Motorsports are not exclusive to the big circuits or medium-sized rides, there is also Kart racing. Kart racing is usually held on scaled-down tracks. Karting is a motorsport discipline that involves open-wheel, four-wheeled vehicles known as go-karts or shifter karts. If you’re in Ottawa, here’s what you should know about this sport and how to get involved.

What is the Kart Racing?

Kart racing, also known as karting, is a motorsport that takes place on open-wheel, four-wheeled vehicles known as go-karts or shifter karts. These races are typically held on smaller circuits, but they can also take place on larger tracks. It’s regarded as a stepping stone to advanced motorsports, with many Formula One drivers beginning here.

Karts vary in speed. Superkarts can reach speeds of 160 km/h (100 mph), whereas recreational karts move more slowly. The sport debuted in 1956, designed by Art Ingels in California, and quickly gained popularity.

The first kart manufacturer, Go Kart Manufacturing Co., was founded in 1957. McCulloch was the first to manufacture kart engines in 1959, starting with modified chainsaw motors. Later, motorcycle engines were adapted, which resulted in specialized kart engine production, particularly in Italy.

What are Go-Karts?

Go-karts, also known as karts, are small open-wheeled vehicles used primarily for racing or recreational purposes. These vehicles range from basic, non-motorized designs to high-performance racing karts. In 1956, Art Ingels created the first go-kart in Los Angeles.

Their design is simple, with four wheels and a compact frame. Non-motorized versions, such as Soap Box Derby carts, use gravity to move. Others use pedals, similar to bicycles.

Motorsport Fun: Go Karting Ottawa.
Source: CBC News

Motorized go-karts use internal combustion engines, typically two or four-stroke, to power the rear wheels via a chain or belt. Standard engines produce 5 to 20 horsepower, whereas racing karts have more powerful two-stroke engines that can generate up to 48 horsepower.

Electric go-karts are becoming increasingly popular, particularly for indoor tracks, because they do not emit pollutants. They operate on batteries, with some models utilizing lithium batteries for longer rides. These karts can also be controlled remotely to ensure safety and speed regulation.

Some go-karts are street-legal, with the necessary lights, horns, and indicators, but their power is typically limited to 20 horsepower.

What Does it Entails 

Kart racing involves driving small, open-frame cars known as karts or GoKarts on tracks that are typically less than 1,000 yards long. It began in the United States in the 1950s and has since grown to be a popular sport worldwide, particularly in Europe. Karts lack protective bodywork, and drivers sit just above the ground, reaching speeds of more than 100 mph.

For beginners, start by looking into local tracks and safety equipment. Take lessons at indoor or outdoor karting schools to learn the fundamentals and safety rules. Prioritize safety by investing in appropriate equipment. Begin by renting karts to gain experience and learn controls such as steering, pedaling, and braking. Join a karting club to meet others and compete in races.

Move on to outdoor karting for more challenges. If you are committed to the long term, consider purchasing your kart. Attend racing schools to receive advanced training. Kart racing provides exciting experiences and opportunities for both casual and competitive racing.

Go-Karting on Ice in Ottawa

Go-karting on ice in Ottawa is an exciting activity that combines go-kart racing and ice driving. Participants race go-karts on a frozen track, providing a unique twist on traditional karting.

The event features eight karts on the track at once, with five sessions per hour. Each driver has 12 minutes of karting time during their session. While waiting, attendees can play a variety of on-site games.

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Drivers are encouraged to dress up in fun costumes, and the best dressed will receive prizes. This seasonal event has limited availability, indicating a high demand.

Individuals must be at least 14 years old and taller than 52 inches, with a maximum weight of 225 pounds. Tickets are nonrefundable. This experience requires drivers to adapt their skills to the slippery conditions of the ice, resulting in a unique and thrilling karting experience.

Top 3 Places for Go Karting in Ottawa

In Ottawa, the top 3 places for go-karting are Top Karting Ottawa, Amigo Karting, and Le Circuit Quyon among others. 

Top Karting Ottawa

Top Karting Ottawa distinguishes itself with its indoor and outdoor tracks, making it a year-round destination for karting enthusiasts. It is conveniently located near downtown and features a 440-meter track for drivers of all skill levels. 

It is unique for its heated tracks, which allow for winter karting. The facility enhances the experience with a sports bar and group packages for parties and corporate events. For those who want to improve, there are leagues and karting academy lessons.

Amigo Karting

Amigo Karting provides a diverse karting experience, with two outdoor tracks designed for varying driving styles. Adult racers will face challenging 180-degree turns on the 630-meter adrenaline circuit. 

Meanwhile, the family-friendly track offers a safer, slower option for younger or inexperienced drivers. 

Amigo Karting offers a variety of karts to suit all ages, including mini-karts for children and double karts for shared driving, as well as high-speed supercars for those looking for an extra thrill.

Le Circuit Quyon

Le Circuit Quyon, a family-run karting track, has over 40 years of experience. Located a little further from Ottawa, its nearly one-kilometer-long track features a mix of fast straights and challenging corners. 

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It caters to both juniors and adults and hosts the Ottawa-Gatineau Karting Championship. 

Beyond racing, Le Circuit Quyon offers educational opportunities such as karting courses and private coaching, which are ideal for those who want to get serious about the sport.


Ottawa provides a variety of karting experiences for enthusiasts of all skill levels. Top Karting offers year-round racing with heated tracks, whereas Amigo Karting offers both competitive and family-friendly experiences on a variety of circuits. Le Circuit Quyon offers a rich history and a challenging track for serious racers. Each location has its distinct features, making Ottawa an ideal destination for karting enthusiasts.