100+ Superkart Race Teams To Compete At Highland Mall Unique 130 mph Race Expected to Draw Thousands April 27, 2004 -- AUSTIN, TX -- On June 4 through 6, 2004, Central Texas will get its first look at one of the ...
100+ Superkart Race Teams To Compete At Highland Mall
Unique 130 mph Race Expected to Draw Thousands
April 27, 2004 -- AUSTIN, TX -- On June 4 through 6, 2004, Central Texas will get its first look at one of the world's fastest -- and fastest-growing -- motorsports, when Austin's Highland Mall hosts Austin Grand Prix 2004 -- the first Superkarts! USA (SKUSA) regional race ever held in the River City. The event is free and open to the public.
Called "ultimate racing machines" by Popular Science, about the only things superkarts have in common with home- built "go-karts" are wheels. Capable of speeds up to 130 mph and more nimble than most sports cars, superkarts rival multimillion-dollar race cars in performance, at a fraction of the price. These exotic vehicles have become the center of a burgeoning sport that appeals to thousands of enthusiasts, ranging from weekend hobbyists to many karters who have graduated to professional racing.
"Austin will love superkarting," said Bill Talley, Director of Motorsports for Iron Rock Raceway, a cosponsor of the Highland Mall event. "It's the most fun you can have on wheels, and it's a great spectator sport, too." Iron Rock Raceway plans to open Austin's first superkart racing facility in January 2005. Other sponsors of the June races include Roger Beasley Mazda, Speedlab, Pit Stop Kart Shop, Speedwerx, Champion Racing, Kam Karting, Margay Bridgestone, RPM Indoor Raceway, Laser Quest and KartWeb.com.
Saturday, June 5, will be Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas Day at the races. Children and their volunteer mentors will be invited to meet the drivers, sit in the karts and try on racing gear.
About 100 race teams will participate in Austin Grand Prix 2004. A portion of Highland Mall's parking lot will become a SKUSA-approved racecourse covering 10 acres. Racers will compete in 12 professional and amateur superkarting classes. Area celebrities also will test their skills behind the wheel in a series of special heats held each day.
Racing will begin on Friday, June 4, at 10:00 am, with day-long practice runs ranging from kid's events to races featuring the fastest, most sophisticated superkarts of the 125 cc Expert class. Practice runs in all classes will be conducted from 8:00 am until 10:00 am, followed by qualifying and pre-final races. The main events, a series of 18-lap races, will begin at 3:00 pm. Sunday racing will follow the same schedule. Racers in the Expert class will compete for $2,000 first-place, $1,000 second-place and $500 third-place purses for best overall performance.
"We're really excited to help bring Austin its first taste of superkarting," said Iron Rock's Talley. Once you see it, we know you'll want more."
Also known as "shifter karts," superkarts shouldn't be confused with traditional go-carts. With six speeds and approximately 40 horsepower, 125cc shifter karts are capable of truly astounding acceleration and speeds of up to 130 mph. The highly developed chassis and tires allow lateral forces approaching three Gs. This offers a driving experience that rivals that of many exotic and expensive racecars at a fraction of the cost.
Over the past few decades, the sport of superkart racing has grown steadily in the United States and produced a number of professional drivers. According to Spydrweb Communications, at least 400 karting clubs and tracks are located in the U.S., 25 in Texas alone. (www.spydrweb.com/kartweb/usa1.html)
Superkarts! USA (SKUSA) has a complete racing program that can see a driver from his first racing experience in a 60cc cadet kart to the top level of 125cc pro racing. SKUSA's Regional Pro Tours are the foundation for the growth of the sport, with active regions in most parts of the US and developing programs in Canada and Mexico.
Each region runs a local race series with a variety of classes to suit multiple needs. The weekend racer has several amateur classes to choose from, both in 80cc and 125cc divisions. Drivers that are honing their skills towards a future in pro racing can start in the entry-level classes and progress through to the pro divisions, Formula K1 (80cc) and Formula S1 (125cc).
For more information on superkarts and the Austin Grand Prix, visit www.kartweb.com, www.skusaonline.com and www.ekartingnews.com.