We don’t race KZ or KF here in the USA. KZ has one race per year here and that’s at the SKUSA SuperNationals which is mostly to draw European drivers over.
In Europe, the single-gear classes have been considered the “premier class” for the most part because it’s a more “pure” form of karting, however, with the failure of the KF rules package, most of the manufacturers switched their focus to KZ so now one would argue that class has the top-level pilots.
But like I said, it’s all irrelevant since we don’t race those classes here. The highest competition you’ll find here are in the national TaG and Rotax classes in my opinion. Stock Moto (our shifter engine) typically gets a smaller turnout for kart count but it’s all regionally dependent.
Anyway, I wouldn’t recommend to any newbie to jump into a shifter right off the bat, regardless of your racing background. Karts, especially shifters, can be especially brutal to handle properly and jumping in too early can not only beat you up and potentially hurt you, but others as well. Not to mention you’re likely to develop a lot of bad driving habits with all that power and no understanding of the finer points of driving a kart. I don’t say this to put you down, but just from years of experience of seeing brand new karters come out on a practice day with their new shifter kart and being an absolute menace on-track to the rest of the drivers, simply because of inexperience.
My recommendation to all newbies is to start in a single-speed class, at least for your first year. If you have racing/mechanical background, you maybe will have an easier time adapting to the learning curve, and you can always move up to shifter once you’re comfortable. I think I speak for all experienced karters when I say this; we are only expressing our concern because we don’t want you to jump in head first, spend lots of money, and get frustrated when the shifter is a little too much to handle. We’ve all seen tons of people come into the sport with the exact same notion; running shifter immediately, only to see them spend less than a year struggling with driving the thing and then selling it and never coming back. If you start lower on the ladder, it’s easy to move up, and you’re less likely to get fed up with it right away. Keep in mind that driving is shifter is basically like driving a tiny IndyCar. Everything happens so fast. Not often do you find a guy who is capable of jumping into an IndyCar with no experience.
Just some thoughts. Good luck!
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