racers provide same thrills as gas-powered relatives with zero
With the environment
being one of the hottest topics these days, auto racing and hydrocarbon-burning
transportation are not on the "clean" list for most people.
One of our
dirtiest polluters is the two-cycle engine that can be found powering
lawn mowers, motorcycles, snowmobiles, karts and other smaller
is an excellent way to get a start in auto racing. It is a great
test of driver skill, but karts spew out more than their share
I have been
to both outdoor and indoor kart facilities and I am familiar with
the fumes and other downsides. I distinctly remember heading home
with a headache caused by the exhaust fumes after an evening of
club racing at an indoor kart track.
Downsview Park, I found a venue, Grand Prix Kartways, promoting
visions of plastic battery-powered kids toys danced in my head,
but this place had a serious grown-up look to it. The company
promotes high-speed fun, racing leagues, fine dining and a corporate
Dixon convinced me that this was the way of the future. No fumes,
no pollutants and good, competitive fast fun.
electric karts boast an 18-horsepower motor as compared to the
standard 6.6 hp motor on most family karts. Unlike their gas-fired
counterparts, these motors have instant torque and brisk acceleration.
Although limited to a top speed of 45 km/h by industry standards,
this is more than adequate for the turns and twists of Grand Prix's
electric motors are computerized and can be programmed to be equal
in performance, something any karter knows doesn't happen with
the finicky gas-powered versions. Even the wheel alignments are
set with laser equipment to ensure equality.
come equipped with transponders, just like the real race cars
from Touring GT to Formula One. Lap times, position and average
speed are all available to download at the end of each run. The
karts even look like Formula cars.
Kartways has organized several competitive race series with sponsorship
Matthew Peralto, 11, helped me test the karts. Matthew has been
racing in a competitive kart series, using traditional combustion
engines, at Goodwood Kartway.
into the next kart; buckled up, donned my helmet and set off to
check the accuracy of Dixon's claims.
The rate of
acceleration in these karts is impressive. One of the most important
aspects of successful kart racing is smoothness.
karts have a notoriously poor rate of acceleration that translates
into lost time if the kart slows down too much from wild slides.
Keep a nice tidy race line with minimal drifting and you can keep
up your speed. Huge sideways slides may look spectacular but result
in lost time from going laterally and not forwards.
That is not
much of an issue with these electric karts. They have enough torque
that a slip of the kart does not hold them back. During a 20-minute
stint behind the wheel, the karts did not lose power. Their stamina
got the better of me as I began to feel fatigued from the lateral
g-loads the corners demanded on my neck, shoulders and arms. I
voluntarily pulled off for a much-needed rest.
The gel cell
batteries are good for more than 160 laps , more than any driver
The grin on
Matthew's face said it all. He was impressed with the acceleration
and level of grip of these karts. Understandably, not as fast
as his race machine, Matthew still reported that he would enjoy
running a race series in these karts.
layout is technical with a combination of slow and high-speed
turns. Knowing the fast way around and the technique will make
you a winner. The building is brightly lit and combines other
amenities where you can host a business function or family party.
It is challenging, fun and the air is always fresh.
call 416-638-KART or grandprixkartways.com.