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F1 DRIVE London Indoor Karting Reviewed. The Best Experience Of Karting Yet.

07/03/2024 by .
F1 DRIVE London Indoor Karting

Andy Mossack reviews the recently opened F1 DRIVE London indoor Karting at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

When details of the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium were released, there was plenty of excitement about the promised state-of-the-art facilities; the roll away pitch, the longest bar in Europe, the fastest pint pour in history, the impressive dining options, as well as the jaw dropping architecture.

Now, almost five years on from its opening, this iconic 60,000-seater stadium has become the gold standard for any future sporting arena development. The add on opportunities outside of football and NFL matches are endless. Stadium tours, the Skywalk roof climb and The Edge fast descent are money-spinners of course, while promotors are queuing up to book it for outdoor pop and rock concerts and other big events.

But now there’s a new attraction that seems to have slipped in under the radar. F1 DRIVE London Indoor Karting. A sensational 15-year partnership deal between Spurs and Formula 1 to provide a thrilling indoor karting circuit underneath the giant South Stand. Something of a coup for Tottenham and a first for F1 who is looking to expand the official brand into other associated sectors.

F1 DRIVE London Indoor Karting

And I have to say, they have made a total triumph out of the whole set up, from start to finish. It is, without doubt, the best karting experience I have ever had short of driving a professional kart set up. There. I’ve laid my cards on the table.

There are three circuit options at  F1 DRIVE London Indoor Karting– all designed and overseen by Formula 1. The adult-only Elite Session is essentially the whole circuit system; a 500-metre track with 17 turns and tricky chicanes. A proper challenge for confident drivers. The Sprint Track is a shorter technical 360-metre circuit with just 9 turns, designed for drivers of all abilities. Finally, the Future Stars option is for junior racers aged 8-10, a 180-metre circuit with 8 turns.

Each circuit option offers two 15-minute sessions. One to orient and learn about the kart technology, and the other, a full-on race with starting grid positions decided by fastest driver times from the first session.

Speaking of kart technology, this is where the magic happens. Specifically designed in association with Formula 1, the fully electric karts are packed with tech. The steering wheels feature an 18 cm digital display, providing data and updates such as lap times, live race position, boost level, track flag safety.

There are also two short boost buttons the same as those in F1 cars. ERS (energy recover system) and DRS (drag reduction system – great for getting a boost for overtaking) and during the race you’ll receive audio as to when you should use them. You’ll also receive in-race updates from a virtual engineer and driving tips from regular F1 commentator David Croft and analyst Naomi Schiff. The engine roar you hear in your helmet is from onboard recordings of audio from F1 cars from the 2023 season.

With all this going on around you, you might struggle to find the right buttons to press at the right times, let alone concentrate on the track in front! But it really brings home the pressure and concentration professional drivers have to contend with during a real race.

F1 DRIVE London Indoor Karting

F1 DRIVE London Indoor Karting Reviewed  (C) Andy Mossack

For my F1 DRIVE London Indoor Karting experience, I tried out the Elite Session. Clearly, they could see my potential as a professional driver in their midst, my steely eyes holding that competitive stare. I had this.

After checking in at the the reception at the rear of the Spurs Shop, I was led through to the locker area, where I donned my F1 DRIVE London protective race suit and balaclava. All suited up, it was time for the race briefing where I got to meet my four fellow competitors for the first time. The tension was palpable. But I gave them the eyes.  I wasn’t fazed. In that small theatre David Croft and Naomi Schiff took us through the do’s and don’ts of race etiquette and I could sense my fellow racers were silently haughty, gagging for a chance to break the rules to beat me.

Seeing the  circuit for the first time, you realise what Spurs and F1 have created. The space is cavernous. What was once a match day car park has been transformed into a sensational racing circuit complete with overhead lighting, giant digital screens, a restaurant, podium, and a real workshop space. There’s also a a fan zone area with a line of full-size VR5 full-motion simulators (free to use for racers), a pit stop challenge section (which I had my eye on for later) and a wall of F1 memorabilia with race-worn gear from current teams.

Petrol head paradise.

But it was time to race. I felt more daggers as my digital name appeared on the giant screen placed in the front kart for the practice session. Deep down I already felt a winner. Clearly the racing gods were with me, and I could sense that podium spot being readied.

I donned my helmet and climbed in. it was a tight squeeze, but as the seats were adjustable, I slid, back, and with one foot above the brake and the other on the gas I was ready to rock.

F1 DRIVE London Indoor Karting

The practice session was only 15 minutes, but trust me, it felt like an hour. It was an adrenaline rush: learning the circuit, listening to the virtual engineer shouting instructions, managing hair pin turns and pushing boost buttons. Arms aching, back pounding I returned to the pits confidently sensing a pole position for the actual race.

I climbed out for a drink and a quick breather and checked the race starting grid times. 4th out of 5! What???

Oh the shame, but with my virtual engineer giving me a supportive pep talk I was ready to climb my way back, the podium still beckoned.

The next 15 minutes literally raced by, as I pressed the pedal to the metal intent on clawing my way back to the front. Sadly, the concentration waned, and I spun twice dumping me down to last. Last!  Grabbing the last remnants of my tattered dignity, I shook hands and sloped away to dry my tears.

But what an experience. An absolute rush from start to finish.

I’m pleased to say I got my own back on the simulator, 15 laps of Brand’s Hatch and a lap record!

F1 DRIVE London Indoor Karting

F1 DRIVE London Indoor Karting

After a quiet coffee and a rest we joined together as a team for the Pit Stop Challenge. Could we beat the 1.8 seconds real pit teams take to change a F1 tyre? We managed 7.73 seconds which I think was acceptable for first timers.

F1 DRIVE London Indoor Karting is the closest experience you’ll get to professional karting. It’s the biggest indoor circuit in Europe, and an absolute masterstroke by Tottenham’s management to realise the potential the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium can generate.

I just hope the football team can echo the success. We can only dream!

Images Tottenha Hotspur, Antony Jones/Getty Images and Andy Mossack.

Tell me more about F1 DRIVE London Indoor Karting

F1 DRIVE London Indoor Karting, The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London N17 0AP.

UK: 020 3929 1882,  Overseas: +44 20 3929 1882

Open hours for phone line Monday – Friday: 10:00 – 17:00 and Saturday 10:00-16:00.

E: contactus@f1drivelondon.com

Tickets: Future Stars Rookie Racers from £35, Mixed Grid Sprint Track from £55, Elite Session from £85.


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