At Holding93.com we love some grassroots motorsport. In the same way we know that we’ll never be able to go toe to toe with Roger Federer in Tennis, matching Daniel Ricciardo on four wheels is a pipe dream. That doesn’t stop over 1 million Aussie tennis players from heading out to have their weekly game though.
Motorsport is trickier. Naturally, cost is the biggest barrier to entry. A few grand to buy a semi-competitive go-kart is a heck of a lot more coin than buying a tennis racquet and some squeaky shoes. Then there’s the ongoing cost of running the thing, the space to store it, the vehicle to take it out….
Then if you’re a member of a club you might have one local track. Your membership will get you access to other tracks but its likely they’re all miles away. To that end driving is a bit like Golf. All the courses are different and playing on the same one all the time gets a bit same-same. Then there are Golf courses everywhere. Karting tracks, not so much.
In December last year a few mysterious posts circulated on Facebook about a new karting venue that would offer multiple layouts with variation and undulation. Intrigued, H93 has been able to have a chat with the originator of the posts, Melbourne ideas man Chris Field to get the inside line on what he’s got planned.
Championship Kart Racing
The Drive Go Karting idea is built around championship racing on multiple layouts. “I used to organise a karting championship with my mates” Chris offers, “but it was difficult to get consistent participation with so much inconsistency in the quality, location and pricing of the venues.” It started with an idea – could a single venue be built with multiple layouts where no more than 50% of a track would be shared with another layout? The result? A whopping 24 different layouts. Chris reckons that’s well more than double the tracks available at any other venue…. in the world. Think about that. You could go every week for nearly 6 months and not drive the same layout twice.
Wait, How Many Tracks?
Yep, 24. We’re not talking dinky little ‘make up the numbers’ tracks either. There are lengths from 450m up to 1.1km. Chris couldn’t tell me exactly how it works – the idea is so new that there are still some patent applications pending on the detail. One thing is for certain with that number – there will be crossovers.
The intention is still to cater to the traditional walk-up and casual group crowds. Central to the plan, though, is regular championship racing. While most Kart centers have league racing, Chris believes its a bit boring if you just turn up and race the same people with the same strengths and weaknesses around the same one or two tracks each time. The aim is to make championship kart racing as normal and as challenging as going out for a weekly round of Golf. “At the entry level we’re going to offer a 12 round championship on 12 different tracks for $480.” That isn’t much more than the cost of 12 rounds of Golf in Melbourne.
Big Prize for Those that Excel
Ultimately championship winners will be invited to participate in a ‘Champions League’ which will whittle down the best to the best of the best. The ultimate winner will be sponsored into a fully backed drive in the Hyundai Excel series. “We want to be a genuine stepping stone into the world of Motorsport, not just something you do sometimes.”
Endurance racing is also on the cards with 6 hour, 8 hour and possibly even longer team races in the works. “We want people to think of it like a factory customer racing outfit. You don’t have to worry about storing and maintaining the kart, you just turn up and compete.”
The tracks will feature a dynamic mix of tight to flat-out corners and high-speed straights so the variation will be expansive. Chris has also confirmed that they’ll be running the Sodi Kart RT8 chassis with the larger 270cc engine although they’re tweaking it to produce more low down torque. “There’s no point having tight, technical sections if you don’t have the grunt to get out of them.”
It all sounds very interesting to me, certainly enough to sit up and take notice. No doubt there is a lot more to come out once the patents are registered, the final approvals are in and we get closer to the late 2018 opening date. What do you think? Would you kart as your weekly or monthly sporting activity if it was reasonably priced and varied? Why shouldn’t karting be as accessible as tennis or indoor soccer?
How many of you are from Melbourne? How about a Holding93 go-kart event?