K-1 Speed: It’s a Rush
Dec 01, 2016 08:30AM
By Jason Huddle
K-1 Speed: It’s a Rush
In October 2015, K1 Speed broke ground at its two-track facility on Derita Road near Poplar Tent Road in Concord. Open since June, these aren’t your typical go-karts.
K1 Speed’s Concord facility is the only one in the state and joins 34 other locations in the U.S. and Mexico, with more slated to open. Founded in 2003, K1 Speed is headquartered in Irvine, CA, and Andrew Palos is its marketing manager. “K1 Speed choosing Concord was an easy choice. This is where racing lives. The first six months have been exciting, to say the least,” he says.
The difference in K1’s karts is that they aren’t gas-powered – they’re 20 horsepower all-electric. This makes them very quiet, faster in the turns because of the ease in acceleration, and no emissions. “With an electric go-kart, you get the advantage of more torque and a cleaner environment,” Palos adds. “When competing on a smaller, tighter track, the torque from the electric kart will help you pick your speed up off the corners faster than a gas go-kart. Also, the difference between drivers’ weight doesn’t make as much of a difference.”
Anyone at least 48 inches tall can drive a K1 go-kart, with 58 inches being the minimum height to drive an adult kart. “Our demographic is vast,” Palos says. “With us only having a height requirement,
and not an age requirement, we cater to anyone over 48 inches tall. Our Concord center has had customers from six to 91, and our corporate business has come along nicely since opening in June.”
Palos refers to K1’s team-building events. “These activities are designed to encourage friendly competition and team loyalty, all while racing around the track at up to 45mph alongside your co-workers. These events are perfect for groups of 20 drivers and we can custom-tailor the race events to best accommodate your group size,” according to K1’s website. We have four competition challenges for the teams: The Ball Challenge, The Blindfold Challenge (with controlled slow speeds), the Pit Crew Challenge and head-to-head racing.
“Our indoor tracks are smoothly graded, have high-grip surfaces that allow for maximum cornering speed, and utilize high-tech safety barriers for our competitors’ safety. The track at our Concord facility features a challenging combination of turns and straight sections.”
If you just want to stop by to enjoy some friendly competition with friends or family, K1 Speed offers Arrive and Drive. A rules and safety session is followed by a 14-lap heat that typically lasts about 10 minutes. Up to 12 drivers can put the pedal to the metal in each heat and no reservation is required. Drivers are given a Race Result Sheet at the conclusion of their heat so they can look at their time and ranking versus the other drivers. Those results can also be rechecked online.
For those wanting to have their birthday or bachelor party or fundraiser at K1, there’s a variety of racing packages. They can include podium celebrations for the winners, group photos, trophies and catering. For fundraisers, nonprofits will see 20 percent of total sales going back to their group.
Groups of eight to several hundred are welcomed. Larger groups can rent K1 as part of a private race package. Concord has two private meeting rooms.
The Le Mans Room’s 2,000 square feet can accommodate 133. It comes equipped with tables, chairs, linens, wireless Internet, audio/visual equipment, a 110-inch projector screen and three televisions with DVDs. The Monaco Room’s 600 square feet can accommodate 40. Its amenities match the Le Man Room except for A/V equipment and the number of TVs.
K1 Speed also offers a variety of race events, including instructional classes, Challenge GP events, night races and leagues.
“We (Concord) offer junior and adult leagues,” Palos explains. “Our junior league takes place the first Tuesday of every month, and our adult league is the first Sunday of every month. Racers that participate in our leagues accumulate points and we award the top three with trophies, gift cards, merchandise and free races. We are looking forward to including our sister company, K1 RaceGear, in 2017, where racers will have a chance to win a custom suit or gloves.”
With the winter months upon us, K1 Speed offers yet another recreational option for Cabarrus County residents. Visit www.k1speed.com/concord-location.html for more information.
“We’re looking very optimistic for the future of K1 Speed in Concord,” Palos says. “With the rich racing history in the area, we are confident that fans alike will be coming back for more.”
Story by: Kim Cassell
Photos courtesy: K-1 Speed