Max Verstappen’s Go-Karting Career: From Backyard Rides To World Championships

Max Verstappen go kart racing

On the racetrack, Max Verstappen is known for his speed, accuracy, and talent. The Dutch Formula 1 driver has been wowing audiences around the world since his debut in 2015, and he has quickly become one of the most exciting drivers to watch in the sport.

Long before he was racing at speeds of over 200 mph in a Formula 1 car, Verstappen was honing his skills on the go-karting circuit.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the early days of Max Verstappen’s go-kart career, including when he started karting, his early interest in motorsports, his remarkable achievements on the track, and the impact of his success on his later career.

We’ll also explore the tracks where Verstappen competed and the importance of go-karting as a stepping stone to professional racing.

So buckle up and get ready to take a trip back in time to the early days of one of the sport’s most talented drivers.

When Did Max Verstappen Start Racing Go-Karts?

Max Verstappen started karting at the very young age of four. His father, Jos Verstappen, was a former Formula One driver and naturally, Max was introduced to the world of motorsports at an early age.

His father even built a go-kart for him to drive in their backyard.

At first, Max was simply having fun driving around the yard, but his father soon noticed his son’s talent and began taking him to nearby tracks to hone his skills. Max quickly began to show an exceptional talent for driving and it wasn’t long before he was competing in official races.

Starting so young gave Max an advantage over his competitors. It allowed him to develop his skills and gain valuable experience early on.

It also gave him the opportunity to get used to the high speeds, precision, and intense focus required for racing.

By the time he was six, Max was already competing at a national level, and by the time he was eight, he had won several national titles. He was already showing a level of skill that many drivers don’t achieve until much later in their careers.

How Good Was Max Verstappen At Karting?

Max Verstappen was undeniably exceptional at karting, even from a young age. He started racing go-karts at the age of just four, which is considered exceptionally early for the sport.

His early start gave him a significant advantage over other drivers, allowing him to develop his skills and gain valuable experience over the years.

Verstappen’s talent quickly became apparent as he began to dominate the karting circuit, both nationally and internationally.

In 2009, Verstappen won the Dutch Minimax Championship, which was a significant achievement for someone so young. He followed it up with a win in the Belgian KF5 Championship in 2010, before winning the European KF3 Championship in 2011 at the age of just 13.

The following year, Verstappen made history by becoming the youngest-ever winner of the World KZ Championship, which he won at the age of 15. This victory marked the beginning of a highly successful career for Verstappen, and it established him as a serious contender in the world of motorsports.

In addition to his many championship wins, Verstappen was also known for his speed and technical abilities on the track. He was able to quickly analyze and adapt to changing track conditions, and his driving style was characterized by aggression and fearlessness.

Overall, Max Verstappen’s impressive record in karting speaks for itself. His success in the sport provided him with a solid foundation for his later career in professional racing, and it helped to establish him as one of the most talented drivers of his generation.


Max Verstappen’s breakthrough moment in go-karting came in 2013 when he won the World KZ Championship at the age of 15.

This impressive victory made him the youngest driver ever to win a KZ championship, and it put him firmly on the radar of top-tier racing teams.

Verstappen’s success in go-karting also caught the attention of Red Bull’s motorsports advisor, Helmut Marko, who invited the young Dutch driver to join the Red Bull Junior Team. This was a significant achievement for Verstappen, as it offered him a clear path toward a career in Formula One.

With the backing of Red Bull, Verstappen continued to dominate in go-karting, winning multiple championships and setting numerous records.

In 2014, he became the youngest driver to win the European KF Championship, and in 2015, he won the European KZ Championship.

These victories established Verstappen as one of the most promising young drivers in motorsports, and they set the stage for his eventual move to Formula One. In 2015, at the age of just 17, Verstappen became the youngest driver in Formula One history when he made his debut with the Toro Rosso team.

2011KF3 Belgian ChampionshipWinner
2012KF2 WSK Euro Series3rd place
2012KF2 World CupWinner
2012CIK-FIA World KF2 ChampionshipRunner-up
2012CIK-FIA European KF2 ChampionshipWinner
2013CIK-FIA European KF2 Championship3rd place
2013CIK-FIA World KF2 ChampionshipRunner-up
2013WSK Masters Series KF2 ChampionshipRunner-up
2013WSK Euro Series KF2 ChampionshipWinner
2013KZ2 South Garda Winter CupWinner
2013KZ2 Trofeo MarguttiWinner
2013KZ2 CIK-FIA International Super CupWinner
2013KZ2 WSK Euro Series2nd place
2013KZ2 CIK-FIA European ChampionshipWinner
2014CIK-FIA World KZ ChampionshipWinner
2014CIK-FIA European KZ ChampionshipWinner
2014WSK Super Master Series KZ2 ChampionshipWinner
2014WSK Champions Cup KZ2 ChampionshipWinner
2014Rotax Max Challenge International TrophyWinner
2014KZ2 Trofeo MarguttiWinner
2014KZ2 CIK-FIA International Super CupWinner
2014KZ2 WSK Euro SeriesWinner
Note: This table includes only the most significant championships and series in which Max Verstappen competed. There may have been other smaller-scale races and events that are not listed here.

Where Did Max Verstappen Go Karting?

One of the most significant tracks for Verstappen during his karting career was the Genk circuit in Belgium. The Genk circuit is known for its fast straights and challenging corners, making it a perfect testing ground for up-and-coming drivers.

Verstappen also competed on other notable tracks throughout Europe, including the Karting des Fagnes in Belgium, the PFI Karting Circuit in the UK, and the Karting Kerpen in Germany.

In addition to these tracks, Verstappen also participated in several international karting championships. These included the World Karting Championships, the European Karting Championships, and the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals.

Final Thoughts

Max Verstappen’s early success in go-karting paved the way for his incredible career in Formula One.

Starting at such a young age allowed him to develop his skills and gain valuable experience early on, which he has continued to build on as he has risen through the ranks of motorsports.

Today, Verstappen is one of the most talented and exciting drivers in the world, and his fans eagerly await what the future holds for him.



Meet Charles, a passionate writer and avid go-kart enthusiast. With a background in motorsports, Charles brings a unique perspective to the world of go-karting and motorsports. When Charles is not behind the wheel, you can find him crafting compelling stories and informative articles on the latest trends and technology on the PK's Go-Karts blog here.