Electric go-karting has been a little slow to develop in the United States, but K1 Speed is changing that.
Headquartered in Irvine, Ca, K1 Speed is entering its 17th year in business and plans to expand to several new countries within the next couple of years. The company sounds determined to continue being at the forefront of popularizing electric go-kart racing in the United States as well.
“We’re the pioneers of electric go-karting in the United States,” K1 Speed Advertising and Brand Marketing Manager Randall Hoppe said. “We’re kind of unparalleled here for sure.”
One of the most prominent K1 Speed American locations is right near the company hub in Irvine. Built in 2005, Irvine is one of just a few K1 Speed locations that have two tracks, which enables Irvine to handle twice as many racers.
“This location is kind of the crown-jewel of K1,” Hoppe said. “All of the new experiences that we offer tend to run through here.”
Worldwide, the company served hundreds of thousands of customers in 2018.
Also helping to make the Irvine location unique, both tracks are asphalt, which creates a very different racing experience. Most of the other locations around the U.S. have concrete tracks.
On top of go-karting at K1 Speed in Irvine, racers can enjoy upscale food and beverage options at the Paddock Lounge. Irvine also serves as sort of the “guinea pig” for the rest of the company, as many products, specialty promotional event nights and menu items are first released at Irvine. If they test well, K1 Speed will make those items and events available at other tracks around the country.
K1 Speed hosts a race league nationwide called Challenge GP on the first Sunday of every month. This 3-race format is for the company’s die hard customers, and as many as 60 racers participate at every location. Based on performance, racers will collect points, which accumulate throughout the year, and then at the end of the year, the highest point earners will earn cash prizes.
While each location runs its league independently, the points system works nationally as well. In addition to cash prizes, the Top 50 racers will be part of the company’s yearly Hall of Fame.
Racers must be at least 14 years old to participate, but K1 Speed also has a Juniors league for younger racers. That league is held across the country on the first Tuesday of every month.
This year, K1 Speed will host its first ever E-World Championship, where the company will crown a world champion. There are several steps in order for racers to qualify for this event.
First, K1 Speed will invite every location champion to a state championship race. That will narrow the contest down to 12.
Then all of those racers will square off at the U.S. Championship held at the Irvine location on March 23. The following day, the U.S. champion will then race the other fastest racers from the K1 Speed International locations.
The racer with the most points at the end of the competition will become the inaugural K1 Speed World Champion and win $15,000. Second and third place will earn $7,500 and $3,500, respectively.
Seven different countries will be represented during the final race to crown a world champion in 2019. But with K1 Speed growing both in the United States and internationally, their world championship race and title should only receive more participants and become more prestigious in the next decade.
K1 Speed is featured in Driven Episode 7 which airs Sunday, March 24th, at 5:30 p.m. on YurView Cox Channel 4 and again on Wednesday, March 27th, at 7 p.m.