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Everything about Kelowna’s new indoor go kart facility will be state of the art

For Scott Hargrove, opening a new indoor go kart facility in Kelowna is a full-circle moment.

The professional race car driver got his start in go karts at the age of 13. Two years later, Hargrove was already travelling around the continent for his racing career.

The Vancouver product made it all the way to the level below IndyCar Series, then switched his focus to racing sports cars and has won a pair of Canadian Porsche Racing Championships.

<who>Photo Credit: Scott Hargrove Racing

In 2016, Hargrove became associated with Area 27 when the race track opened in the South Okanagan and moved full-time to the region he now calls home.

It’s been a fruitful racing career for Hargrove and he still races to this day, but he has now turned his primary focus to starting his own business.

With his specific background and a lack of any indoor go karting facilities in the Okanagan, Hargrove is in the process of creating a facility that will certainly fill a need in the valley.

Kelowna Karting is set to open at 200 Campion St. in early-to-mid April, and while Hargrove called opening a business like this “a leap of faith,” he’s confident that it will be well-received.

“It’s going to be an experience that people haven’t had before, even if they’ve done go karting,” he told KelownaNow.

As he alludes to, Kelowna Karting won’t be the kind of go karting you’ve experienced in the past with loud gas-powered karts around a boring and repetitive track.

Hargrove has secured high-performance electric racing go karts from Europe that reach speeds of 60 km/h and also have some impressive safety features that make use of technology and real-time positioning.

<who>Photo Credit: Kelowna Karting

He calls the go karts state of the art and notes that no one in British Columbia, and he believes Canada, is using this type of safety system.

“It’s the same thing as you can imagine with street cars,” Hargrove explained. “The technology is evolving rapidly right now and the lithium battery technology has allowed the go karts to become way lighter.”

The light-weight nature of the go karts offers up a much more dynamic driving experience and they’re both more responsive and quicker than their predecessors.

“If (people) tried (electric go karts) 10 years ago they might have been underwhelmed, but I can assure you that these new ones will be quite the surprise for a lot of people,” he said.

And it’s not just the go karts that will impress people, as Hargrove promises a fun and exciting track layout that will keep people coming back for more.

Instead of just getting a European firm to design a track, he used his extensive racing experience to design his own and it was an extensive labour of love.

“It’s fitting as much as you possibly could into this building,” Hargrove said of designing a track that made use of all 48,000 square feet of indoor space available to him. “I think I went through about 35 different revisions of this track.”

<who>Photo Credit: Kelowna Karting</who>The two track layouts.

The end result was an 11-turn course with three exciting straightaways. He touts the course as challenging, “not just a dumb-down track that will bore people.”

Along with the main track, Kelowna Karting will also have a simple junior track that will allow younger children to get a taste of go karting.

The junior track will also have its own smaller go karts, for kids that are 48 inches tall or more and Hargrove predicts that will cover most between ages 8-12.

To get access to the full-sized karts on the full-sized track, you will need to be 57 inches tall or more and Hargrove says that should be suitable for almost everyone 13 years and older.

Another cool feature at Kelowna Karting will be on-board cameras that can capture your whole race and immediately get added to your registered profile as you exit the track.

"We're really trying to bring a top-level experience and that comes from both the track and the karts,” he explained.

Kelowna Karting also has Entertainment Centre in the name and Hargrove admits that a full-fledged entertainment area on the building’s upper mezzanine will be a future project.

For now, while they get everything up and running, they offer a single private room for things like group gatherings and birthday parties.

As for pricing, Hargrove says a single race will cost just under $30, but the cost becomes cheaper if you do more than one race.

Most people will typically aim for three races in one trip to a go kart facility and that would set someone back around $60 at Kelowna Karting.

For the next two or three weeks, Hargrove is offering some significant discounts on early-bird bulk packages, so if you think you’ll be a frequent visitor to Kelowna Karting when it opens you should check those out.

Keep an eye on Kelowna Karting’s Facebook and Instagram pages for updates on their progress as they zoom toward a grand opening in early-to-mid April.

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