Looking for something new and fun to try, mama? Give Go Karting a go at The Karting Arena.
Adrenaline junkies, F1 fans, and anyone who’s tired of the same old kids’ birthday parties, rejoice: The Karting Arena @ Bukit Timah has finally opened, and fun in Singapore will never be the same again!
Sassy Singapore Editor Liyana and I had the chance to tour the newly-opened facility (and take a spin ourselves!) last week with Singapore’s only female race car driver and The Karting Arena’s Marketing Director, the totally badass Claire Jedrek. Claire’s fiancé, decorated Porsche Carrera Cup Asia driver Yuey Tan, is The Karting Arena’s founder, and between the two of them you’d be hard pressed to find two bigger gearheads in Singapore – these two know their cars, mama!
A few quick facts to ease worried mama minds:
- Safety is of the utmost importance. The Karting Arena is actually subjected to the same strict safety inspection standards as the roller coasters at Universal Studios – and these cars don’t even leave the ground!
- Kids and non-licensed drivers are limited to a safe speed of 30km/h (electronically controlled by the crew), and cars can actually be automatically slowed to 10km/h in the event of an accident or hazard on the track. The track itself is lined with TECPRO barriers – the very same state-of-the-art barriers you would have just seen along the Singapore GP circuit!
- The cars are the best you’ll find at a karting facility anywhere in the world – they cost about $20,000 apiece (compared to the $4,000-$5,000 models you’ll find elsewhere). They’ve got features like roll bars (though with a max speed of 50km/h, it’s virtually impossible to roll over), electronic lights, and adjustable seats to ensure kids ride comfortably (there is a minimum height requirement of 1.4metres, however). Constructed from ultra-light carbon fiber, they’re electric (rather than petrol-filled), which keeps them cooler and extra safe. Cars also receive daily maintenance checks from the expert crew.
- Helmets come with full face protection and The Karting Arena cleans them off with the very same high-tech Porsche ionizers used by F1 drivers. So no need to worry about wearing some stranger’s sweaty, stinky helmet, mama!
- The Karting Arena currently doesn’t take advanced bookings (unless you book the whole place out for an event). At the moment weekdays are pretty clear (so after school might be the best time to swing by with your energetic primary schoolers!), while weekends have seen waits of up to 2.5 hours — right around lunchtime is when it’s busiest. Fortunately the indoor simulator area is quite comfortable and, mercifully, air-conditioned!
- There’s a minimum age requirement of 9 years old, but The Karting Arena’s also got state-of-the-art driving simulators to entertain younger siblings who don’t quite make the cut. Anyone who’s a bit nervous to drive on the track for the first time can also practice with simulated laps; F1 and Porsche Cup circuits are also available for practice!
- Car racing is filled with benefits for kids: it improves hand-eye coordination and concentration, and between calculating your lap times and estimating turning angles you do a fair bit of math while you’re driving as well! You’ve also got to be aware of your peripherals, like who’s around you and what turn is coming up next. Plus, as Claire points out, “This sport is so positive. You can only look forward, there’s no benefit to dwelling on mistakes, you can really just focus on improving.” Sounds like a good life lesson!
So how was the driving? OMG, sooo much fun, mama! Drivers are allotted eight minutes to get in as many laps as they can. That’ll probably be 6-8 laps, unless you’re a pro. Yuey holds the current track record at 31.811 seconds for a lap, as evidenced by the super fun, Top Gear-style leaderboard.
Liyana and I tried out cars with both the 30km/h and 50km/h speed limits; the latter possesses a lot more zip and pick-up. Until then I never knew what it truly meant to zoom! It took me a couple laps to get a feel for the course, but after that I was able to start calculating when I should accelerate or when I should steer into a turn (full disclosure: I also spun out twice. It was never scary, though!). The cars are fairly quiet, but they do lack power steering, so it helps to have strong arms, mama!
I’m proud to say I won our head-to-head competition (what can I say? I’m competitive) with a top lap of 48.81 seconds. After we slowed down and pulled into the pit lane, I just couldn’t stop smiling. I can’t wait to get back on the track and break 40 seconds!
The Karting Arena is located at 200 Turf Club Road, #01-01B The Grandstand (South Carpark), located just behind The Tennis Club.
Opening Hours: Tue – Sun, 10am – 10pm.
How Much: First timers pay $50, including a onetime registration fee, 2 simulator rides, and 1 track circuit. Subsequent circuits are $25 (Tue-Thu) and $30 (Fri-Sun). Group Bookings start from $1,498 with GST.
Who can drive: Children must be at least 9 years old and 1.4m tall. Kids and adults without a valid driver’s license are restricted to 30km/h; licensed drivers can opt for the 50km/h car if they wish.
The Karting Arena, 200 Turf Club Road, #01-01B The Grandstand (South Carpark), Singapore 287994, Tel: (+65) 9627 6771, www.thekartingarena.com
All fabulous photos courtesy of Sugarlight Photography. Thank you, Gunilla!