Few people have witnessed any form of closed-track racing and pondered the question, “Why would anyone ever do this?” Generally, the sight of race cars zooming around corners produces a sense of excitement—along with a feeling of “I wanna do that!” Racing is infections, and few can withstand its temptation.
Closed-track racing is, however, unattainable for average folks. It is very expensive and requires a tremendous investment of time. This is why most people opt to purchase an aftermarket muffler and some faux-carbon trim for their daily drive instead of investing in a real race car. Luckily, the recent opening of K1 Speed in Santa Clara, at 295 Mead Ave., can provide one’s inner Michael Schumacher a chance to let loose around a winding track.
The indoor race venue has room for 12 competitors per race. Granted, the machines aren’t exactly F1 cars; but at 20hp they can slingshot drivers around corners at up to 40 mph. That is very fast considering you’re about four inches off the ground, and the course consists mostly of hairpins from start to finish.
K1 Speed employs a fleet of electric go-karts. For some, electric engines seem strange and probably slow. The truth is, their performance provides much more excitement than any internal combustion engine; they give all from the get-go. Simply put, their torque curve is not so much a curve as a vertical line. This means the driver can harness the entire 20hp immediately, even after slowing down to take a corner.
K1 allows racers to hone their skills all year long. K1 has even created a point-tracking system that ranks racers from all of their 10 locations. The top 50 competitors convene at a race once a year to decide a champion.
Owners David and Susan Danglard manifested their passion for racing in 2003 with their first location in San Diego. Since then, they have opened 10 tracks from coast to coast. Susan keeps a watchful eye over the marketing, while David engineers the venues.
David spent his childhood days in Europe, undoubtedly watching F1 racing and Paris-Dakar rallies on TV. That youthful excitement can be seen in the details at K1 Speed. The facility is adorned with racing memorabilia, which include a Champ car at the finish line and a NASCAR racer down track.
K1 Speed is a place where you can live your racing fantasies, and if there is a little Stig in your family, the Juniors program can put him behind the wheel as well. K1 Speed also offers a variety of corporate events like team building exercises.
The action is fast, clean (no exhaust fumes) and safe. While drivers have full control of the intense power, the little race karts provide, the karts can be shut off remotely in case of emergency. The K1 Speed facility also offers snacks, drinks and a conference room.