OTW Safety

How to Build a Go-Kart Race Track

Mid-Profile Barricades at the Chattanooga Green Prix, photo shows a driver in an electric go kart
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With our Go-Kart Barricade Sale already here, we’ve got the answer to what we’re sure you’ve all been wondering: how can I build a go-kart race track?

As the foundation of an event that can be an incredible fundraiser, part of a church summer kids’ jamboree, or a permanent or semi-permanent installation at your local raceway (great team-building exercise, anyone?), a go-kart track can be achieved with just a few, well thought out, steps. 

3 electric cars built by local kids, round the corner of the Chattanooga Green Prix track

What to look for when creating a safe and secure go-kart track

Common materials available for go-kart courses consist of concrete barricades, metal barricades and rails, and plastic barricades. Metal and concrete barriers have better use outside of the go-kart world, however, as they aren’t truly considered safe for such an application. Concrete is best used in heavier-duty locations such as construction sites with heavy machinery, while metal barricades and rails are fairly flimsy and can, unfortunately, reveal jagged edges over time. That leaves plastic as the safest option for anyone building a go-kart track! 

Impact resistance is key when it comes to creating a safe course: studies have shown that plastic, water-filled barricades are much better at lessening the severity of vehicle crashes, and go-karts, while smaller and more delicate than a true car, fit right into that category. Another essential element of go-kart track safety is visibility. In order to lend the best and most intuitive path for the drivers, the track should allow for overhead sightlines and be unmistakable as the course itself. Bright-colored guidance in the form of orange or white (or any custom color) barricades ensures that visibility is high and that there is no question as to which way the drivers should go! 

OTW’s barricades are perfect for all applications, whether indoor, outdoor, temporary, or permanent. Each plastic go-kart barricade is made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or low-density polyethylene (LDPE), ensuring incredible impact resistance (aiding in less vehicle damage), high visibility, and incomparable safety. Bonus benefits include easier installation, the ability to link together to form a continuous barrier, and more compact storage!

Go Kart racing at SEMA Las Vegas

Building your go-kart track from plastic barricades

Now, to the go-kart race track building steps!

Determine your go-kart track needs.

The basic requirements are simple enough: you’ll need a large area of land or lot (an approved church or business parking lot might be just the thing!), concrete or asphalt (if the ground isn’t already paved), and OTW’s go-to go-kart track barricades (more on those later). Add some DIY know-how and you’re ready to begin! Best practice before doing any physical work, however, is determining what you want your course to look like and how long it should be (and notating that on paper), as well as ordering necessary items such as barricades, flags, and other supplies. Once that is complete, you can prepare yourself for some manual labor!

Prepare the ground for the course.

Many professional courses are made of dirt because it is easier on the vehicles, but you have a few options when it comes to laying the groundwork for your go-kart course:

A dirt track needs to be level, so removing grass and topsoil, bulldozing, and leveling the ground ensures that your raceway is smooth and straight. Here, you might opt to lay a different kind of dirt (like southern red rock dirt, frequently used in baseball diamonds) in order to mark the track clearly from other spaces. Several layers will be necessary, and this type of track requires regular raking if you’ve decided to

If you’re pouring your own concrete or asphalt on an untouched area of ground, you can mark the dirt with string and plywood posts or pole markers and dig to create a mold about six inches deep. Add an inch of sand and pour the concrete or asphalt on top of that, and you will have your track well on its way to completion!

If you’ve been approved to use a local parking lot for your event (or own your own raceway), much of the work is likely already done (as far as preparing the ground goes)! A clean track is the safest, and ensuring that the future track is clear of debris and ready to be lined is the best place to begin… so start picking up large pieces of detritus that would obstruct the raceway! 

Next, trace your course! You might do this by using chalk or paint in order to mark where your outline (i.e. barricades) is supposed to go. Now, onto lining your track!

plastic barricades absorb impact

Line the go-kart route (where our go-kart barricades come in!)

This is where it gets good! For a tried-and-true go-kart track, we recommend our most popular plastic barricades. The 24” low-profile barricade (also known as a mid-profile barricade) is the go-to for most clients seeking to create their own course, and for a good reason! This sturdy fellow is tall enough for a secure track but remains easy to see over while in a go-kart vehicle. It’s also heavy enough (when ballasted, it tops 300 pounds!) to withstand any crashes, while the wider base creates incredible stability for any run-ins: when filled with water, the plastic barricade will have enough bounce back to minimize injury to vehicles and drivers alike. 

While we consider the 24” barricades to be our go-to for go-kart courses, many clients also like to use our 10” low-profile airport barricades! We frequently mention how versatile these are, and with good reason – they can be used for so many things beyond the airport. We love them for creating lanes in a good go-kart race track and as hazard markers, among many other things! 

Another option for creating a go-kart track is the 32” LCD jersey-shaped barricade! You can also add hazard lights, barricade flags, or barricade fence panels (compatible with the 32” LCD) for extra safety! 

Mark your route clearly.

Once your track is set up and ballasted, it’s time to mark the course! Add arrows indicating course direction, lane markings, and a start and finish line (add some flags for extra flair)!    

Create spectator viewing space for the races!

Your course is set, so it’s time to race! Spectators bring half the fun of a go-kart race, so make sure they have a safe space to cheer on their racer! Our plastic billboard barricades are the perfect addition (to your already awesome course) to delineate the spaces for audience and racers alike. 

Go Kart Barricades at the Chattanooga green prix

Go-kart races are fast-paced, creative fun for everyone!

We love seeing how creative the uses of our barricades can be! The Las Vegas Segway Ninebot Experience used our 32” LCD barricades as the foundation of their track in order to showcase their Ninebot Gokart and Dirt eBike – an enjoyable and entertaining way to preview their latest tech that year! The green|space Chattanooga Green Prix stuck with the classics and used our 24” low-profile barricades and 10” low-profile airport barricades as the perimeter and lane dividers of their track, respectively – their annual go-kart race is just one of green|spaces’ ways to help teach elementary, middle, and high-schoolers about green energy and working towards regional sustainability! We’re all about sustainability at OTW – the lifecycle of our products is incredibly important to us, so rest easy knowing that every barricade you purchase from us is 100% recyclable, environmentally friendly, and responsibly made. 

Want to see our barricades in action? Check out this video of the course at Richmond Raceway created from our 24” low-profile barricades! 

Our Go-Kart Barricade Sale is on NOW! Running until December 31st, you can save 10-15% (full pallet or truckload required) on your order of orange or white 24” low-profile barricades. Inventory is limited, but these are our best prices of the year, so rev your engines and race on over to request yours today