Vegas Superkarts puts a speedy amusement spin on Sin City

AT: Dean Lamanna

LAS VEGAS — Sin City visitors seeking a pace and level of excitement greater than that generally found along the Strip can zoom up Interstate 15 to the city’s far northeastern edge, where Vegas Superkarts by Exotics Racing (VSK) will place them in spiffy go-karts for an experience combining skill and racing thrills.

Located at the 1,200-acre Las Vegas Motor Speedway complex, the new attraction, billed as the city’s longest and fastest outdoor go-kart racetrack, officially opened in mid-May following a preview period. It shares a lobby and café with, and is immediately adjacent to, Exotics Racing, which has offered driving and passenger experiences in more than 50 exotic cars — including models by Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, Aston Martin, Mercedes, Nissan and Corvette — since 2009.

Cofounder David Perisset told Amusement Today that VSK fills a recreational gap in the market. “There was no real outdoor go-kart track in Las Vegas, and it was definitely a recurring question from our customers at Exotics Racing,” he said. “Go-karts are just pure fun, and Vegas Superkarts is representative of who we are. Not only is it a great additional activity to our existing exotic car experience, it is also a fun alternative for local families and businesses.”

Sales have exceeded projections thus far, according to Perisset, and customer feedback has been “extremely positive.” He is particularly pleased with the attraction’s level of female patronage, which he said is approaching 40 percent. “That’s higher than we anticipated and a fantastic thing! In motorsports in general, we are seeing a constantly increasing number of female racers.”

Perisset pointed out that the track benefits from its dynamic layout and location. “Our go-karts reach top of speeds of over 40 mph around a track with a variety of straightaways and technical turns. The fact that it is located at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway adds to the racing atmosphere.”

Designed specifically for go-karting by Romain Thievin, cofounder of Exotics Racing, the 2,100-foot-long asphalt VSK course features 14 turns (including hairpins), fast-acceleration straightaways and professional safety barriers by Tecpro Barriers, which supplies similar equipment for Formula One auto racing. It can accommodate up to 12 karts at time. The attraction has a fleet of Sodikart SR5 270 CC (single passenger) and 2Drive (driver plus minimum 42-inch-tall passenger) four-stroke gas engine vehicles, which are more powerful than the average indoor electric kart. The minimum driver height is 55 inches.

“It’s the latest generation of gas engine go-karts,” said Perisset, who noted that Sodikart’s vehicles have an adjustable seat and pedals and a fully enclosed floor for optimal driver comfort. “Compared specifically to electric go-karts, the performance is in a different league, thanks to a much lower weight. Our go-karts are a lot more agile in the corners and have a much higher top speed.”

Safety “has always been our top priority in our various motorsports activities” at Exotics Racing, Perisset emphasized. VSK’s karts are equipped with a harness and a roll bar, and all moving mechanical components are covered to prevent injuries. Additionally, the vehicles are equipped with an electronic speed-control system that can be activated remotely by staff in case of erratic driving or an incident on the track. Customers must view a driver safety video prior to donning helmets and hitting the course.

“Our team is continuously trained for safety and operations, in cooperation with Clark County,” Perisset said. “It benefits from cross-training with our exotic car driving experience, which has been operating safely for 10 years in Las Vegas and Los Angeles [at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.]. Fred Johais, who manages our go-kart activity as well as the operations at Exotics Racing, is a former go-kart racing champion: he has all the necessary knowledge to lead our team of experts and deliver the safest, most fun experience.” 

The VSK registration process doubles as a ticket to enhanced competitive fun. On their first visit, patrons are directed to a computer terminal to enter their information and build a racer’s profile. For each session on the course, the racer’s performance, results and lap times are recorded for instant access through Exotic Racing’s website and / or VSK’s app.

“You can monitor your progress and ranking versus the records of other drivers,” Perisset said. “Every time you come to VSK, you enter a massive time trial competition.” The digital dashboard also offers information about special racing events and new products.

In mid-July, VSK officially began offering junior go-karts by way of the four-stroke, gas-powered Sodikart LR5 model — enabling kids and tweens ages eight to 14 to drive (minimum height requirement: 50 inches). Considered the safest kart in the industry for children, the vehicle’s steering wheel, in addition to its seat and pedals, is adjustable. The kart reaches a top speed of 25 mph.

“Adults cannot compete with kids at the same time, as the speed and weight difference would create a safety hazard,” Perisset said. “Adult and junior go-karts therefore run separate sessions on the track, one after the other.”

VSK offers memberships, bachelor party packages, on-site catering for corporate events, and group and private racing sessions for locals and out-of-town customers. It is the only course in Las Vegas to participate in the Sodi World Series, which hosts go-kart races throughout the year and around the world within its own network of tracks.

Said Perisset: “When you place colleagues, customers or friends in a fun and competitive environment, the opportunities to create memories are endless.”

This article appears in the AUGUST 2019 issue of Amusement Today.
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