Saturday, October 30, 2010

Swissauto 40Hp Kart: It doesn’t get any purer than this

Supercars are nice, no doubt about it, but few people can really afford them. The price is high, upkeep is high, taxes are high and any mistake, even one that ends in a mild fender-bender is still going to cost you an arm and a leg. A bit too much then, for some weekend fun.

Fortunately, there is a cheaper alternative and, might I add, at least as fun as owning a supercar. A kart. This is driving at its purest form and if you ever saw a kart race with Ayrton Senna or Michael Schumacher in it you'll know what I'm talking about.

True, those karts can cost as much as €100,000 (US $138,950), but a Swissauto 250 engine and matching chassis are about €4,000-5,000 (~6,000-7,000 US dollars). I think that's a fair price for something that can reach 62 mph (100 km/h) from a standstill in about 3,5-4 seconds!

Yep, the one-cylinder 250cc engine is quite a gutsy little beast, capable (depending on the carburetor diameter) of 35/40 hp (26/29 kW) at 10,000 rpm. The torque is also delivered high-up in the rev-range: 28 Nm (20.6 lb-ft) at 8,000 rpm.

Driving this thing is quite an experience. The bucket seat squeezes you like a boa constrictor and you're sitting at an inch from the tarmac. There's no suspension, not in the classic sense, anyway, so you feel every bump on the track, even the hairline cracks.

That would be the downside. The upside of this setup is that the kart will communicate with you unlike any car you've ever driven. Steering is razor-sharp, so, if you're smooth enough, you can hit any apex with extreme precision.

On the other hand, if you're jumpy, you'll end up all over the place. You just can't floor the accelerator. The kart will instantly do a 180 turn and bite you in the behinds.

You have to be extremely progressive with applying the throttle or the brakes. Only then can you wring out its enormous potential, which, believe me, is jaw dropping. And you can still have some money in the bank. Hey, this is better than (paid) love...

By Csaba Daradics

Link: Swissauto