• U.S.

Go-Karting For Executives

2 minute read
Sarah Sturmon Dale

TREND High-performance karts are replacing golf on corporate outings

HOW IT STARTED Popular in Europe, they were brought to the U.S. by Swedish driver Stefan Johansson, who opened a track in Indianapolis

JUDGMENT CALL In the age of NASCAR, it should have a decent ride

Tires squeal. Engines rev. No, it’s not NASCAR or Indy. It’s the sound of a new generation of high-performance go-karts, which are gaining popularity as an alternative to golf and tennis at those spirit-building corporate outings. At F1 Boston, one of the nation’s classiest tracks, companies are shelling out an average of $15,000 to $20,000 to hold sales meetings at the 106,000-sq.-ft. two-track facility with full conference amenities. “Everybody has been to too many cocktail parties and golf outings,” says owner Richard J. Valentine.

But don’t be fooled by their name and appearance. At 2 in. off the ground and with a top speed of 40 m.p.h., these karts are a far cry from the bumpy rides of youth. Drivers need concentration and nerve as well as helmets, race gear and instructions. “These things drive and feel very much like a race car,” says Tim Sernett, a former race-car driver and part owner of ProKart Indoors in Minneapolis, Minn. That thrill has captivated corporate America, say track operators, who expect the number of tracks nationwide, now about 30, to double in the next three to five years.

–By Sarah Sturmon Dale

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