The UK is a great place for kart-racing nuts. Despite our modest size compared to other countries, we are spoilt for choice for fun circuits to drive.
Globally the UK is known for its tight, technical and twisty circuits which take skill to master. In my 10+ years of karting, I’ve been lucky enough to race on almost all the circuits in the UK. These are some of my favourites, and here's why you should get behind the wheel and test them out.
In the picturesque hills of North Wales lies the region’s ‘biggest and most thrilling outdoor racing circuit’, which is possibly one of the best tracks in the UK, if not the world. GYG is characterised by its combo of fast, flowing corners, a tricky final sector and massive elevation change over the lap.
The standout features of GYG are the long uphill Dragon Straight followed by the ultra-fast turn two, this compression complex consisting of three ever-tightening right-hand corners. Finally, there’s the Devil’s Elbow in the last sector where the track drops away dramatically. This 1,100m circuit is a must-drive for any enthusiast.
Find it: Cerrig Y Drudion, Corwen, Conwy, LL21 0RU
Paul Fletcher International (PFi), Lincolnshire
Paul Fletcher International is the pinnacle of the British karting scene; a baby F1 circuit is how I would describe it. Everything about this circuit screams professionalism, from its perfect-radius corners, to the immaculate pit building which hovers over the dummy grid, to the vast expanse of tarmac which makes up the paddock. The track also doubles back on itself in sector one with a bridge – very Suzuka-esque.
PFi is home to the Trent Valley Kart Club and hosts their events every month. The circuit will also be hosting Event 11 – Rotax | Honda of the British Kart Championship from 13-15 October 2023.
Find it: PF International Kart Circuit, Stragglethorpe Lane, Brandon, Grantham, Lincolnshire, NG32 2AY
Buckmore Park, Kent
Buckmore Park is one of the most technical circuits on the block. An action-packed lap leaves you without any time to catch your breath.
After the late John Surtees took ownership of Buckmore Park in 2015, the circuit has undergone a major facelift. Still retaining the same awesome layout, Buckmore Park is sharper than ever before.
It has one of the best sequences of corners in karting; racing flat-out through the Esses, you then plunge quickly down the hill through Symes Sweep and into the difficult left-hander of Pullmans, rapidly followed by the critical Paddock corner. This right-left-right section is difficult to achieve, but its elevation change and high speed is very rewarding.
Find it: Buckmore Park Kart Circuit, Maidstone Road, Chatham, ME5 9QG
A great track with great history, Shenington has been in use since 1960 and holds a range of test days and events across the year.
It may be one of, if not the only, circuits in the UK where overtaking is possible at every corner. However, the main sections of the track best for overtaking are the Stratford hairpin and Wilkins.
Find it: Shenington Kart Racing Circuit, Shenington Airfield, Shenington, Banbury, OX15 6NW
Whilton Mill, Northamptonshire
Located near Daventry, Whilton Mill is one of the most physically demanding circuits, with its fast corners, big kerbs and bumpy surfaces, which make mastering one lap feel like you’ve tamed a bucking bronco.
Whilton is a circuit that requires full commitment and total faith in the kart. Turn One – the appropriately-named ‘Oblivion’ – is a flat-out downhill left-hander over a kerb followed swiftly by a fast right to set you up for long straight before Turn Three. Turn Four, or Inkermans, is a very fast, bumpy corner that has bruised its fair share of ribs over the years; remember those rib protectors when you race at Whilton Mill.
Whilton Mill is known for hosting a range of events, including FastR’s WMKC 2023 Championship and Motormouth’s Celebrity Charity Kart Race.
Find it: Whilton Mill Ltd, Whilton Locks, Whilton, Daventry, NN11 2NH
Clay Pigeon, Dorset
Clay Pigeon, situated in the south of England in Dorset, is a staple track on the UK karting scene. The track has remained largely unchanged for over two decades, so you’ll be racing on the same layout as some of Britain’s motorsport heroes, like Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton.
With a mixture of cambered corners and its flowing nature, Clay Pigeon is highly rewarding drivers. The hairpin is the circuit’s prime spot for overtaking and, uniquely, the start and finish line are in different places on-track.
Find it: Wardon Hill, Dorchester, DT2 9PW
Rowrah is widely loved in the UK. Its technical hairpins and frequently inclement weather means every day is different on-track in the old Cumbrian quarry.
Kerb-hopping and late braking are the keys to success here and you’d better have half an eye open on your opponents as they could overtake you at almost every corner. Despite its distance from most other circuits in the UK, the journey is worth it.
Find it: Cumbria Kart Racing Club, Kirkland, Frizington, Cumbria, CA26 3XU
Karting North East, Tyne & Wear
Located in Sunderland, between Newcastle and Durham, the 1,200 metre circuit at Karting North East gives racers the chance to race on both a fast and technical outdoor track.
The main circuit was introduced in 1996 with twists and turns from start to finish. It’s your choice whether you take turn one on the brakes or flat out before embarking on a journey through tight corners, short and long straights. The circuit is holding the KNE Sprint Championship throughout 2023.
Find it: Karting North East, Warden Law Motorsports Centre, Sunderland, Tyne & Wear, SR3 2PR