It’s interesting as an older person to see how things change over the years. Take, for example, go-karting. In my mind, I see low-slung vehicles with thick rubber wheels powered by a noisy, two-stroke engine, spewing out fumes. I’ve only gone go-karting once in the past 10 years because my body gets beat up around the turns, but I was still excited to see what the new Rush Hour Karting in RTP would be about. I took several recon trips out to the area to see its construction happen but was blown away but what I saw, once I was able to get in for a visit on opening day. If you ever feel the need for speed, Rush Hour Karting RTP will keep you happy and smiling!
One of the first challenges you may run into is finding Rush Hour Karting! Located in the same development as the Wake Competition Center, it’s so new that maps and its address may be a bit tough. But once you get to the Wake Competition Center, work your way past the soccer fields to a new area where Rush Hour Karting sits along with the future Urban Air (indoor sky-diving) which is still under construction. Rush Hour is in a low and long, building that looks a bit like a warehouse. Step inside and you’ll be shocked at the cool setup they have here. This ain’t your father’s go-karts!
To the right, you’ve got a hostess desk and the briefing room to prepare you before a race. To the left, you’ll find a large viewing area, the concessions/kitchen area, and the registration area. And most importantly, right at the entrance to Rush Hour Karting, you’ll find the sign-up kiosks. These tablets will allow you to put in your personal information, contact information, along with signing your waiver. Rush Hour Karting is very high-tech across the board, I heard rumors that the build-out was a $10 million undertaking and it sounds about right to me!
In addition to go-kart racing, Rush Hour offers up a variety of high-end arcade games, axe throwing, and in the near future, racing simulators! The racing simulators look super interesting, with three LED screens and a racing seat, they were still being installed and configured on opening day. There’s also a large private/training room that will work well for offsite, team-building events.
But back to the go-kart racing! The track at Rush Hour is dual-level and designers from Italy were called in for this new design. Track safety is provided by super modern bumpers backed by springs around the key parts of the course. If you don’t get a membership, it’s $25 for 10 minutes at the sign-in desk but a membership will give you a discounted price on individual races. We wait about 20 minutes and then our names are called to the briefing room. We’re quickly briefed on the different flags and what to do when they are in use by staff. After the briefing, we’re given a neck sock, neck protector/collar and grab a helmet (full face, motorcycle style) and pop our personal items into a keypad locker.
We hang out a bit and then get led to the pit area where a line of electric go-karts are pulling in from a race. There are chargers overhead and karts are plugged in from an overhead rack. We’re each given a number and a spy my go-kart! Pretty cool, since it’s opening day, all of them are in pristine shape. We hop in and you’ve got a smallish racing steering wheel, brake/accelerator pedals along with a blue button on a side console along with a protected kill switch. The blue button is used if you come to a complete stop and need to reverse off the wall.
The flag is waved and our line of go-karts starts to move out. The speed is controlled in the pit area and as we approach the track, the limiter is removed and we start to crank up the speeds! These electric go-karts are quite nice, hitting speeds of 35 to 40 miles per hour and there are none of those annoying emissions. The go-karts also have large plastic bumpers and it takes a bit of time for me to account for this protective accessory as we roll around the curves. There’s one uphill to the second level where your kart bogs down a bit but otherwise, you’ve got the pedal to the medal, trying to maximize your speed. Over the course of 10 minutes, I get about 11 laps in while the leader hits over 13 laps and has a 3 to 4 second lead for average lap time (31 to 36 seconds)!
On the way out, there’s a winner’s photo kiosk where you can pose for a post-race picture and claim your dominance! Photos are texted to you afterward in both video and image formats, a very nice touch. Except for the fact that I came in last, boo! As I leave the pit area, I head on over to a 2nd floor viewing and observation area which has a great view of the go-karts zipping about, very cool.
All I can say is that Rush Hour Karting is SUPER impressive. I may not be here that often to race but appreciate all the work and thought put into this brand new, spankin’ facility! It doesn’t seem like many expenses were spared and when they get the food/drinks and racing simulators running, it will be very cool to drop in for a visit. Congrats to Adam, the owner, for getting this concept up and running even during the pandemic. He definitely deserves a checkered flag and victory lap for getting Rush Hour Karting up and running!