You are currently viewing archive for August 2011

08/08/2011: Fun Karting

Category: Karting
Posted by: Mike
With all the stress of running the racecar this year, It was nice to get back to some arrive and drive karting recently. I know, you might consider the karts "slow" and maybe even not "real" racing. I challenge you to watch the videos and tell me it's not great racing!

I ran a BMWCCA karting event at Summit Point Kart this past weekend. Rain didn't stop us! And no rain tires, don't need them! It kinda sucked that a kart I had broke, but oh well, not mine, not my problem! I know of no cheaper, more accessible way to race.

The first race the track was treacherous with huge puddles everywhere. It was a great race, at one time I think we were side by side for the lead driving sideways down the length of the straight. I tried to avoid the big puddles but it was a futile attempt, my kart died halfway through the race. But I got another kart and rejoined the race with the leaders a lap down!

In race 2 we changed to the short track since the far end of the track was so flooded. However it stopped raining and although the track was almost completely wet most of the standing water was gone. We inverted the grid so I started on the pole due to the kart dieing in the first race. Starting clear of everyone else, I managed to do a spin and win while everyone else battled it out behind me!

In race 3 I started last. This time my kart was not as fast and it had a lot of understeer, but it was again great racing and I managed to work up to battle for the lead and end up 2nd.

Finally here's some video of the track dry! This is from a Volta Grand Prix race a few months ago.

Category: General
Posted by: Mike
In the past few years I've encountered several opportunities in racing that at best, don't quite offer what they claim and at worst are a complete rip off.

Here are a few possible examples: in short claimed to offer a racing school in a stock car, combined with a elimination style shootout, where the finalists would win a free multiday evaluation on a superspeedway and the ultimate winner would win a full season in a late model. All this was starting for $169! Too good to be true? Seems like that was probably the case. After selling seemingly thousands of entries, they only ran a few dates before postponing all remaining scheduled programs.

Grand Prix Shootout is/was another shootout, this time offering rides and funding up the ladder to F1. The exact format of the shootout changed a few times, but the first evaluation round was generally offered for a thousand or so pounds and up for a test/evaluation in a "saloon" or formula car. The first year awarded two winners, one novice and one experienced driver, and they did run the next year in British Formula Ford with Grand Prix Shootout logos on the car. However, quick internet research reveals that both these drivers may to be pretty well funded on their own which led to speculation of who was paying for the ride.

Although the contest is still on at this time according to their website, many have claimed that they have paid for a spot in the shootout and been left hanging with no refund. Seems like this model is reliant on finding a lot of investors and sponsors to fund the winners racing, and even with good industry contacts, we know how hard that is.

The PBIR Rookie Challenge was a shootout to award a Indy Lights ride. The first year was a $35,000! entry. The team ran drivers in Indy Lights next year, but it's unclear to me who was funding them. The next year, the entry was $7500 and there were to be two winners, one 15-18 who would win a drive in a lower series, and one 18 and up who would win the Indy Lights ride. However, seems like the funding for the drives did not come and the shootout was changed to an academy style format with no award. To me that's a big difference from the original promise!

I see a complaint of drivers being promised refunds that were not given, and do not know if this was resolved or not.

Justin Bell operated a racing school for a few years in the early 2000's which had positive reviews, however reportedly when the school went out of business two dozen students who had already paid were not refunded. It's unclear to me whether this was resolved, but it doesn't appear to have hurt Justin Bell's TV career.

I have no inside information in any of the above. I hate to "callout" anyone especially with no personal experience. But I have a fear of dropping hard earned money for a race seat, test, school etc and showing up to a surprisingly empty track and would hate to see that happen to anyone else. I know racing is a tough tough way to make money and beleive in general if it's too good to be true it just might be. I can only suggest doing your research and doing a "sanity check" on what makes sense and what doesn't.