Well, as good a thread as any to express these opinions…
To put my take in perspective, realize I started kart racing in 1975.
Without exception, it’s my opinion that 3 things have taken karting to where it is today:
1) Sticky tires
3) Attempting to make it (or call it) a “stepping stone to big-time racing”
All three of the above have made karting more complicated, more expensive, reduced track time, turned it into a bash-fest, and generally put it out of reach to the “average guy” wanting to go racing.
I was *heavily* involved in the sport during the time when the above 3 items happened or became prominent, and they took karting so far away from its original intent, it’s really sad.
Sticky tires not only increased tire costs by 10x per season, they also dramatically decreased the *effective* width of the track, and significantly reduced length of any braking zone (greater traction for braking, and higher corner speeds). End result? — more expense, and less close racing.
Bodywork added labor, cost and complexity to building/preparing a kart, and turned sprint karts into bumper cars (and enduro karts into heavier karts that went faster on the straights but were way less fun to drive).
And finally, attempting to turn karting into something it’s not (a “stepping stone” to whatever) did one thing: Add Cost. The people with exceptional talent will make it to big-time racing if they work at it hard enough, with or without karting being a “stepping stone”. Also, heavy promotion costs money, high-profile costs money, advertising costs money, and karting never was or will be a spectator sport — who pays these costs? (it only takes 1 guess). “Selling” karting as a “shortcut” to big-car racing does absolutely nothing for 99% of the people at the event (except empty their wallet).
I lived and raced through the changes in our sport, and saw what the results were. My view is not only from the inside (karting), but I was also involved in motorcycle racing (and car racing as a mechanic) at a variety of levels.