52 States in 8 Months

Kart Racing!!!

Posted in Newark by Ulf on March 7, 2009

kart1On Friday evening Alvaro (about 60kg), Gonzalo (about 70kg), Iñaki (about 90kg), Mauricio (about 70kg) and I (about 70kg) went to MidAtlantic Grand Prix, a local Kart racing facility. Alvaro, Iñaki and Mauricio are my room mates, and Gonzalo is a friend of Iñaki.
To make it short: It was astonishing! We had three races (or “heats”, as they call them), and each one was absolutely great! Dear fellows in Germany, you can now start making up your excuses, because once I’m back, I want to have another go with you! I hope that Alex, Celine and Franzi will join us. The time difference between Alex and Celine should give us a good clue of the weight influence. And Franzi will have to proof that she learned to control rear-wheel driven cars at Mercedes AMG :-).

Before I write about our Friday night racing, let me briefly compare the New Castle track with the only Kart track where I’ve been to before:
evo4vonobenxlThe F1-Bistro / Kartodrom in Drakenburg has a longer track. A lap takes about 44s (lightweight Wümmi) to 46s (me) in Drakenburg. Or roughly 50s for my lightweight sister ;-). The lap times here in New Castle are about 24 seconds. Also, it’s much cheaper in Germany. In Drakenburg you can drive for 20 minutes and only pay €17. Here you can drive only 8 minutes for $20 (which are currently about 16€). The karts in Germany are stronger, too. They produce 8hp while the Karts in New Castle only do 6.5 hp. Maybe that is also the reason why the track in Germany felt more slippery than the track in New Castle.

trackBut you know what? All this doesn’t matter at all. Once you’re out there, everybody has the same track and the same karts. Just the bellies are different ;-). Oh, and the nationalities. Since Iñaki and I always tease each other, we also did this on our way to the track. We ended up agreeing that I had to defend my Germanness on the track. The prestige of Schumacher, Vettel, Heidfeld, Glock, Rosberg and Sutil was at stake. Iñaki however declined to take Alonso’s reputation in his hand, since Alonso is Spanish and not Basque. Mauricio’s and Alvaro’s guardian angel was Montoya, the most aggressive driver Formula One racing has seen in the recent years. After all, we had enough eagerness to go for it!

In Heat #1 we had 10 karts on the track. Among the five of us, Alvaro was the quickest one. His best lap was a 24.029 and he averaged 25.520s in 18 laps. The most particular event in this race was Iñaki’s 10th lap which took him 72s. His engine stalled, so he was standing near the apex of the first corner on the track. We had to lap him twice until the track stewards restarted his engine. I really liked this race because there was some action on the track all the time.

kart2Only two foreign drivers joined us in Heat #2, so there were only seven karts. There were no really slow or really fast drivers on the track, so we could mostly drive without traffic. Once again, Alvaro did the quickest lap in 23.300s while my best lap was a 24.123. On average however, I was .4 of a second faster than Alvaro. The second battle in our field was between Gonzalo and Iñaki. While Gonzalo was the faster one in the first stint, Iñaki beat him this time. Gonzalo was trying so hard to get better lap times, he must even have pushed another car. The Stewards black-flagged him and gave him a 30s safety address. Only Mauricio didn’t really improve in relation to the previous race. His best lap was still around 26.3s.

To settle all disputes, we had to go for the final Heat #3. There were nine drivers in the grid which promised once again a lot of fights on the tarmac. And the race fulfilled all expectations. Two of the foreign drivers were professionals who did 22s lap times constantly. Behind them I managed to do my fastest lap, a 23.411. This was 10ms quicker than Alvaro’s best lap in this leg. I was also starting to drive more constantly, doing 24.808s on average which was once again quicker than Alvaro. On the last three positions from the back there were Gonzalo, Iñaki and Mauricio. Mauricio finally did a 25.390 which was close to Iñaki’s best lap (25.110s). However, Iñaki said that his kart was not doing so well after someone bumped into it, so he had no chance against Gonzalo this time.
To be honest, I have to add that Alvaro’s kart was completely refueled while my tank was only half way full. I assume that Alvaro would have once again been quicker than me if he had less mass to carry around the track.

bild5750

After all, I think that the honor and glory of both Schumacher and Montoya were successfully preserved. With his slowness, Iñaki also managed to disgrace Alonso ;-). Just kidding. Anyway, I promised to put our lap data into MATLAB and generate some useless charts. Since you’re not interested, you won’t download this mat-file with all lap times.

This is the total time we spent on the track:

  1. Gonzalo: 1363s
  2. Iñaki: 1362s
  3. Alvaro: 1358s
  4. Mauricio: 1349s
  5. Ulf: 1338s

Gonzalo, you got the most fun for your money!

These are the slowest three laps of each of us:

  • Iñaki: 72.6s, 33.8s, 29.9s
  • Gonzalo: 57.7s, 30.8s, 30.5s
  • Alvaro: 46.0s, 40.7s, 30.7s
  • Mauricio: 34.7s, 32.4s, 31.3s
  • Ulf: 31.2s, 29.9s, 29.7s

It seems that Mauricio and I were the most constant drivers. Or, maybe we were just lucky when it comes to the direction into which we were heading after spinning.

Now, I also promised to prepare a graph. Here it is: All our lap times with a linear interpolation. One can easily see that both Iñaki (-0.09s/lap) and Mauricio (-0.08s/lap) had the best learning slopes while Gonzalo was driving very constantly all the time (-0.003s/lap).
kart_evolution

Thank you guys! It was really a pleasure! Whenever anyone of you wants to go there again, I’ll join you!

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  1. […] For example, just a few minutes ago Susi complained that I did not mention her when I challenged Alex, Celine and Franzi to a kart race (Susi, I hope you know that I would like to have a race with you more than with any […]

  2. […] it is the experience of having tossed money out of the window. If you really want to have fun, go to some Go-Kart track. It’s cheaper, much more fun and way safer! no comments yet « The swine flu […]


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