‘Not your Wisconsin Dells GO KARTS’
Veloce Indoor Speedway offers adrenaline fix

By Katherine Michalets - Freeman Staff

Aug. 23, 2015

A racer runs on the track at Veloce Indoor Speedway in the City of Pewaukee on Friday.
See video of a lap around the track at http://bit.ly/WKAgokart
.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

Drivers with no experience and those with past racing experience are both able to test their ability to maneuver an Italian-made go kart that can reach speeds up to 50 mph around the track. Like Indy cars, the OTL go karts with 48-volt motors make noise as they accelerate and respond quickly to pressure on the gas and brake pedals.

Growing up watching Formula One car races and attending the annual Montreal Grand Prix — the first time in my mother’s womb — I was eager to get behind the wheel of the go kart that racing enthusiasts have been driving at Veloce.

Each driver is given a clean head sock and a loaner helmet before getting tightly strapped into a kart. The left foot is used to control the brake and the right foot manipulates the gas pedal, to which it doesn’t take too much time to become accustomed.

Racers head through the curves on Friday at Veloce Indoor Speedway in the City of Pewaukee.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

The karts are directed to slowly leave the pit lane and get out onto the track. A track monitor uses different colored flags to signal the start of the race, the last lap, a need for caution and if you need to yield to a faster driver. And then of course there is the checkered flag.

(I must admit that when I passed by the checkered flag I wanted to do a fist pump in the air like I have seen so many racing greats do, but I restrained myself considering I was lapped several times by the more experienced drivers.) There is a track bumper system set up that is new to the United States. It has springs to push the kart back onto the track, which in my case, was needed a few times when I attempted to navigate a turn too quickly and started to slide.

The karts are fully charged between races so they have optimal speed. They also have more front-end torque than other common karts, and are equipped with hydraulic brakes and full slick tires.

“It’s definitely not your Wisconsin Dells go karts,” said head mechanic Josh Kolbach, who along with General Manager Rob Sweetman joined me on the track Friday afternoon.

It’s definitely a benefit to be in good physical condition to race in one of Veloce’s karts, because even a 10-minute ride is mentally and physically tiring — at least for those less experienced.

Adults, children and families are all welcomed at Veloce. There are 40 adult karts for people 56 inches and taller and junior karts for those 48 inches and taller. Children cannot partner up with an adult in a kart.
 

Plenty of customers

Even though Veloce only opened a week ago, Sweetman said he has been pleasantly surprised by the number of people who have walked through the doors. The facility is able to host birthday and corporate parties and has individual race tickets, as well as packages available.

There are two tracks in use at Veloce, which is located in the former American of Madison store at W229-N1400 Westwood Drive. Sweetman described one track as more technical with a higher concentration of hairpins and turns, while the second track, which is less technical, allows for faster lap times. The winner of each race is determined by the person who has the fastest track time.

A combination of the two tracks, referred to as the super track, will be available once a month in the future. Veloce’s hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday, 10 a.m. to midnight Saturday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.

Sweetman said he tries to get out on the track at least once per day to interact with customers and to stay energized.

After one race around the course, I am definitely itching to improve my race track performance.

https://velocemilwaukee.com


Email: kmichalets@conleynet.com