Honda Performance Development GXH50 Kid Karts racing at CalSpeed during an LAKC event in 2013

LAKC to Run Only Honda Kid Karts Powered by HPD GXH50 in 2014

On September 19, 2013 the Los Angeles Karting Championship announced on its website that it will not be offering the Comer Kid Kart Class in the 2014 season. According to the post by Greg Jackson, “Honda Performance Development is all set to supply your kart shop with sealed GX50 engines that are ready to go”. LAKC has embraced the move by Honda to support a low-cost developmental karting class by offering ten GXH50 engines for $599 on the first-come-first-served bases along with paid race entries in the 2013 season.

Skyforce Racing was recipient of one of these GXH50 engines. Team principal Adam Geczi believes that Honda’s entry into kid karting is what young drivers and the sport needed. According to Geczi, kart racing is built on the three pillars of chassis, engine and driver. “Removing the engine component from that equation with a reliable and consistent 4-stroke power plant allows for the development of the driver and fosters the art of chassis tuning”, Geczi said.

But not everyone seems rejoiced by these developments. Chuck Wagner was concerned that LAKC would alienate many families with the decision to kill off the Comer C-51 class. Wagner encouraged dissension from LAKC rather than switching to the Honda platform. LAKC president Chris Latorre defended the move and stated that “entry count for the new GX50 shows bigger growth with what seems to be a lot less expensive package to run”. Many agree with Latorre. Dave Hicks of Dave’s Motor Works whose son Cooper drives a Top Kart with a GXH50 engine applauded the move “as the only way to go”.  Hicks believes the new HPD GXH50 engines leveled the playing field where Cooper can now be competitive with his driving skills.

Geczi also agrees. His driver Skyler is now faster than the Comer drivers thanks to a huge improvement in his driving performance. “We spend less time tweaking the engines and more time coaching the drivers. HPD has given the sport a transfusion with the new Honda Kid Kart class and the result should be more and better drivers”, something the sport needed in order to strengthen in the next few years.

Honda Plans to Power the Smallest Form of Motorsports with GXH50

In 2013, Honda Racing Development introduced a new racing program for children ages 5 to 8 through the development and introduction of the Honda Kid Kart class. The official announcement from Honda came on October 2 in a news release posted on its website.

This program is built on the Honda GXH50 industrial engine and brings a much needed low-cost alternative to powering the sport. Honda’s involvement brings quality, reliability, support, and class specific rules that should help bolster the development of young drivers across the globe.

Factory sealed, the GXH50 engines sell for $829 at select kart shops. This price is only slightly lower than the alternative Comer C-51 package. However, the true cost savings are derived in the long-run. While a C-51 can be had for about $875, these stock engines are not likely to be competitive out of the box and blueprinted these engines cost around $1250. Even that may not make a driver competitive as some parents will buy up all the “fast motors” when they hit the market to keep their children competitive. It is not unheard of to spend as much as $15,000 in a season to race with a Comer kid kart when considering all engine rebuilds and replacement parts a competitive C-51 engine will need.

In sharp contrast, the Honda GXH50 is a highly reliable 4-stroke engine with well balanced performance characteristics. With a promised 200+ hours of engine life, a GXH50 should last through the several seasons. In addition, Honda Kid Kart class rules allow for any engine to be claimed in lieu of $1000. This removes the incentive to temper with the engines as a “fast engine” can be claimed at any time. In essence, any successful cheats might just make another competitor faster.

The GXH50 refocuses participants to develop skills as drivers and chassis tuners, a worthy notion in a developmental class such as kid karting. Anyone can make a kart go faster with more power, the real challenge is making the same engine go faster.