Your child may have grown out of Lightning McQueen and it may be a few more years until he or she is ready for the starting line-up at the Shanghai Formula One competition, but that doesn’t mean a car racing experience is completely out of reach.
We took Grade Six Western Academy of Beijing student Joseph Taylor to Red 1 Karting – the closest thing Beijing has to a Formula One track.
The venue features an indoor track for amateurs like Joseph as well as an FIA-approved outdoor track for adult pro-racers who swagger around the venue with full-body racing suits and helmets casually tucked under their arms.
The indoor track offers sharp corners to deliver the G-force rush of real racing complete with screeching tyres and cars that can reach speeds of up to 45 kilometres per hour.
But despite the pace, the venue feels very safe.
Joseph was fitted with a quality helmet and buckled into his car before getting started. The looping track is marked out by padded dividers and the low, wide design of the karts makes it unlikely they would flip at any speed.
All this safety gives the kids plenty of confidence to really push their limits.
Joseph took his first lap slowly but as his confidence grew he ended the seven minute session only slightly off the times of the top place getters.
So how did he like it? Read on for Joseph’s Kid’s Eye View of Red 1 Karting:
How was the experience?
Joseph Taylor (JT): I had a great time. I was a bit unsure at first but by the end I felt really confident and enjoyed it a lot.
Were you scared?
JT: Not scared, but it took a while to believe that there was really no speed limit and I could go as fast as I wanted to.
What was the hardest part?
JT: It was hard at first to negotiate the corners. I felt like I was going to crash into the wall.
Would you come again?
JT: I’d love to come again. My birthday is coming up and this is definitely an option.
Would your friends enjoy it?
JT: It would be great to bring my friends here for a party. It would be really fun to race against each other.
Joseph Taylor, 11, from Western Academy of Beijng
What: Go-kart racing on an indoor track with timed laps and weekly rankings of the best-performers. Also has a café and restaurant serving pizza, snacks and drinks. Kids 145cm and above can ride solo. Two-seater karts available for younger children to ride with a parent.
Where: 88 Laiguangying Dong Lu, Cuigezhuang, Chaoyang district (6430 6688/186 1015 8386 for English service). Open 1pm-1am Mon-Fri; 11-1am Sat-Sun & PH.
How much: 150RMB per seven minutes or bulk packages for discounted rides. Birthday packages are available.
Head to red1karting.com for more information ■