Blastacars Drift Karts is revving up to share its unique indoor drift karting experience with a new generation of thrill seekers and become a must-visit Waikato destination for visitors and locals.
The Blastacars team has been running the world's first drift kart track in Hamilton for decades and has a strong fan base. When a promotional video of the custom-made karts in action on the resin-coated concrete track was posted online it went viral and growth has been picking up speed ever since.
"The next minute we had 500,000 views and people contacting us from all around the world wanting a track of their own," says marketing director Chris Williams.
Already there's a Blastacars track on the fifth floor of a mall in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, plus a busy family-orientated track in Henderson, West Auckland, and more franchise opportunities are being explored.
Now it's Hamilton's turn. The existing 190m track and facilities in Duke St, Frankton are showing their age and will close on September 25, says Chris.
Soon after, a completely new Blastacars indoor track will open at a new location in Hamilton with all new 270cc and 390cc drift karts built by Hamilton local Peter Zyp, the man who started it all in 1987.
Exactly where the new Blastacars home will be is still under wraps for now but Hamilton News was given a sneak peek. No expense is being spared in this major new investment for the city.
Just to polish the new concrete track will cost $50,000.
"If you think somewhere like Mitre10 has a nice polished concrete floor this is something else again," says Chris. "It will end up looking like a frozen lake and will incorporate a 160m glow-in-the-dark race line and nice wide corners to get a good drift going."
There will be LED lights right around the track, corporate meeting rooms, birthday party rooms, a viewing deck, a game arcade and more.
The aim is to expand beyond its traditional 18 to 25 year old male market and cater to family groups and company events.
People can form a team and join the planned race nights at the new track.
The karts themselves are as flash as the new facilities, with fibreglass panels with a unique sparkling paint job in classic racing colours such as Ford Focus orange, Mustang red and Holden green.
The onsite workshop - overseen by Peter, a former speedway racer - makes all the cars for the home track and franchise customers.
Over the years, the karts have been through multiple developments and re-developments to improve safety and the drifting experience.
Safety remains paramount at the new track with a briefing room where new drivers must watch a four-minute instructional video showing ontrack tips and tricks.
Everyone starts off in the 270cc karts and only if you demonstrate an appropriate level of skill on the track can you earn a licence to get behind the wheel of the larger 390cc drift karts.
If anyone gets into trouble - or causes trouble - on the track staff can remotely stop or slow individual cars or hit a kill switch to stop them all.
Hamiltonians young and old, from all walks of life should be trying out this awesome experience," says Chris.
More details of the new Blastacars Hamilton venue will be announced soon, but for now Chris encourages fans to be quick to take a final spin at the old track or come and get some practice in so you are ready for the new one.