Karting is a sport that has its roots in lawnmowers. Yes, some genius(es) in America decided to race their lawnmower engines attached to a self-built chassis in car-parks back in the 1950s. It literally grew into a competitive sport from there.
Karting made its jump to Europe near the end of that decade in Italy, Great Britain, and France after a sharp rise of coverage made its way into international news. Everyone wanted to race karts by the beginning of the 1960s. And so they did.
The FIA recognized karting's boom and ratified it through the establishment of the CIK in 1962 with 12 member countries. Karting had found a new home in Europe as numerous World Championships were held in the bloc. Over the decades, many great battles were fought and a good number of drivers made it to F1. Almost all great drivers, past and present, started in karting.
Today, karting has spread to every part of the world. With 30 members in CIK, it has become a true global sport that is deemed as a necessary first step to a career in racing. More and more developing countries are joining the scene as karting spreads to Asia and Middle East.
By definition, a go-kart is a 4-wheeled machine with a few fundamental elements which include a chassis, an engine with various gearing options, and protective panelling. These elements work together to provide a karter with the ultimate open-wheel driving experience. Numerous manufacturers exist to provide all the essential parts to 'go' karting. Some old, some new but players generally have industry-standard knowledge in manufacturing.
Karting has evolved into a global sport. The annual CIK-World Championships is a showcase of the greatest up and coming talents in motorsport. This is not discounting highly experienced karters who still make their way into the final top 10. Individual nations have their own national championships while regional championships are regularly organised in active karting zones. Asia is producing more and more competitive drivers who are able to fight it out with the best.
The sport is about teamwork. No driver can perform all tasks needed for a race weekend on their own; at the very least they would need someone to help lift the kart before and after a session. In well organised teams, engineers and mechanics play a vital role to the driver's success. Experience and ability to problem solve quickly make a mechanic a vital. invaluable member of the team.
Driving competitively needs high levels of hand-eye coordination, physical fitness, and quick reactions to execute a fast lap. Racing require cunningness, instinct, and supremely fast mental processing to win races. Drivers also have to be opportunistic and hopefully posses high levels of race-craft. In other words, kart drivers are athletes of the highest order.
Karting requires plenty of skill both in terms of driving and technical know-how. It is also a great character building sport. Karting teaches us about the ups and downs but more importantly how to overcome obstacles through hard-work and perseverance. Talented individuals may have a slight advantage but they too need to put in the effort. Nothing comes easy in this sport and children from a young age learn that very quickly when they go racing. Those who don't give up become champions.