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From 2-hp lawnmowers to high-torque 18-hp electric motors: How veteran racers built a family pastime

September 1, 2020

It was called Kart 1.

Powered by a 2-cycle lawnmower engine atop a makeshift tubular chassis, the world’s first-ever kart wasn’t much to look at. But it sure was fun to drive.

Imagined by veteran hot rodder and race car builder Art Ingels in 1956, the leftover engine from a bankrupt lawnmower company produced just 2 horsepower to the left rear wheel through a countershaft constructed of bicycle chains, sprockets, and a centrifugal clutch.

Ingels’ kart turned heads from its first ride. And when it debuted at the Sonoma Car Race, interest took off. So a year later, three Californians opened the Go Kart Manufacturing Company and started producing on a large scale.

Fast forward to the ‘90s. Karting became the test track for some of the greatest names in Formula 1 racing. FI greats like Kimi Raikkonen, seven times world champion Michael Schumacher and Max Verstappen, the youngest ever F1 driver, all got their starts behind the tight-turning wheels of a kart.

A new generation and the need for speed.

Soon, the country was dotted with small, dusty, outdoor tracks that offered a handful of noxious-smelling, gas-powered karts. These bone-jarring, chain-rattling karts can’t compare to the karts of today – like the high-torque, high-speed, German-built RiMO karts we have at Supercharged Entertainment in Wrentham — and yet, adults and kids still loved them!

No family activities, it seemed, could match the adrenaline rush of a kart!

Eventually, gas karts were replaced by electric ones, allowing for the indoor karting explosion we have today. While the average kart enthusiast is about 30 years old, the sport is growing fastest among kids. Karting is safer now, with karts and tracks designed for safety first, in a family-friendly environment.

Karting is now the world’s most popular motorsport.

More than 35 million Americans participate in the sport of karting annually. What makes it so popular? Here at Supercharged , we have a few theories:

1. Karting indoors is year-round fun.

Outdoor tracks don’t have snowplows. At Supercharged Entertainment, our 125,000-square-foot facility features the world’s largest multi-level indoor karting track. So even if it’s raining or snowing outdoors, racing conditions are perfect inside. Racers can improve their skills all winter long. Supercharged’s racing leagues run all year long, too.

2. There’s nothing like karting.

When was the last time a game of mini-golf got your adrenaline pumping? In a Supercharged state-of-the-art go-kart it feels like driving your own roller coaster for an unparalleled entertainment experience you won’t get anywhere else.

3. Karting Is great for all ages.

Don’t let the high-revving sound effects of the karts fool you. Our karts are all electric, so there are no noxious odors. Plus, every kart is engineered with the very latest safety features. That makes karting the ultimate activity for family time, kids’ birthday parties, team gatherings, as well as adult events. Drivers must be at least 4’ 10” – no driver’s license required.

4. Karting memories last.

Imagine racing the kids around an 80,000-square-foot Supertrack and NOT talking about it after! Karting is more than insane fun; it builds bonds and levels of trust, as family members jockey for position in an environment that’s both intense and unforgettable.

5. Karting boosts confidence.

You don’t have to win a heat to feel like you’ve accomplished something. Karting is both a mental and physical activity, as you maneuver high speeds, hairpin turns and other drivers.

And while there are no scientific studies to prove it, karting might even make you a better driver for the ride home.

Karting may have started as an outdoor racing event, but has developed over time to become the insanely fun, family-friendly pastime it is today.

Supercharged Entertainment has taken this concept and ramped it up to include additional attractions that offer something for everyone. Where karting will go in the future, only time will tell, but where you will go this weekend should be an easy decision. Visit SuperchargedE.com to start making plans today and experience the insane fun of Supercharged Entertainment.