Over the winter months, with karting equipment tucked away, passionate Briggs and Stratton karters will begin to think how they can be faster in the upcoming season. With multiple sources of information, there is no shortage of tips and tricks. However, with so many suggestions comes uncertainty and sometimes skewed opinions. There is one thing you can do though that will guarantee improvement, and that is to buy a fresh engine. With the Briggs 206 engines being so affordable it is truly the best way to ensure consistent performance throughout your race weekends.
Before you make this decision, however, it is important that you have a transparent conversation with yourself, family, or team about your expectations of karting. From there, you then need to apply a realistic budget to reflect that goal. Stick to that budget throughout the season and that will keep it fun for you.
Plain and simple: racing costs money and to put yourself in a position to win, that will cost more money. The reason the “fast” people are consistently fast, is because they have more seat time, which is the result of more money being spent. Whether their own money or a sponsors.
If you are in a position to spend the money and want to win, then read on. Getting a new engine is a way to ensure a consistent performance baseline. We ask a lot of these small engines and they need to be refreshed. Cylinder scoring, small wear that can throw off balance…it’s the stuff you can’t see that will hinder performance. It may be minor, but it creates an unknown element that you could ultimately be battling against for the entire season. This could lead you to buy new parts that you did not need in the first place.
High-level motorsport requires fresh engines, just like you change your brake rotors, pads, chain, etc. Moto GP, Formula One, NASCAR, any high-level racing; they all function under the same principle of new being better. This is because pro teams know that this creates consistency. From there you don’t have to worry about a rod snapping from repeat abuse, etc. All metal can only withstand so much fatigue before it starts to alter its state, losing peak performance. This is the same for your chassis, although very minor changes – this is the difference between consistently running at the front and not.
In karting, we have the luxury of being THE most affordable form of motorsport.
Nowhere else can you get a brand new race-ready engine sub $1000. That is the beauty of the Briggs race series, it is making the racing world affordable for those who want to get involved. The costs may vary from time to time, however, the principle is always the same in motorsport: it costs money to go fast. The good news is that Briggs is making it extremely affordable for race enthusiasts to be competitive.
For some, this mindset may seem outrageous and that’s okay! Racing could be a new sport for you and what is considered “average” spending is totally new. When I first started in karting my family bought two engines over four years and I thought we were absolute pros. At the end of my career and while racing fully supported, I had multiple engines per weekend to select from.
Bottom line is that if you want to have the best opportunity at winning each weekend, newer hardware will help that. Although the engines are produced equally, fatigue will set in over time. All things considered, the cost of a new engine is relatively small if you break down your racing into a cost per hour format. No other form of racing gives you so much track time at such little cost.
If you decide that this year is not the year for a new engine that’s completely okay. My suggestion would then be to put more funds into coaching and test days, rather than spending money on that fancy new part the entire pit is buying. The most important component is the person that fits in the seat.
Overall, racing is a very expensive sport; however, making smart decisions, based on your budget, is the best way to make it enjoyable. A new engine will ultimately make you consistently faster at a reasonable price. All things considered, karting is extremely affordable in the racing world, because of companies like Briggs & Stratton who are making the sport more widely accessible and competitive.