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Sunday, 08 April 2018 23:57

Analysis: Go-karting to race fitness


With limitations on testing, Supercars drivers are increasingly going back to their go-karting roots to keep race fit, as we analyse in issue #103.

Issue #103 is on sale now in stores with the digital edition available in the official V8X app (in the App Store and Google Play), online at DigitalEdition.V8XMagazine.com.au and in the Magzter app store.

CLICK HERE for more information on issue #103.

It’s almost impossible to name a driver on the current Virgin Australia Supercars Championship grid who didn’t begin their motorsport careers in go-karting.

Take, for example, the 2010 Supercars champion James Courtney, who excelled in karting in his formative years.

He won two world titles in 1995 and 1997 and remains the only Australian to clinch a World Karting Championship, a feat which earned him a place in the CAMS Australian Motor Sport Hall of Fame for his go- karting achievements rather than his Supercars title.

“Karting is the foundation for all motor racing,” says Courtney.

“I look back on my karting days very fondly, which is why I’m still involved through my JC Kart brand.”

Other Supercars champions such as Jamie Whincup and Mark Winterbottom were also developing their race-craft in karting in the 1990s, by which time go-karting became an almost perquisite for drivers looking to progress to the likes of Formula Ford.

“The set-up, driving skills and mental aspect all transfer through to what we do today,” says Winterbottom.

Today’s passionate advocate for go-karting is Nick Percat. The South Australian Brad Jones Racing driver began karting at seven years of age, paving the way for a career that includes
a Formula Ford championship win and victories in the Bathurst 1000 and Adelaide 500.

But rather than moving on from go-karting, Percat competed in the elite KZ2 class for the CRG Australia in the Australian Kart Championship over the course of 2017.

“I love how pure the racing is; it comes down to how well you can steer and set it up,” says Percat.

“It’s extremely important to learn your craft. Obviously you also need to be very competitive... karting is a great tool to learn the basics.

“Testing is so limited in Supercars you’ve got to make sure you stay on top of your game and for me there is no better training than racing.”

Team boss Brad Jones saw the benefit of go-karting to his driver’s development, so gave Percat his blessing to race in the Australian Kart Championship away from Supercars.

“At the end of the day we’re all racers, if it’s got wheels we’ll race it and deep down Brad is one of the purest racers you’ll ever meet,” says Percat.

“He can really see the benefit of karting and I thank him for allowing me to be able to race and do what I love doing.

“Racing a KZ2 gearbox kart is more physical than driving a Supercar. You’re doing some- thing between 25 and 35 gear changes per 40 second lap, with karts right in front and behind you – it’s intense.

“Anything that can keep you sharp in between rounds is a real bonus in the long run.”

New-generation Supercars drivers such as Scott McLaughlin, James Golding, Todd Hazelwood and more are also regular go-karters.

CLICK HERE to purchase issue #103.


Event Date
Superloop Adelaide 500 February 20-23
Melbourne 400 March 12-15
BP Ultimate Sydney SuperSprint June 27-28
Truck Assist Sydney SuperSprint July 18-19
BetEasy Darwin Triple Crown August 15-16
CoreStaff Darwin SuperSprint August 22-23
NTI Townsville SuperSprint August 29-30
Townsville SuperSprint September 5-6
The Bend Motorsport Park September 19-20
The Bend Motorsport Park September 26-27
Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 October 15-18



1. Scott McLaughlin
2. Jamie Whincup
1847 -215
3. Cameron Waters
1577 -485
4. Shane van Gisbergen
1555 -507
5. Chaz Mostert
1524 -538
6. Fabian Coulthard 
1444 -618
7. Nick Percat
1425 -637
8. David Reynolds
1298 -764
9. Lee Holdsworth
1261 -801
10. Scott Pye
1258 -804

Full championship standings