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How to Get Into Racing When You’re Not Rich

a driver races a go kart at k1 speed

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.

k1 speed couple racing

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 license is only $7.95 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.

Try Arrive & Drive!
two kids racing go karts

2. Want To Get Your Kid Into Racing? Try Our Junior Challenge GP Kart League

Are you wondering how to get your kid into kart racing? If your child has tried Arrive & Drive racing in the junior karts and looks promising, enter them in our Junior Challenge GP kart racing league! Our track welcomes new racers and will be very helpful in getting your child involved.


Our Junior Challenge GP 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.


Racecraft includes:


  • 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 Challenge GP. As you’ve already learned, that’s not a bad price to pay at all.


Additionally, if your kid finishes in the top 3 at the end of the season at their local center, they’ll qualify for the K1 Speed State Championship, part of our grand e-World Championship!


More information about our Junior Challenge GP can be found by clicking the button below.

Junior Challenge GP Info
teenagers racing go karts

3. How To Get Into Racing as a Teen: K1 Speed’s Teen Challenge GP

If you’re a teen who wants to get into racing, then K1 Speed’s Teen Challenge GP racing league is perfect for you. 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 Challenge GP runs the same as our Junior Challenge GP. 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 on 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 Challenge GP is also only $44.95 each round and there’s no obligation to compete in 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.


And like our Junior Challenge GP, those who finish in the top 3 standings in their local center at the end of the season are invited to the State Championship, part of our e-World Championship!


More information about our Teen Challenge GP can be found by clicking the button below.

Teen Challenge GP Info
two adults go kart racing

4. It’s Never Too Late to Start: Challenge GP for Adults

Now, our Adult 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 Adult 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 Adult Challenge GP is just $59.95 and includes two qualifying sessions and a final race for position.


Additionally, if you finish in the top 3 at the end of the year in your center, then you’ll qualify for the State Championship, part of K1 Speed’s illustrious e-World Championship!


More information about our Adult Challenge GP can be found by clicking the button below.

Adult Challenge GP Info
photos of McKenzy Cresswell standing on the podium at k1 speed and at brands hatch in a British f4 race

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.



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.


Read More: The 12 Best Racing-Related Songs of All Time >>

  • Regginald cole

    Hi I’m 16and I would truly like to start racing as my career,how do I start with no money?

    • Staff Writer

      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.

  • Kaidyn Wasson

    I want to try that it looks pretty

  • Javier Almeida

    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!

    • Staff Writer

      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)!

  • Ransilu Ranaweera

    I just wanna race but ive no money…

    • Staff Writer

      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!

  • Augustine Asuquo

    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.

    • Staff Writer

      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!

  • kayla jae

    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

    • Staff Writer

      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!

  • Hugo Montoya

    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

    • Staff Writer

      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.

  • Kai Takahashi

    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.

    • Staff Writer

      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?

    • Staff Writer

      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!

  • Aadith Annadurai

    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?

    • Staff Writer

      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!

  • Dawson Williams

    Y’all just made a 14 year Texas boy dream come true.

    • Staff Writer

      We’re happy to hear, Dawson! See you at the track!

  • Dawson Williams

    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

    • Staff Writer

      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!

  • Dawson Williams

    Do y’all also teach NASCAR

  • Priscilla Flores

    What would you recommend for an Autistic 6 year old he loves NASCAR. We got him a drift cart and man he loves ? it.

    • Staff Writer

      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!

  • Troy capps

    Hi I’m 13 and would like to start racing but i have no money

    • Staff Writer

      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.

  • Mario Taranto

    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.

    • Staff Writer

      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!

  • Vikky winner

    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

    • Staff Writer

      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

    • Staff Writer

      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!

  • Jessy Martel

    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.

    • Staff Writer

      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!

  • Larry sowers

    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

    • Staff Writer

      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!

  • Kenneth Micheal Gardner jr

    I was wondering if the environment is less.. uncoordinated then fast lane I recently went to fast lane to race there and other then my time on the track they were unclear on where and when to be places it was a mess all around and at the end of the day the final race was just called off without any warning. I really enjoyed racing but everything else was lacking.

    • Staff Writer

      Hey, Kenneth! That sounds terrible at that place. It’s much more organized at K1 Speed! Hope we’ll see you for the next round.

  • Lexi Duzan

    I’m 14 years old and I want to join competitive racing as a possible career, do you have to know all the rules about racing on a track before joining one of the races or championships?

    • Staff Writer

      Hi, Lexi! That’s great that you want to join the world of competitive racing! You do need to know the rules, but thankfully, before your first race at K1 Speed, we’ll go over all that with you prior to you heading out on the track. We definitely recommend trying some Arrive & Drive races first to learn the rules, understand how the kart performs, and once you feel ready, move up to our Teen Challenge GP league. Best of luck!

  • Maya Constantin

    I’m almost 16 years old and I’ve been watching F1 since I was very little. I had done a few karting laps before and I really wanna try to get into competitive racing as soon as possible. Also, after the GP challenge, where would you go to continue racing? Would it be F1 academy or something else?

    • Staff Writer

      Hi, Maya! The next logical step after indoor kart racing is outdoor kart racing, which is why the top drivers from Challenge GP in the teen and adult divisions compete at our outdoor track for the national and world championships. So you may want to start looking at outdoor karting opportunities near you if you want to continue to seriously pursue racing. And since you’re 16, you may want to even look at some car-related racing if you’ve got your driver’s license, starting with autocross. We wish you the best of luck!

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