Isabella Garcia spent her 12th birthday racing her brother, Jorge Garcia Jr., 10, and her cousin, Leila Rodriguez, 9, down the tracks at the new K-1 Speed in Miami. She chose to spend her birthday racing after her brother told her about a birthday party he went to at the K-1 Speed in Hollywood.
“It was really fun,” said Isabella. “This place is awesome.”
The Miami K-1 Speed, which opened last month, is the 22nd facility nationwide for the indoor go-kart racing company. The first one opened in Carlsbad, California, in 2003. The company wants to grow to 40 locations nationwide.
“The idea of opening a location in Miami was thought of by the owners in 2011,” said Ken Allday, general manager of K-1 Speed Miami. “It took time to find the right location.”
After three years of searching, K-1 Speed Miami has a home at 8600 NW South River Dr. in Medley.
Allday hopes the 41,000-square-foot warehouse will soon steal the title as K-1’s No. 1 location in the nation.
“The one in [Hollywood] is the No. 1 location in the nation for K-1 Speed,” he said. “About 70 percent of the customers that go to that location are from Miami.”
First-time racers must register, sign a safety waiver and pay a $6 annual license fee, along with paying the racing costs.
Each race around the tracks is 14 laps for adults and 12 laps for junior racers. One 14-lap race costs $19.99. There are different deals for the number of races you buy. Racers drive 20-horsepower electric carts that can reach speeds approaching 45 mph.
Before racers step into a go-kart, they are briefed on the rules of the track. Since safety is the main concern, every racer needs to know how to operate the vehicle and what each flag means when it is waved, said Allday.
One flag indicates when the race is done, another that a racer is bumping the gutters too much, and another for when a racer isn’t following the rules and must stop.
When racers don’t follow the rules after a warning, they will not be allowed to continue racing.
Christopher Carricaburu, 23, and Alexander Tarin, 24, heard about the Miami location through word of mouth from friends almost two months ago. They knew about the Hollywood location, on Stirling Road just west of Interstate 95, but never visited because they didn’t want to drive that far.
Their trip to K-1 Speed Miami was the first time either had raced go-karts.
“I can’t say anything else but the adrenaline,” said Tarin. “It is relaxing after.”