The First Go-Karts

When you take a ride on a go-kart course you are experiencing a type of family fun that has been around for decades. You may have never considered how and when go-karts were first created. The history of go-karts began back in the 1950s and has evolved into the exciting activity you know and love today.

What Is a Go-Kart?

Before you learn more about the history of the sport, it is helpful to know what constitutes a go-kart. Go-karts come in a variety of forms but in general, they are small, lightweight quadricycles that contain a two-stroke engine for power. Most varieties either have a skeleton frame or a lightweight, open frame exterior. The engine power depends on the purpose of the vehicle, and some designs have enough power to race motorcycles or fast cars. Recreational go-karts at commercial properties are usually set up to race around a miniature race track with rules and safety measures in place to make it an exciting past-time for the entire family.

When the First Go-Karts Created?

Although it may seem as though go-karts have been around as long as automobiles, the first one originated well after automobiles hit the road. In 1956 a Californian mechanic named Art Ingels helped build race cars for the Kurtis Craft Company to send to Indiana for racing. These types of race cars were not accessible to the everyday person, so Ingels thought up a plan to create a racing vehicle that could be enjoyed by anyone. His idea involved creating a small, four-wheeled vehicle that would be driven by one person but still be fun to race.

Inglels shared his idea with a friend named Lou Borelli, who was able to use his knowledge of engines to help design the first go-kart. Together, they combined Ingels’ skill for building vehicles and Borelli’s engine knowledge to create a prototype go-kart that contained all of the basic parts needed for a test run, including an engine that was usually used for lawnmowers. After initial unsuccessful test runs and design tweaks, the pair debuted their creation in the parking lots of the Rose Bowl and caught the attention of many spectators who were interested in learning more.

How Did Go-Kart Racing Become Popular?

That first go-kart was just the beginning of the phenomenon, which caught on quickly in racing circles. Although the duo created other versions that stemmed from their original design, other companies also got in on the game. Once Go Kart Manufacturing, Co. was established by Duffy Livingstone and Roy Desbrow in 1958 the industry was propelled into the future. The new designs from Livingstone and Desbrow included inexpensive motors that with a lot of power and could be manufactured to meet the new demand.

The interest in go-karting has only grown over time. Now, fans can experience both indoor and outdoor go-kart racing at a wide variety of venues. What started as an idea to make racing accessible to everyone has truly lived up to the potential.

Try Out Go-Kart Racing at Sonny’s Place!

If you have ever considered trying out go-kart racing, it’s never a bad time to get started. The outdoor go-kart track at Sonny’s Place in Somers, CT is fun for the whole family. You can choose to enjoy as a single-rider, or take a passenger along for the ride. Whether you are a karting novice or an old pro, drop in for a visit, call (860) 356-3518, or contact us online to get your go-karting fix.

Image Credit: Shutterstock/ 4Max