Why I stopped shifting and learned to love the rental kart

I love indoor karting.  I used to think that, after a Shifter Kart, a rental on an indoor track would be boring, slow, and a waste of money.  Boy was I wrong, and I’ll tell you why.

  • Yes, the rental/concession karts at most tracks are ‘slow’ after stepping out of a high power TaG or Shifter, but the tracks are often short & technical with a low grip surface, making them a challenge to drive.
  • The karts are all the same, so aside from the occasional bad apple that’s been abused by the general public, you’ll be fighting for tenths of seconds (sometimes hundredths) between fast drivers, making things very competitive.
  • Every kart will drive just that little bit different, forcing you to adapt to set a fast time.
  • It’s a great way to get (cheap) seat time if you live in a state like Colorado that has snowy winters, a rental kart is still a kart!
  • It’s cheap: try to take advantage of buy-one-get-one days (or something similar, if they have it) at your local indoor track.  Still probably more expensive than a test & tune day at your local sprint track, but you don’t have to put any wear on your stuff – that adds up.
  • It’s a good place to work on race craft.  Even 10 karts on a small 1/4 mile track can feel crowded, so clear track is rare.  And since every precious ounce of momentum counts, passing someone is sometimes tougher than it looks.
  • And best of all, it’s arrive and drive.  That’s it!  Just show up with your helmet (or not) pay your dollars and drive!  No wrenching, no tuning, no mounting tires.  Seriously, this is great!

There was an indoor track in Denver long ago, but it had since closed down by the time I started karting.  We went many years in CO without a proper indoor track, when suddenly, two opened within a year – Speed Raceway (electric) and Unser Racing (gas).  If you can, join a league racing night.  I’ve been spending many Wednesday nights this past winter at Unser Racing for their leagues, and it’s some of the most competitive racing i’ve ever done.  I recall one race where I qualified .5s off the pole, and was stuck somewhere in 25th place, that’s competitive!  We usually get a good mix of Karters, Circle Trackers, Autocrossers, SCCAers, and just guys off the street that are plain fast…and we have a blast!

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While indoor karting is certainly no replacement for your pure-bred, its definitely the next best thing.  Think of it as your ‘racing gym’ for when you can’t  get some valuable seat time in your kart.  Before I discovered indoor karting I would usually show up at the first test day off the new season pretty rusty, but this year I feel pretty confident that I’ll only be a little bit rusty.

This also feels like a good time to introduce my YouTube channel!  Plenty of indoor videos on there right now!

One response to “Why I stopped shifting and learned to love the rental kart

  1. Pingback: Fast Friday Video: Unser Racing’s Performance Division « the slip angle·

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