Electric vs petrol karting

I’ve been fortunate enough to have tried out two karting places of different types of engines. Petrol and electric.

With electric karts, the power felt instant and the engines fairly quiet and produces a whizzing kind of sound (think RC cars). Whilst the acceleration is top rate, at top speed the kart didn’t feel… fast. I think the place advertised the karts could reach 40mph but it felt slower than that. Although these karts reached top speed quickly, there was no oohmpf in it. It was pretty bland.

Whereas the petrol equivalent was something more familiar to me. You can hear the engine working, you feel the heat. Most importantly, the sense of speed was greater on the petrol engines, it felt like they were faster – they advertise these karts can reach 45mph. When I could put the pedal to the floor, it was scary on the petrol. Whereas in the electric karts I thought “can’t it go faster”?

However, all this could be down to the actual venues I attended. The e-track (electric kart venue for short) was shiny and very slippery. They broke down the session into three parts – a practice run, qualifier and then the race. The practice run was so that you’d get a feel for the kart you’re driving which I thought was a very good idea. Except I later found out that you wouldn’t necessary be driving the same vehicle. I drove 4 different karts (yes, 4 – due to some error on their behalf, we got extra part before the race but the switching of karts is normal) with 4 different handling and feel. So this pretty much negates what I learnt from the previous experiences. This was especially annoying when there wasn’t a single lap where there wasn’t a yellow flag (meaning going at snails pace). Although this was due to the skill of the other drivers. The pedals also felt awkward because I couldn’t hear my engine, I didn’t know how much acceleration I was getting because all the karts felt so different, so it was all dependant on guessing.

For the p-track (petrol engine kart track), the floor was a combination of concrete and tiles. The track is supposedly the longest in the UK (it was LONG). It wasn’t slippery, the car accelerated well, handled well and it felt fast (I mean really, really fast). It felt like what motorsport racing is like. The p-track consisted of two parts, practice/qualifier and then the race. The practice was the qualifier. This felt like it went on forever and definitely enough time to get used to the handling of my kart. In fact, we went straight into the race. So what was already fresh in my head, I could use. There was no waiting around. So maybe the better experience is making me a bit bias towards which type of engine is better, but I did have more fun with the petrol version.

I’d recommend driving with contacts in if you need them. In both venues, there is a part of the track where there’s a drop and it’s pretty big impact on one of them so if you have glasses in, it might move making your vision blur a little longer.