When was the last time you experienced the thrill of being behind the wheel in a race car, fighting your competition on the track for a race win?  Would you be up to the challenge to take on 11 competitors if you had the chance to do so?

The thrill of racing is unique and often reserved for a select few whose lifetime dedication grants them the chance to prove their skills on the track.  However, this experience is not out of reach for many thanks to the karting experience provided by K1 Speed. Karting is unique because it gives people the chance to experience the full dynamic of racing in a fun and welcoming environment for drivers of all skill levels.

// K1 Speed

The electric-powered karts at K1 Speed pack twenty horsepower into a compact package, offering the same karting experience that most professional drivers start their career on.  This is the best way to build the fundamentals of racing technique: learning how to take advantage of the racing line, using both braking and accelerator, and the best of all, learning how to pass another driver.

K1 Speed, the largest indoor karting company with locations throughout the US and based in California, just opened their first Texas location in north Austin. I went out to check it out myself and see what the rage is all about.

// The Experience

First-time racers sign up at the welcome kiosk and create a personalized account to track racing performance throughout their driving career. Using a point based system similar to grand prix racing, drivers are awarded "K1RS" which reflect their position and overall performance.

Once regsitered, drivers queue for the next scheduled race, which consists of up to 12 racers at a time. Once geared up with a helmet, drivers stage in the pits while another race is underway, receiveing instructions on how to adjust their seating position and secure their harness.  When the other racers return to the pits, the barriers are opened and your turn is up.  Karts are speed limited during this session, allowing all karts to get on the track safely and the barrier to be returned to position.  Shortly after, the full throttle is engaged and all of the sudden, you're off! 

The cars are quick and nimble, taking turns and holding the racing line quite well.  No, you won't be shattering any speed records, but unless you're already a seasoned racer, this is by far the most fun you're going to have on four wheels.

I was impressed with the speed and the quality of handling from the kart.  It took a second to get accustomed to performance, but once I got comfortable with the brake feel and limit of the handling, I was on my way to the top, working past several cars as I increased my pace. Starting out in ninth I gained several places before spinning out mid-race while trying to make the gap for a pass, losing several places in the process.  The pressure mounted as I frantically tried to regain my position and having to overtake but I was only able to regain up to fifth position. 

At the end of our 12 laps, I was surprised that my hands were glued to the wheel and in throbbing from gripping the wheel so tightly. I was totally immersed in the experience and had a blast while behind the wheel. I would highly recommend going out to K1 Speed to check it out for yourself; they are conveniently located near The Domain shopping center and restaurants, but the entire family can have a great time racing, eating or playing video games at K1 Speed.

// Details

K1 Speed Austin
2500 McHale Court
Austin, TX 78758

Hours (Subject to Change)
Monday-Thursday: 12 noon - 10PM
Friday, Saturday: 11AM - 11PM
Sunday: 11AM - 7PM


// Austin Tip

Leave the flip-flops at home; you'll want to wear closed-toe shoes while karting for best performance and safety!