While they may seem incredibly similar, there is actually an enormous amount of differences between standard cars and go karts.
- Go karts have a lower center of gravity, which is closer to the driving surface. This means they are incredibly unlikely to roll over when going around a corner. However, cars are much easier to roll, because of their higher center of gravity.
- Compared to the size of go karts, their tires are pretty wide. This not only allows for more traction but also allows you to go round a corner much faster, without any over steering or under steering occurring. Over steering happens when the rear end suddenly slides during a tight corner. Understeering is exactly the same, but when the front end slides instead.
- Karts tend to have steering linkages; these have the power to lift up the kart when the wheel is turned, which is why it can be hard to steer around corners occasionally. This means that the steering returns to the centre much quicker, and therefore the center of gravity returns to its original position, returning you back to a straight line. Cars usually use power steering, which makes traversing round corners much easier. However, your center of mass will change much more gradually.
- Karts usually don’t have suspension and have little ground clearance. This makes them suitable for smooth surfaces and occasionally asphalt (speed humps will be a problem). Cars have suspension, and can drive off the road, and on almost any terrain, making them much more versatile.
- A typical go kart weights around 80kg without a rider, whereas a car tends to weigh a lot more than this, typically over a tonne (1000kg).
As you can see, they both may get you from point A to point B. However, they are extremely different!