How to Get Into Racing When You’re Not Rich
It can feel hopeless if you’re trying to get into racing with no money. Even at the go kart level, the costs can be tremendous if you decide to do it yourself.
Interestingly, someone on a kart forum actually did an analysis of the cost required to start go kart racing. They looked at the cost of a used go kart, entry fees, kart tires, race gas, kart parts, engine maintenance, hotel expenses, travel gas cost, etc. For just one season (or year) of regional kart racing, they figured out it’d cost around $8,000 – at least. OUCH!
Want to get into F1? That’s going to be a wee bit more costly. According to Ralf Schumacher (ex-F1 winner and brother of Michael), as of 2022, it’ll cost between 13 and 15 million dollars for a young driver to get into the exclusive sport.
But there is good news.
Ways to Get Into Racing for Cheap:
Thankfully, it doesn’t have to cost A LOT for you to get your start in the sport of racing. This is because K1 Speed Indoor Go Karting offers 4 affordable ways to break into motorsport on a budget without breaking the bank. So, if you’re a kid, teenager, or an adult looking to become a race car driver, check out these available, cheaper options.
1. Just Starting Out? Try “Arrive & Drive” First
The first step anyone should take before they try to become a race car driver is to try an Arrive & Drive race at K1 Speed.
You see, Arrive & Drive racing is our signature experience at K1 Speed. This allows people like you to step in and discover real racing without spending a ton of bucks. You also don’t need any reservation or driver’s license! We’ll supply you with the helmet, headsock, and go kart so all you have to do is show up and have fun.
You’ll then compete in a 12-lap race for the fastest lap time, not track position. So it doesn’t matter if someone is holding you up. Just give yourself a gap to other drivers and set that one blistering lap time.
During Arrive & Drive, you’ll learn the basics of racing, such as:
- Car control
- Racing lines
- Steering smoothly
- Sensitive pedal application
- Carrying momentum
We have two different types of electric go karts: junior karts for kids 48” or taller or adult karts for anyone 58” or taller (up to management discretion). Our junior karts reach speeds of around 20mph, while our adult karts are capable of hitting 45mph – the quickest in the industry.
And here’s the best part – you won’t have to sell off all your possessions just to try real racing. Our required membership is only $7 at most locations. And the cost for Arrive & Drive racing is not much more than $20 – about the cost of a pizza (listening, college student?). Plus, the more races you buy at once, the cheaper each race costs.
Additionally, Arrive & Drive serves as a great way to practice and hone your skills. When it comes to becoming a better racer, seat time is IMPORTANT. The more time you can log behind the wheel of a racing vehicle, the better. This explains why even professional racers like 7-time F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton and 2-time IndyCar Champion Josef Newgarden have visited K1 Speed for a quick 12-lap session.
Read More: Go Kart Racing Tips >>
For more information about our Arrive & Drive racing experience, click the button below.
2. Kid Wants to Try Racing? Try Our Junior League
Now, your kid has tried our Arrive & Drive racing in the junior karts and looks promising. So much so, they’re beating random kids from the general public and appear to get the hang of the basics. And you’re wondering, what’s the next step? That’s easy! Enter them in our Junior League!
Our Junior League is a monthly racing series – from January to December – where children race head-to-head for position, not just fastest lap like our Arrive & Drive format. This means your child will learn more about racecraft rather than just knowing how to drive fast.
- Learning how to pass other racers
- Learning how to defend against other racers
- Handling the pressure
- Being consistent
- Overcoming setbacks
Each event includes a qualifying race to determine the starting grid, and a final race for position. At the end of the final race, points are awarded to each racer depending on their result. Kids accumulate points with each monthly event they compete in, until a champion is crowned at the final race in December.
And here’s the best part about the series: you don’t have to compete in every race! There’s no obligation to race in every one of the 12 races. So, if you had other plans that month, or if your kid decides they’d rather watch racing on TV instead – it’s okay! You only pay for each event they race in. And what’s the cost? It’s just $44.95 per child, per event to compete in K1 Speed’s Junior League. As you’ve already learned, that’s not a bad price to pay at all.
More information about our Junior League can be found by clicking the button below.
3. A Great Way for Teens to Start Racing: Teen Cup
If you know a teen looking to get into motorsport, then K1 Speed’s Teen Cup is perfect. The series is for anybody under the age of 18 who can fit in our adult karts. This means they meet the height requirement of 4’10” and can safety operate the vehicle.
Our Teen Cup runs the same as our Junior League. It has 12 races that run monthly from January to December and participants race head-to-head for position. And the format is also the same: each event has a qualifying session and a final race for position. Teenagers also compete for points, and the highest points finisher at each location will score some awesome prizes.
Teen Cup takes place during the same evening as our Junior League. But rest assured, this competition is a whole other beast. The karts can approach speeds of up to 45mph and these teens know how to get the most from them.
The price for Teen Cup is also only $44.95 and there’s no obligation to enter every round. Simply attend the ones you can. But of course, the more races the teenager participates in, the better chance they have at winning the championship.
More information about our Teen Cup can be found by clicking the button below.
4. It’s Never Too Late to Start: Challenge GP for Adults
Now, our Challenge GP is the best way for adults to get into motorsport. If you’re 18 years of age or older and are at least 4’10”, then this is definitely your most affordable option. This series lets adults enter the world of competitive racing – and you’re never too old to begin! We see a wide variety of ages during these events – from 18-year-olds to racers in their 50s and 60s.
Like our other two racing leagues, our Challenge GP series lasts the whole year, which means there’s a race every month from January to December. The cost to participate in our Challenge GP is just $54.95 and includes two qualifying sessions and a final race for position.
More information about our Challenge GP can be found by clicking the button below.
Don’t Believe Us? Here’s a Case Study.
You might be skeptical that you can get into racing by starting with an Arrive & Drive session at K1 Speed. But that’s exactly how McKenzy Cresswell got into racing, and he’s currently on the road to Formula One!
Read all about his journey by hitting the button below.
Four Ways to Get Into Racing Without Spending A Lot
So as you can see, there are four different ways you can get into racing without spending a lot of money – just at K1 Speed alone.
- New to racing? Arrive & Drive
- Kid looking to start racing competitively? Junior League
- Teen wants to race competitively? Teen Cup
- Adult pursuing their racing dreams? Challenge GP
It doesn’t matter if you’re a novice or an experienced racer, a kid or an older adult. We’ve got affordable racing for you at any of our 40+ locations worldwide. So, stop dreaming and start racing.
Hi I’m 16and I would truly like to start racing as my career,how do I start with no money?
Hey Regginald! Try entering one of our competitions listed in this blog! Sure, it requires a little money, but it’s as cheap as racing gets.
I want to try that it looks pretty
Hello, my name is Javier and I’ve always felt like I’d never be able to get into the sport of professional racing but now I’ve decided I want to pursue my dream however I can. I am 19 years old and would like to know what would be the best way to get started with you guys!
Hello Javier! Sorry for the delay in our response. That’s great to hear! It’s super easy to get started with us. Just stop on by your nearest location and we’ll get you set up with a membership, races, a headsock, and a helmet rental for your track sessions. It’s as easy as that. Hope we’ll see you soon (if we haven’t already)!
I just wanna race but ive no money…
We hear you, Ransilu. Well, if you ever have $30 in your pocket, you now know where you’ll be able to race. Hope we’ll see you sometime soon!
Hi my name is Elizabeth Asuquo. My son is 12+ and will like him to go into racing since he loves racing in his game. We are leaving in Irvington in NJ. How can u be of help for more information.
Hello Elizabeth! That’s fantastic to hear about your son’s interest in racing! Unfortunately, our closest location to you is our Boston location in Wilmington, MA – little over 300 miles away. But perhaps you could do an extended weekend getaway sometime and pay us a visit just to see how he likes the racing experience, and whether it’s something you should start looking more seriously at. For more information about that location, visit our K1 Speed Boston page here: Boston Location Hope we get to see you and your son soon at our track!
i really want to get into racing , but for racing do you buy your own kart or how does competitions work ? im wanting to start heading towards racing but i wanna know details first
Hey Kayla! That’s great to hear! You don’t need to buy a kart to compete in our competitions. We provide the kart, helmet, and everything else you’ll need to go racing. That’s the advantage we have over trying to do it on your own at an outdoor track. We encourage you to click on the links provided in this post for whatever league is appropriate for your age (junior, teen, or adult). We have more information about each particular competition on those pages, including prices, dates, rules, format, etc. Hope we’ll see you soon at our track!
Hi I am looking to become a Formula-one racer i live in Odessa Tx and wanted to know what happens when you finish the teen league
That’s great to hear, Hugo! Depends where you finish in the points in the teen league. Our top 3 racers tend to get some cool prizes. And once you turn the age of 18, you’ll be able to start racing in our Challenge GP series! Hope we’ll see you soon and best of luck getting into F1! We’ll keep an eye out for you.
Lewis Hamilton is a 7 time world champion and holds the all time record for wins with 98. I beg you to please update your website to reflect his latest world championship.
No begging necessary, Kai! It’s been updated. Not to mention he’s got the all time record for poles, laps led, points scored, podiums, seasons with a win…but I digress..
Liam Francis Basalo
Oh wow it is really cheap you are legit but are the K1 Speed in France English speaking?
and I’ve never been driven a Kart before I am 11 Yo. I am a big fan of MaxVerstappen but 1 ques. Though will I quit school to join. Karting ? I am 1 Grade ahead to Junior High Please will you Help me?
Hello Liam! The location in France is mostly French speaking, but there may be someone there that knows english. And no, you shouldn’t quit school to join karting! You need to try karting first and do some competing in something like our junior league to see how good you are. Even the best drivers have balanced karting AND school, so stay in! But we wish you the best of luck in becoming a racing driver!
Hello, I am from India. I have been dreaming of becoming a Formula 1 Racer. But the expenses are so high that I couldn’t afford them in India. Is there any K1 franchise in India?
Hello Aadith, thank you for visiting our site! That’s great to hear about your ambition to become a F1 driver. However, we currently do not have a K1 Speed franchise there in India. But we are open to one if the right person/people come along (Karun Chandhok, if you’re reading this, give us a call). Your best option would be to see if there’s another go kart racing place near where you live. Usually they have rental karts, so that would still be the cheapest way to get into racing. We wish you the best of luck!
Y’all just made a 14 year Texas boy dream come true.
We’re happy to hear, Dawson! See you at the track!
Hello I’m Dawson from Silsbee,Tx and I want to take up a racing career but I don’t what should join F1 or NASCAR. Plus I’m 14. It looks I can get some help from y’all
Hey Dawson! First, we’d recommend trying out our karts in our Arrive & Drive format and see how you like it, how you do, etc. If you’re enjoying it but need to improve your lap times, ask our front desk about our one-on-one instructions. Then, if you’re looking to see how you do in a competition, enter our next Teen Cup event. The more you compete in our Teen Cup, the more you’ll learn about racecraft – the art of consistent lap times, passing, defending, etc. Ultimately, the secret to getting better behind the wheel is seat time. The more time you spend behind the wheel of the kart, the more you’ll improve. Best of luck!
Do y’all also teach NASCAR
What would you recommend for an Autistic 6 year old he loves NASCAR. We got him a drift cart and man he loves ? it.
Hello, Priscilla! You could potentially take him to K1 Speed – we work our hardest to accommodate children with autism. If you can, swing by his nearest K1 Speed and speak with the manager to discuss specifics accommodations to make your child feel the most comfortable at our track. Hope we’ll see you all soon!
Hi I’m 13 and would like to start racing but i have no money
Hi Troy! All you need is around $30 to get behind the wheel at K1 Speed! I’m sure we’ll see you at some point in the future.
I am looking for an opportunity to race go karts I have a big interest in it and hoping to move forward to see where it will go. I just went to kart-o-mania in Montreal and i did very well. Please let me know if I could do something like kart racing and hopefully formula 1.
Hello, Mario! That’s cool to hear you’re starting to think about the world of competitive racing. Our suggestion is to try to find somewhere near you where you can affordably race against people in a competitive environment, like our racing leagues at K1 Speed. This way you’re not spending the big bucks it takes to buy and maintain your own go kart, but able to see how you perform against other serious drivers over a period of time. If you’re winning a lot of races and even take a championship title, then you can progress from there (maybe look into outdoor karting, and then open-wheel cars or sports car racing). Best of luck!
I want to be a professional GT racer. I’m 20 years, I don’t have any money to join or start it and a Nigerian and there isn’t any race track in my country. Am really interested and want to begin my racing career and dream
Hey, Vikky! Great to hear from you all the way out in Nigeria. Hoping you figure out a way to make that dream possible!! Don’t give up!
Okafor Chinonso Destiny
Hello, good day,my name is Okafor Destiny. Please I really want to be part and a professional racer/driver. My most challenge is leaving my country cause no one cares about racing and such active is not regarded, please how can I achieve this dream of mine
I’m from Nigeria, please I need help
Hello, Okafor! That is certainly a tough position to be in. After a little research, I found there is a motor racing track in Nigeria that was built around 4 years ago: MotorSport Raceway, Evbuobanosa. I’d check them out and attend some race events, talk to some drivers, and see what they’ve done to get into racing in your country. It’s a start, at least! We’re wishing you the best of luck!
I want to become a race car driver but I don’t know how it works? Im only 14 but looks like 14 year olds can start Nascar.
Hey Jessy! Great to hear you want to become a race car driver. We recommend starting at a local kart track with rentable go karts, like K1 Speed. This way you can see how much you enjoy it and start to learn some basic skills before plunking down tons of money and getting serious. Most, if not all NASCAR drivers started in karts at a very young age. We wish you the best of luck!
Hello my name is Larry Sowers my grandson is interested in racing go karts and I would like to know if there is any k1 place in Columbus ohio area that we can go check out
Hi, Larry! Thanks so much for thinking of us! Currently, the closest K1 Speed is in Canton – a bit of a drive. However, we may be MUCH closer to you in the very near future… keep an eye out!