Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Soil type for dirt track, (addressed mainly to denco-ga) ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Soil type for dirt track, (addressed mainly to denco-ga)
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: sashap-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 16 Feb 2004 02:07 PST
Expires: 17 Mar 2004 02:07 PST
Question ID: 307250
Dear denco-ga
Which soil type- soil mixture is best to use for building an outdoor
go-kart dirt track? I know it is some sort of clay but i need more
information, such as specific type of clay and/or specific soil
characteristics. etc. Also any important application techniques would
be of interest to me.
Please include relevant links.
Please reply as soon as posssible. I will be very generous with the tip.
Subject: Re: Soil type for dirt track, (addressed mainly to denco-ga)
Answered By: denco-ga on 16 Feb 2004 14:42 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Howdy sashap-ga!

Apologies on the delay on this Answer, but I wanted you to get
the best advice possible on what is no doubt a big undertaking
on your part.

For a permanent track, you are looking at either asphalt, which
appears to be the surface used by most go-kart tracks, or using
concrete.  Asphalt is cheaper to use, but my first link argues
strongly for concrete, suggesting that the cooler temperatures
saves you money in the long run, mostly in tire costs.

The Formula K Raceways, Inc. website has a wealth of information
for you on go-kart race track construction.

"We are here to help in every aspect of the Go-Kart Industry"

Their FAQ contains some details on asphalt versus concrete used
for the construction of a go-kart race track.

"Is concrete or asphalt better to use ...

We recommend a concrete track because it lasts longer and will
not break up in the turns. Concrete is white instead of black,
therefore, about forty degrees cooler in the sun, which
dramatically affects tire wear and is more comfortable for the
employees running the track.
1. The Asphalt must be laid in two pulls, a two inch base coat
and at least one inch of fine top coat.
3. The track must have at least six inch gravel base for the
paving machine to pave over, and the track must be sealed with
an asphalt sealer ...
Additional Considerations:

1. A black surface is forty degrees hotter than a white surface
and tire wear is adversely affected by heat. Tires are seventy
percent of the maintenance cost.
What are your concrete specifications?

Five and one half to six bags-limestone-air entrained with fiber
mesh. Crushed stone can be used but it is not as good as limestone."

You should read their FAQ in detail as it contains many more
details that will help you, such as cost estimates, etc.

The Moran Raceway is a "true modern go-kart track that incorporates
many, many, unique characteristics and classic features" and is done
in asphalt.

"Moran Raceway is over a mile long and is constructed of an asphalt
surface at 29 feet wide. The asphalt has been laid down over a very
dense layer of the highest quality rock base and highly compacted

You can view and print the track layout here, in PDF format.

You will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the PDF
document(s) referenced above.  If you do not have it, you
can download it from the Adobe website.

Novapoint, a design module provider, describes "one of the best
gokart tracks in Northern Europe." and it gives their asphalt
composition in detail.

"Due to weather conditions with both high rainfall and frost/thaw
conditions in the winter the road pavement was designed with a
base of 50cm gravel topped with 13 cm bitumen layer and a 6cm base
course asphalt. A wearing course will be applied at a later stage.

Roskilde Racing Center has now started its 2nd season. Used by the
16000 people in its first year and is also used by companies for
promotions and team building. In addition 5 professional races
with approximated 150 drivers have been held. The feedback from
the go-kart experts has been very positive and have described
Roskilde as one of the best gokart tracks in Northern Europe. Yet
another successful NovaPOINT project."

The Buyer's Inspection Service (B.I.S.) has information on the
maintenance of asphalt, specifically for driveways, but the
advice in general is good.

"Regular annual maintenance is recommended to prolong the life of
an asphalt driveway.

Weeds should be killed using weed killer and removed. The edge of
the driveway should be scraped back from the driveway, and crack
sealant used on any deteriorating areas.

Oil must be removed using degreaser, do not use a degreaser that
contains petroleum distillates, this type of degreaser will erode
the surface you are trying to protect. Use a stiff brush to work
the degreaser into the stain, rinse off with water.

Cracks in the surface should be filled using asphalt crack filler.
Pay particular attention to the edges of the driveway, where grass
and weeds will break it up."

This Lites Bros. Asphalt, Inc. page has "Key Points About Asphalt"
from the National Asphalt Pavement Association's website.

"Asphalt pavements are a best buy. They are cost-effective, safe,
durable, long-lasting, can be built quicker than other pavements,
and are easy to maintain."

The above referenced National Asphalt Pavement Association's
website has a great "Asphalt Industry Update and Overview" that
goes into some details on cost and life of an asphalt roadway.

"Well-designed and well-built asphalt pavements last many years."

As for the construction of your go-kart track, here are some leads,
as provided by a search on the's world business directory
which yielded seven contractors in Athens, Greece that work with
asphalt, primarily for driveways, which means they work on relatively
small projects.

NAOYSIS 2 ATHENS Greece (Hellas) GR
phone: (+30) 210 5819708
contractors - driveway

NAOYSIS 2 ATHENS Greece (Hellas) GR
phone: (+30) 210 5819708
asphalt products contractors - driveway

phone: (+30) 210 4950462
contractors - driveway asphalt products

phone: (+30) 210 5980979
contractors - driveway

phone: (+30) 210 5980979
asphalt products contractors - driveway

phone: (+30) 210 6395168
asphalt products contractors - driveway contractors - excavation

phone: (+30) 27410 36459
contractors - driveway contractors - excavation asphalt ...

If you need any clarification, do not hesitate in asking.

Search Strategy:

Google search on keywords: asphalt gokart track

Google search on keywords: asphalt "go kart" track

Google search on keywords: "using asphalt"

Google search on keywords: asphalt versus concrete cost

Google search on keywords: athens greece asphalt

Looking Forward, denco-ga - Google Answers Researcher

Request for Answer Clarification by sashap-ga on 16 Feb 2004 23:48 PST
Dear denco-ga

i want to thank you for your answer, but i am afraid it does not help
me at all. You see, i am looking for the type of SOIL to use for a
go-kart DIRT track. The term DIRT TRACK, means by definition that the
trackīs surface is NOT covered with either asphalt or concrete, but
with soil of some kind. And that is precisely my problem. Whereas i
can find loads of information for concrete/ asphalt tracks, i canīt
find anything for dirt tracks, except the odd mention that the surface
is clay. This is why i had priced the answer at $100.00 and i think it
is worth every cent! So if you could give me info on what type of SOIL
to use, the tip will reflect the value of the question.
Once again, thank you for your effort.

Clarification of Answer by denco-ga on 18 Feb 2004 15:06 PST
Howdy sashap-ga!

Apologies on not picking up that you wanted dirt/clay based
solutions only.  One of the "problems" in looking for such
an answer, is that there is no big "secret" to building
such a track.  It is simply that, a dirt track.  By dirt,
though, it is almost always understood that it is with a
high clay content so it can be packed down hard to make a
smooth surface.

You need to get clay that does not have a high grit content,
such as gravel, or clumps of other material in it, so as to
avoid tire wear as well as pitting of the track surface.

Thickness of the clay and base material counts as well.  If
the ground that you are working with is essentially clay to
begin with, and good quality clay (smooth and dense) then
you can scape out your track and pretty much be done with it.

If you are starting off with loose dirt (loam) then you will
have to compact that dirt, then lay a layer of at least 8
inches of quality clay (smooth and dense) on top of that.

At least twice that thickness of clay should be placed in the
curves, especially if they are banked, as these are the areas
that will get the most wear.

Maintenance has to be considered as well, as too dry of a
track is dusty, and too wet of a track can be too slick.
The references below go into more detail on these factors.

The references below speak to dirt/clay tracks of all kinds,
but it appears the composition of all dirt/clay tracks are
much the same, that is, hard packed clay on top of hard
packed dirt.

You can get "fancy" and put drainage, such as gravel under
the track or in the corners of a banked track.

With the ongoing maintenance, etc. it looks like going with
a dirt/clay track would be more expensive than going with
asphalt in the long run, but perhaps cheaper to construct.

From Dave Cornutt's "Oval Track Racing Glossary," a definition
of a dirt track.

"Dirt track: A track which is not paved, but rather has a dirt
(usually red clay, or some mixture including clay) surface."

This article on Earl Kouba, a midget car racer gives us an idea
of the thickness of clay needed for a dirt track.

"In 1958 the club was back at the Englewood Speedway (Colorado), a
third-mile dirt, for most of the season. They ran a few out-of-town
races at Grand Junction (Colorado) and hill City (Kansas). On one
trip we arrived at Hill City early and for two days the temperature
was 107  and 108 degrees and the water was lousy. Well, when Earl
Kouba showed up i ran right over and told him that this sure might
be a good track as the promoter claimed he put eight inches of clay
on the straight and 16 inches on the turns."

This West Tennessee Sports Online article speaks to the thickness
of clay needed as well.

"The track is sporting some new surfacing as track owners added 5
inches of clay.  Many drivers praised the idea, and comments were
very much in favor of the additional media."

The web site has some great tips on preparing
and maintaining a clay dirt track.

"Track Preparation / Construction

From: Len Dillon

Clay oval dirt tracks are all over the USA and Canada. They are
used for stock car racing, motorcycle flat track, and horse racing.
They can be an ideal speedway track, but are usually too rutted
and have holes that develop in an average race night that would
prevent a good speedway program. I have prepared Niagara Raceway's
track for many years and have learned the trick for this type of

Clay tracks must be watered to reduce dust. An even light sprinkle
before every race will do this, but would make for a very long and
slow program. Once clay is wet, it takes a long time to dry, so the
common approch is just to soak it really good before the racing
starts. But clay binds together strongly when wet, and the water
does not soak in very deep with only one watering. If only a thin
layer is wet, it peels off of the dry clay underneath, leaving ruts,
and patches of wet and dry clay.

- The track must be first graded to remove all signs of ruts.
- The water must be added evenly, and heavy, making sure the water
truck does not cross the wet surface.
- If there is any signs of ruts, wait till the track can be driven
on without caking mud on the tires, and grade it again.
- Repeat until smooth.
- Repeat the watering until the wet clay is more than 3 inches deep.
Wait between watering for the track to dry enough that the water
truck is not creating ruts. It usually takes 6 to 10 hours of
repeated watering to get the proper results.

From: Steve "bad boy" Lucero

When adding new dirt to a track, don't have it dumped on the track! It
will be impossible to distribute it evenly on the track. Instead, have
it dumped in the pit area, and shovel it onto the track from a moving
pickup truck, so that the new surface is added in layers. It will then
wear off in layers during racing, giving an even surface through the
whole night. The riders will be more confident on it and the crowd will
get closer, more exiting racing as a result."

The Bergfelt Racing Enterprises' web site has a nice page on
types of clay that are used and maintenance issues.

"Dirt and clay is different everywhere.   Just the color of
the substance reveals that there are differences.  Usually
these variations are due to geographic region differences.

The folks in the South East are blessed with that bright red
clay.  I havn't had much of a chance to race on it but I
understand it's really good.  A little farther north it gets
a little browner but it's great just the same when it's
prepared properly.  Here in Pennsylvania the clay ranges from
gray to yellow as well as reddish.  One track in South Eastern
Ohio has a dark colored clay with sand mixed with it.  The
point of all of this is that there is a vast difference in the
substance that makes up the surfaces of dirt tracks. 

Often times the dirt base that exists on the property on which
a promoter wishes to build a track is absolutely no good for a
racing surface.  In that case clay is trucked in.  How much is
added and how it is distributed and joined with the base has a
lot to do with the quality of the final track.

Some promoters have a dust problem.  This is usually but not
always the case with tracks that are run during the day time,
especially in hot, dry weather.  Of course water is added to
help control the problem, but sometimes that's not good enough.
Some promoters add a special concentrate to the water formulate
for the purpose of bonding the clay and retaining moisture.
Some of these work well and enhance the grip that kart tires get.

Another additive that is common is calcium chloride.  This is
commonly used in parts of the country that get alot of ice and
snow to melt that stuff that gets on driveways and sidewalks.
Not only does it melt snow, but it also attracts and absorbs
water.  When mixed with the water and added to the track surface,
it helps the clay stay moist.  If you race on a track that is
treated with 'calcium' be sure to wash it off immediately after
racing.  The chemical is hard on paint and will cause any
unpainted components to corrode very quickly.

An inexpensive additive that some promoters use to bond clay so
that it doesn't dig up or get dusty is liquid soap.  Although it
will successfully cut down on dust, and keep the track from
breaking up,  the surface will usually be very slick and it will
be very challenging to get a grip."

This public message board posting talks of dust problems.

"Keeping moisture in the hard clay is vital to dust control.
Applying the proper amount of water to the clay is a tricky
thing and could be the difference between a muddy surface
and a choking dust storm, two situations that halted racing
at OCFS last season. Chemicals can also diminish the dust,
although there are health regulations attached to their use.

The addition of new clay ... can also help."

The website speaks of the problems of a too wet track.

"The grader was summoned and the peeling of the top two, to
two and a half, inches of rain soaked gumbo clay was underway.
Packing cars from the big track worked the clay into a smooth
surface and races began at 9:45 PM."

A possible source for clay building materials is Beak, S.A.

If you need further clarification, feel free to ask.

Search Strategy:

Google search on: building clay race track

Google search on: "of clay" inches race track

Looking Forward, denco-ga - Google Answers Researcher
sashap-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $80.00
Dear denco-ga,
i have no words...
Your answer is precisely what i was hoping for. Thank you so much.

Subject: Re: Soil type for dirt track, (addressed mainly to denco-ga)
From: denco-ga on 19 Feb 2004 10:44 PST
Howdy sashap-ga!

Much thanks for the 5 star rating, the kind words and extremely
generous tip.  My pleasure.

Looking Forward, denco-ga

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy