The over-riding question on the bus heading out to AsiaWorld-Expo was: would 8 minutes of track time be worth $280. It sounds a lot, written in black and white like that. But, oh what fun it is and after that first run you’ll be smiling and grinning like a kid and like Oliver you’ll be asking “Can I have some more….”
The 650metre track and the max speed available will seem a touch conservative to some; but given the wide range of driving abilities in Hong Kong the balance of safety v fun isn’t bad, with one caveat which I’ll mention later. You can carry enough speed into the corners to get the rear to hang out and the straights are more like shallow curves where the restricted max speed doesn’t become to obvious.
The RIMO karts are electric powered from Germany and smooth and simple to drive. There’s a maximum of eleven carts on the track at any one time and plenty of overtaking spots exist so ‘back-markers’ will rarely hold you back.
The track designed by Michael Kolbinger (Michael Schumacher’s racetrack designer), is one where you can drive and have fun (get too ‘dangerous’ and you’ll be black flagged) or drive looking to hit every apex for that smooth single lap qualifying time. After just a day of karting the ‘lap record’ for the current track and kart settings is 52 seconds. It’ll be interesting to how low it will go over the next few weeks.
You’ll race rain or shine, so bring a spare set of clothes if rain is forecast. Our first session was on a damp track after a short sharp shower and it showed that a damp/wet track will be lots of fun.
The elephant in the room, and it’s the main caveat to your enjoyment, is the driving skills of the other drivers in your session. The kart’s engine power output can be controlled via wifi and if a driver crashes a virtual safety (speed limiter) car is deployed and all you can do is trundle around the circuit until the other driver is moving. The second media session featured numerous ‘crashes’ and it must have been super frustrating for the other karters. 8 minutes isn’t a long session and to spend a big chunk of it at little more than walking pace isn’t fun.
So one bad driver, of which there are many locally, can ruin the session for all the other 10 drivers. There is no obvious or easy fix for this, apart from booking as a group of 11 and taking the whole session.
My second session I had the track to myself and it was great, but having got a couple of quick smooth laps in I was itching for someone to overtake.
Take a big drink before starting, the track is hot in the beating sun.
Go on a weekday when the track will be perhaps be less busy and feature fewer poor drivers, and it’s easier to book a second session when you find how much you’ve enjoyed the first.
Book two sessions, 8 minutes really isn’t long enough. The track is only here until 7 August so take advantage of it. There’s also absolutely nothing else to do out out at the Airport unless you have kids who want to visit Lai Yuen. In which case still book two sessions and graciously let your other half enjoy the air-con with the kids.
You’re not allowed cameras in the karts, so if you want a photo of you in the kart you’ll need to bring a designated photographer who won’t be able to drive.
I hate emoticons in an article but X-Race Lai Yuen was great fun. Serious respect to those made it happen 🙂
X-Race Lai Yuen 2016
Date: 10am-8pm, 16 July – 7 August, 2016
Book tickets here
XRace experience: 1: Registration (10 mins), 2: Safety training (15 mins), 3: Safety gear-up and storage 4: XRace experience (8 mins).
Over 18 only
Special Airport Express $57 return tickets available.
An x-race ticket does not get you entry to Lai Yuen you need a separate $140 ticket for that.