Karting

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Once the leaves are falling from the trees, the auto-cross cones are packed away for the winter, and your R-compound tires are in hibernation, it’s time for wheel-to-wheel racing karting style. There’s no better way to keep your reflexes taut and the adrenaline flowing than by attending our indoor events at the world-class facility of F1 Boston (www.f1boston.com) in Braintree, MA. Due to the high level of interest members have for karting, the Boston Chapter Karting Program now makes it’s way to the F1 Outdoors track in East Bridgewater, MA when the weather gets warmer.

This is real wheel-to-wheel racing without the expense of maintaining your own club race car, and the g-forces exceed anything you’ll experience at a driving school or autocross. It’s also a great way to learn about car control in these open-wheel racing karts. You can see exactly where the wheels are pointed, and then compare their location with what direction the kart actually ends up going. Then the next time into a given corner you can alter your line and see how the kart responds with your new inputs.

Come once or for the series

Each year the program generally offers a Karting Challenge Series indoors plus individual sprint events and a team enduro outdoors. The series consists of Sprint qualifying rounds run at F1 Boston on three separate weekends during the Fall and Winter. Each of these events consists of three, 12 lap races and a 15 lap runoff. Runoffs are composed of the 12 drivers with the fastest “average” lap times (add up your fastest lap in the 3 races and divide by 3). The top 5 finishers in the runoff are invited to compete in the Joint Track Championship Event at the end of the Winter season. If there’s a repeat qualifier in the 2nd or 3rd Sprint round, then the 6th finisher in the runoff will qualify, and so on if there are other repeaters.

The Team Enduro event at F1 Outdoors has 15 teams of 3 or 4 drivers who compete for bragging rights. You can assemble your own team for this event, or enter solo and be assigned to a team. The Enduro is a 90 minute race that has 8 mandatory pit stops. The timing of the stops and driver changes is determined by each team. The objective is to run fast, run clean, and not get hung up in the pit lane for too long. The karts are also more powerful and can reach speeds in excess of 50 mph. While this may not seem fast in the luxurious confines of your “Ultimate Driving Machine,” sitting a couple of inches from the ground with no suspension, you’ll definitely become one with the kart – and those corners will come up on you really fast!

Championship events

Since you have to earn your spot in the Indoor Karting Challenge Championship Round by your performance Above: Boston Chapter members are suited up and ready for the start of a run on the F1 Boston Indoor track.

These scenes are from the Team Enduro outdoor events sponsored by the Boston Chapter. Indoor & Outdoor Karting: Enhance your driving skills year round indoor & outdoor karting: year round skills training in one of the 3 Sprint qualifying races, registration is “by invitation only.” There will be a 5 minute practice session for everyone to warm up themselves and the tires. Then, 2 qualifying races of 11 laps each and a 15 lap championship race. Grid order in Qualifying Race #1 is based upon the fastest lap times from the Sprint Rounds. Qualifying Race #2 grid order will be inverted from the finish of Race #1 (winner starts 16, second place starts 15, etc.). Grid for the championship race is determined by points earned in the 2 qualifiers with lap times as the tie breaker. All 16 drivers will be on track for the entire event, and the top 3 finishers receive trophies.

Our events at F1 Outdoors all take place on the nearly mile long Grand Prix circuit. The format for individual Sprint events is similar to the indoor karting challenge qualifiers described above, and the day’s winner receives their trophy on the spot. Just like the Rolex 24 or Lemans, the winner of the Enduro is the team that completes the most laps at the end of the allotted time; and trophies are awarded to each member of the winning team.

Costs & eligibility

One of the best things about karting is that all you need to do is arrive and drive, be 18 years old, and have a valid drivers license. You can certainly bring your own full-face helmet or driving suit if you own them, but if you don’t, F1 Boston provides all the necessary equipment. Times vary so check the online calendar for the schedule. Registration is on line and the costs vary slightly per event, but are normally under $100.

So plan to join the fun this year both indoors and outdoors on the same track that professional kart racers drive. The only difference being that their shifter karts hit speeds in excess of 100 mph on the F1 Outdoors Grand Prix circuit. If you wish to learn more about the F1 Outdoors facility, what they like to call the “gold standard of kart racing venues,” go to their website atf1outdoors.com. ♦  Event Coordinators, Jack Meeker & Tom Rathje

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