As I am writing these words, I’m still waiting for the last of the adrenalin in my body to finish coursing through my veins. For it was only mere hours ago that I found myself strapped to a 50mph electric kart, with the full head sock and helmet treatment, as I attempted to better my already fastest-of-the-race lap time. Proper good fun, it was.
The offer for such racing thrills came in the form of a simple text message from my mate. ‘Would you fancy some indoor karting at Autobahn Indoor Speedway on Saturday?,’ he asked. Well it would’ve been rude to have said no…
Fast forward past a remarkably wet motorway and a $60 (that’s £37.46 for you Brits) deposit for three races, and we found ourselves pressed against the low fence next to the karting track, eagerly waiting for our turn to have a go in the things and laughing at the massive slides people were pulling off at the first corner. Then our names were called. It was time to go.
You wouldn’t think that the anticipation of walking to the short driver’s meeting would cause an increase in heart rate, yet such was the case for me, and as the head sock slipped over my cranium with the helmet soon following, there was a faint degree of hyperventilation beginning to occur. I was itching to get going.
The wait for the green light was, in all honesty, a long one. Maybe it was the excitement making things feel like it took forever, however the fact that my foot began to cramp as we inched out of the pit lane asserted my beliefs. Fortunately though a brief period of rapid foot shaking took care of said discomfort.
Now before I delve into and begin to break down how things went, allow me to give some background on the race’s rules. I shall begin by mentioning that this was not your conventional kart racing. Instead of tossing together a field of 10 or so drivers and letting them have at it against each other for the top step on the podium, the winner of each 14 lap race was he (or she) who put in the fastest lap time.
The rest were your everyday karting rules; no bumping (pah!), obey the flags, don’t be an idiot.
Right, I thought to myself before giving the thing full beans, here goes.
As the speed rose whilst I approached the first corner out of the pits, the one thing that immediately stood out to me was the sound. Honestly, I never imagined anything with four wheels and an electric motor could’ve possibly sounded this good.
It was a luscious high-pitched electric whine that sounded remarkably like that of an Izod IndyCar single-seater. It was the noise the kart made when letting off the accelerator, however, that sent a chill straight from Jack Frost racing up the spine. The thing sounded absolutely phenomenal.
While the steering has to be said of having been remarkably heavy (it left my arms burning after only a few laps!), it was relatively responsive, and the connection to the rest of the kart’s chassis inspired confidence in your driving skills and egged you on quite a bit.
First race honors went to my mate, having put in a lap time of 26.299, which, on this track, was really rather quick. I took third with a time of 26.900 and with aching anticipation of going again. I knew I could go faster, and I was determined to do so.
And as I’d hoped, second and third race honors went to me, having done a 25.066 and a 20.000 (on a different circuit) respectively to reserve the step on the podium with the number ‘1’ on it.
In total, the racing was absolutely phenomenal. Save for the occasional slower traffic, you could really go for it with the karts, taking liberties by braking as deep as you’d like and going full throttle for as long as you’d like. And even though we may have only been going about 30-35 mph, it felt more like 130 mph.
If you consider yourself to be a petrolhead, you must get yourself involved with karting of some sort. Whether that be indoor karts capable of topping out at motorway speeds or legitimate racing karts that saw Lewis Hamilton and the lot learn their craft. We all say, being the car enthusiasts that we are, that we love driving, and if you truly do you’ll be doing yourself a massive favor by having a go at some karting.