INSIGHT: K1 SPEED
t’s no secret that motorsports as a
whole is seeing a decline in its fan base.
Depending on who you speak to, it’s either
on the verge of apocalyptic or it’s merely a
natural cycle of ebb and flow. K1 Speed
indoor karting centers, on the other hand,
are enjoying strong growth. Since 2008,
it’s doubled the number of locations to 22
across nine states and put over 3. 7 million
people in its karts, with 1.3 million of them
identified as core customers. Crucially, an
estimated 45 percent are under age 35.
K1 Speed was founded in 2003 by
David Danglard and road racing ace,
Boris Said. Just a decade later, the
company has blossomed to become the
national leader in indoor karting centers.
Each center is unique in both setup and
track layouts, but the ambiance, amenities
and type of karting on offer are the same.
Layered with a variety of motorsport
memorabilia ranging from Formula 1 to
off-road race trucks, every location
includes cafes, lounges and meeting rooms,
all within viewing range of meticulously
crafted and maintained tracks.
Gleaming electric karts with their
instant torque and high grip provide
“arrive and drive” customers with 14 laps
of fun and thrills within minutes of arriving
at the center, with high-tech timing and
scoring for every participant. Cost is just
$19.99 per session – although it must be
said, the experience is so addicting, it’s
hard to walk out after only one session.
The Irvine, Calif., center’s general
manager, Uli Perez, estimates that half of
its arrive and drive customers, meaning
those not participating in organized
events or leagues, are between 15 and
35 years old, yet only one or two percent
could be described as “racing fans.”
“When customers come in, many of
them are interested in the race cars we
have on display and some will ask
questions about what kind of racecar it is
Could K1 Speed be the
answer to growing the
motorsports fan base?
WORDS George Tamayo
If you really want to get into your racing
groove, K1 Speed offers both adult and
junior racing leagues at all its locations.
Most centers hold races one night per
month in the ChallengeGP 2K14 series
that wraps up in December. Each race
night is $50 (or $55 at the longer super
tracks), including two qualifying sessions
and a 14-lap race. (Seven at super tracks.)
Racecraft and kart control make the
difference as the fast-paced heats and
twisting tracks reward smoothness and
penalize all but the smallest mistakes.
Junior League races are open to kids
between 4ft and 4ft 9in tall, while the
Youth League is for kids over 4ft 10in.
A Junior/Youth League season consists
of five rounds, priced at $40 each.
All race gear is provided, so get off
the couch and get behind the wheel.
JOIN THE LEAGUE
Junior League action at K1 Speed in San Diego, Calif. –
one of 22 current locations across nine states.