Video: BTCC Champ Shows Karts Aren’t Kiddy Toys

We’ve covered karting before, but it’s always amusing to see them as the showpieces in a battle between Jason Plato, BTCC wiz, and Tiff Needell, who needs no introduction. Perhaps playing the crusty old man, Tiff is predictably skeptical about the potential of something so small, so seemingly weak, and so underpowered. How thrilling can something with only forty horsepower be?

Keen to correct Grandpa Needell, Plato brought out two high-end examples of single-speed karts. The Kosmic chassis are bolted to a high-revving 125 cc TAG motor making around thirty-five horses, which might not sound like much until the it’s noted the kart only weighs roughly 200 pounds. They’ve got the power-to-weight ratio of something like an M3, but with much stickier tires.

Despite ten years of karting, Plato finds it difficult to keep the wily old Needell behind.

Despite ten years of karting, Plato finds it difficult to keep the wily old Needell behind.

Tiff is quickly silenced after one lap, just because he can hardly catch his breath. The KF1 kart has enough performance to knock the wind out of a relatively fit young man, let alone someone pushing sixty-five. Three-g corners are sure to bruise the ribs and turn an untrained neck and shoulders into a lifeless lump.

The two trade positions; darting each way just inches from their fenderless wheels, and pull off some spectacular braking moves. Tiff learns the format quickly, as you’d expect from a former Formula One driver, but at the end has to admit a racing kart is not a child’s toy; but a serious racing machine. Sounds like a ringing endorsement, don’t you think?

About the author

Tommy Parry

Tommy Parry has been racing and writing about racing cars for the past seven years. As an automotive enthusiast from a young age, he worked jobs revolving around cars throughout high school, and tried his hand on the race track on his 20th birthday. After winning his first outdoor kart race, Tommy began working as an apprentice mechanic to amateur racers in the Bay Area to sharpen his mechanical understanding. He has worked as a track day instructor and automotive writer since 2012, and continues to race karts, formula cars, sedans, and rally cars in the San Francisco region.
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