At some point everyone has to come to terms with the fact that they’re never going to be a Formula 1 driver. For some reason it feels attainable, and surely if you can parallel park a hatchback then you can whip round Silverstone in sub 1 minute 30. Basically every balding overweight middle aged man is convinced that if he just had the opportunity he’d be on the podium at Monza.
And, luckily for Lewis Hamilton, there’s an easy way to dispel any such myth and to have a brilliant day out into the bargain: just head down to one of London’s go-kart tracks. And get beaten by a five year old…
TeamSport London Docklands
If you don’t work in finance or live like waaaay out east then London’s Docklands are probably not on your Oyster Card’s most travelled destinations. But here’s a reason that it should be.
More twists and turns than a Dan Brown novel...
The 800m tarmac track includes a mezzanine and more twists and turns than a Dan Brown novel. And after enduring speeds of up to 40mph you’ll be glad of the refreshments, including pizza, beer and wine, in the bar.
Where: 3 Herringham Road, Charlton, SE7 8NJ
TRAQ Motor Racing, Croydon
Unless you’re George Russell you’re most likely to interact with go-karting at a stag or hen do. And so my only experience of this Croydon circuit was, indeed, as part of a mate’s stag party.
But my love of the track has lasted longer than the marriage in question.
At 1,200 metres, the track is long, simple and enjoyable, it’s outdoors so the weather factors into your driving style and the cars were fast.
There’s also quad bike and off-road options.
Where: Jessops Way, Croydon, Surrey, CR0 4TS
What would you rather, a make up counter and a homeware department or indoor go-karting, urban street golf and digital darts? Debenham’s demise left a large unit going spare at Wandsworth’s South Side shopping centre, and Gravity has entered its void. As it were.
The indoor track is spread across two floors and the karts are electric.
Focussed on family fun, there are even karts for parents and children to ride in tandem! Perhaps not the place for future Schumachers, but fun nevertheless.
Digital darts to finish?
Where: Wandsworth High Street, Wandsworth, SW18 4TF
Revolution Karting, Mile End
550 metres of outdoor floodlit racing in Mile End, Revolution Karting provides London’s fastest driving experience at 45 mph.
Their 36 electric karts give drivers more torque and acceleration than any other outdoor London track.
Where: The Arches 422-424 Burdett Road, Mile End, E3 4AA
Capital Karts, Barking
At 1,050 metres, Capital Karts in Barking is atop the podium for the UK’s longest indoor racing circuit.
Professionally designed and more than three times the length of a standard indoor go karting track and nearly twice the length of most multi-level tracks, the track is impressive.
The cars boast 270cc Honda race-tuned engines which promise speeds in excess of 45 mph (hear that, Revolution Karting?).
Where: Unit 1 Rippleside, Barking, IG11 0RJ