How Much Money Do Go-Kart Racers Make (Salary Breakdown)

Based on multiple sources, the typical annual earnings for a go-kart racer range from $75,000 to $130,000. However, this figure may fluctuate due to several factors elaborated upon below.
how much money do go kart racers make

Go-karting seems like all fun and no cash and many people assume that it’s difficult for go-karting to be your bread and butter or even an avenue to take care of your family and enjoy some level of luxury. 

How true is this assumption? 

Since the payment structure for go-kart racers is not fixed, some racers have to spend their own money at the early stages of their career to access some facilities for training. However, this is not the case with professional go-kart racers.

Having in-depth knowledge of how many go-karts racers make is essential to avoid frustration. You get to ascertain if it’s worth your time and energy before starting. Keep reading this article to discover if go-kart racing is worth your sweat. 

How Much Money Can You Make Racing Go-karts

Most go-kart racers start small by racing for small clubs. Initially, it might be tough because you have to pay to race in some clubs or not be properly rewarded. But tough times don’t last, as soon as racers get into international championships, they begin to earn more money.

International and national championships pay the fastest driver between 1,000- 20,000 dollars. But the downside is that only winners get a huge sum. If you come in second or third place, you might be rewarded with a lower price than the winner. This is the only reason most go-kart racers earn below 10,000 dollars yearly.

Compared to other racing sports like Indycar, NASCAR, and MotoGP, F1 go-kart riders are the highest-paid drivers. Although MotoGP is more dangerous compared to go-karting, their drivers don’t earn as much as F1 drivers in go-karting. Go-kart drivers are subdivided into F1, F2, F3, and F4. 

F1 drivers are the highest-paid drivers because they are professional go-kart racers. They earn well compared to most racing sports.

Even within the same go-karting racing, F4 drivers have to pay to participate in the championship. The remuneration benefits for go-kart drivers are not equal. It is largely dependent on the skill level of the go-kart driver.

Averagely, most professional go-kart riders earn between 1-40 million dollars. The highest-paid go-kart rider is Lewis Hamilton, estimated to be earning about 40 million dollars in a year.

It is important to note that his earnings are just an estimate, nobody apart from the athlete and his manager can tell specifically how much he earns. Other professional go-kart racers include Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz, Sergio Perez, and Sebastian Vettel.

Factors That Affect Professional Go-kart Racing Salary

go-kart racing Salaries

Race Winnings

It is important to note that professional go-kart racing is an expensive hobby. It is possible not to earn anything until the later years of your career. Most professional go-kart racers do not earn as much if they don’t win races because there is a wide price margin within the winner, the first and second position.  

It is almost impossible to come first in all races, leading to a reduction in total earnings. That is why most professional go-kart racers look beyond the racing to earn some money. The biggest go-kart championship is the Karting World Championship, which has been held yearly since 1964.

Sponsorship Deals

This is one major way that professional go-karters earn a lot from go-karting. A go-kart sponsorship is when a firm is either multinational or local. They offer go-kart riders money for advertising their business using their go-karts.

One of the best ways to secure sponsorship is to win races. It’s not as easy as it sounds, but denying that everyone wants to associate with a successful person is difficult. So, if your goal is to secure a sponsorship, focus on winning as many races as possible, and firms will take recognition of you.


There is a thin line between sponsorship and endorsements. For endorsements, athletes regularly talk about a product and encourage others to use it, too; they are rewarded in return for recommending the product. On the other hand, a sponsorship is like a partnership. There is no relationship between the athlete and the product. 


Go-kart merchandise is the new backbone of sports advertisement which includes go-karting. It gets fans involved by allowing them to rock the jerseys of their favorite clubs. Sponsors invest a lot of their money in making jerseys, but they are confident they will get their money back.

Go-kart riders with a huge fan base have fans that are willing to rock these jerseys. This form of advertisement will end up attracting sponsorship deals for the athlete.  

Team earnings have little or no effect on individual earnings. This is because most of the earnings from the racing are used to take care of the entire team. But most individual earnings are from sponsorships and investments. Firms rarely sponsor clubs; sponsoring a well-known athlete is more cost-effective than the entire club.

How to Maximize Your Earnings in Go-kart Racing

go-kart earnings

Focus on Winning and Consistency 

The importance of winning your race as a go-kart racer cannot be overemphasized. It is important to develop a winning attitude and also be able to sustain it. It is not enough to win once or twice; you must be dedicated to remaining a consistent winner.

The perk of being a consistent winner is that it gives visibility. It increases the chances of being known which positions racers for sponsorships, endorsements, and merchandise. Be a winner and remain a winner; this increases the earning power of go-kart racers.

One of the major strategies required to become a winner is training the body and mind. Pay serious attention to being the best at what you do; once the body is ready, the mind must also cooperate before success can be attained. 

Also Read: How to improve your go-karting skills

Build a Strong Reputation and Brand

Most go-kart racing teams leverage branding and other sports marketing techniques to become well-known to viewers. Branding ranges from Jersey designs to logos and team colors.

The branding team should handle everything that pertains to branding. The team’s branding speaks volumes because it serves as the team’s identity to fans and sponsors, and it is important to have a strong image.

A major defining step for every go-kart racer is to create a personal brand independent of the team’s own. This makes athletes stand out from everyone on the team; the goal is not to outshine other team members but to be distinct. This can be done by leveraging social media and other marketing strategies.

Final Thoughts 

It is impossible to deny that starting as a go-kart racer can be challenging because of the costs. As a newbie, you have to self-fund for many years until you can get into national or international championships.

The good thing is that it gets better as you move up the ladder, professional go-kart racing can be a highly rewarding career that opens you up to many mind-blowing opportunities.



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.