are much safer drivers than those whose first experience of driving is in a car. Racing teaches young people to look ahead and pre-empt situations as well as improving reaction times and observational skills as well as basic driving coordination and awareness of other road users.

Preparing children and young people to be able to recognise and manage risk is an added benefit of motorsport. RoSPA ( Royal society for the prevention of accidents) has actively campaigned for ‘risk’ education to be part of the statutory curriculum in science, PE, design and technology and art. They fully support the inclusion of risk education as a core element of an individual’s education. Statistically karting is an extremely safe sport to participate in because the risk is managed and drivers develop an understanding and an appreciation of this in all aspects of the sport.

Understanding the mechanical workings of a kart helps individuals to understand and develop concepts linked to physics and maths skills. A kart will handle very differently depending on weather conditions, track layout and construction and then add the drivers unique assets such as height, weight and driving style into the mix - it takes a lot of knowledge and experience to get the best result.

Working alongside your team, whether that be in a team endurance event or as part of a racing team with mechanics and engineers and marketing personal is vitally important. Assuming that you have prepared well for your race there is then the added wild card of the other drivers. Karting is full of highs and lows and learning to manage your emotions in high pressured environments is a key skill that drivers develop. Sponsors will be looking for drivers who will represent their brand in a positive light so being able to respond diplomatically and communicate professionally is key and karting helps to develop these wider interpersonal skills.

Careers linked to motorsport are wide and varied and Engineering careers in all their forms can be linked to karting. From design and manufacturing, mechanics, set up, marketing and promotion, health & fitness, nutrition, to business development and planning all are possible careers that link to karting.

So next time you’re considering taking up a sport, have a look at the alternatives to the mainstream. Karting is a sport which is open to all ages and abilities and offers a thrilling and exciting experience as well as one that can develop a whole range of additional skills.

For further information on your nearest recognised track contact the National Karting Association admin@nka.com

Cadet Racing Club runs every Sunday 9.30 – 11am;
Beginners Arrive & Drive sessions available from 9am to 10pm, 7 days / week (subject to availability). Call us on 01473 240087 for more information.

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