As go-karting provides the gateway to ever-growing, super-sophisticated motor sports such as Formula 1, Indy, NASCAR, dragster and motocross, embracing the fun is the only way to go. Whether you’re a hobbyist or adrenaline junkie, go-karts are great for groups of kids or adults, building confidence and encouraging camaraderie. Start your engines and get your fix at South Bay’s best go-kart facilities.
45957 Hotchkiss St
Fremont, CA 94539
Hours: Mon – 3 p.m to 9 p.m; Tue to Thurs – 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Fri – 12 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Sat – 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sun – 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Price: $15* outdoor track/$20* indoor track/$50 junior driver’s school
Feel the excitement build with every twist and turn at LeMans. Engage in wheel-to-wheel racing on Fremonts indoor, outdoor and combination mega track. Endurance racing is available Tuesday and Thursday evenings, challenging both beginner and advanced skill sets. Put a little heat in the kids’ competition with the youth racing league. Medals go to all drivers, but the top three are awarded trophies. The Junior Racers Program, held Saturdays and Sundays, is mandatory for young drivers, ages 11 to 17, who hold no permit. A state driver’s license is required to operate each kart otherwise.
2400 Kitty Hawk Rd.
Livermore, CA 94551
Hours: Mon to Thurs – 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Fri – 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sat – 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sun – 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Price: $24.99 unlimited play pass four hours/$29.99 six hours/$49.99 season pass premium
The unlimited attraction promotion at Boomers is the best deal around for daily entertainment, but if you see yourself as a repeat customer, invest in the season pass. Patrons receive four hours of unlimited go-kart, bumper boat, laser tag and mini golf access for $24.99. Throw in the new hot dog combo for $5.49 (hot dog, small fries, small drink) and you also get 30 minutes of unlimited video game time. Karts accommodate single and double riders on an outdoor track. All drivers must wear secure shoes (meaning no flip flops or backless shoes).
Umigo Indoor Kart Racing
6538 Patterson Pass Rd.
Livermore, CA 94550
Hours: Mon – 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Tue to Thurs – 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Fri – 12 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Sat – 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sun – 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Price: $25* adult/$15 Youth 10 to 18/$60 junior license (*non members)
Where rain would shut down an outside track, the family owned Umigo Indoor Kart Racing provides year-round accessibility. More than 20 track designs switch up every two to three weeks to keep the joint revving with new, exciting action. Every other Friday night, Umigo turns the track into The Grid. For the 16 and older crowd, it’s dancing strapped into a go-kart with music blasting, lights dimmed and party lights surrounding the facility. Race suits and helmets are provided to all approved drivers (ages 10 to 15 must show race certification) after watching a five-minute video on karting basics.
Go Kart Racer
1541 Adrian Rd.
Burlingame, CA 94010
Hours: Mon to Thurs – 12 p.m. to 10 p.m; Fri – 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.; Sat – 10 a.m. to 12 a.m.; Sun – 10 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Prices: $20 kid karts/hot laps/$25 adults/hot lap/$40 race/$60 grand prix
With a lap time averaging one minute, more than 20 turns, two chicanes and an elevation change, the SuperTrack beats all in South Bay. Split in two, it becomes the Yokohama Tire course, appealing to those with a taste for high speed; and the more technical Monza course. Unlike other high-performance racing facilities, Go Kart Racer offers kid karts to drivers ages 8 to 11, which are 3.5 horsepower instead of 9.5, and top off out at 15 m.p.h. instead of 40.
Malibu Grand Prix
340 Blomquist St.
Redwood City, CA 94063
Hours: Mon to Thurs – 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Fri – 12 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Sat – 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sun – 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Price: $3 turbo/grand prix/$4 early bird laps, first hour of the day/$14.95 individual laps/$4 four laps/grand prix/two seater/$5 early bird laps, first hour of the day/$16.95 individual laps four
For family outings, Malibu Grand Prix provides a heavy dose of nostalgia. These are the karts you remember growing up with as a kid. The Turbo course requires drivers be 56 inches or taller, while the Grand Prix race track requires drivers be 16 and older with a valid state driver’s license. If you’re chasing the checkered flag in a two-seater, the qualified driver must be 18. Younger members of the group may take their driving ambitions to the mini golf course, bumper boats area or the well-stocked game room for virtual driving excitement.
Robyn Chelsea-Seifert is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. Her work has appeared in The Miami Herald, Creem, Hit Parader, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel and International Musician. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.