I think everyone can agree on the general problem: we need more people racing go karts. Where people will start to disagree, is how do we make that happen?
I think licensing, scholarships, etc all have merit but I think you are putting the kart before the horse. I don’t think those are the issues currently keeping people out.
When a suburb family is at the dinner table deciding if they want to try kart racing, they aren’t doing so with the mindset that they want to dominate at the nationals by next season, or drive for a factory team in two years. They just want to have fun! So the easy solutions should be – set up an affordable base level program that allows them to have fun.
Our Ignite series at the Gateway Kartplex is a spec series, targeted at new racers. Everyone runs the same chassis (same adjustability as any modern kart), a sealed LO206 and Bridgestone YDS (hard) tires. The average cost per weekend is roughly $60 which includes entry, you’ll only need two new sets of tires per year and the package itself is incredibly low maintenance. That is what I think of when I think of “Grass Roots”. People just want to have close, fair racing and this package gives the opportunity to do that. The low horsepower/hard tire combination creates a wider skill gap (not a wallet gap) that will help drivers hone their skills and be better prepared, should they decide to move on to a higher end of karting in the future.
Take that program, transplant it into other clubs and I think you will start to see the numbers grow.