K1 Speed in Redmond

Category: Driving. Written by Grant 


It’s Friday night and you’re feeling the need for speed. You look over at the driver next to you and make a scowl. He shoots a looks back and revs up the motor in response. It’s game time. No, this isn’t a late night race on Highway 167, it’s clean bit of office rivalry over at K1 Speed in Redmond.

K1 Speed (formerly Champs Karting) is a national go-karting chain that recently put it’s presence down in Seattle’s eastside. Hidden on a small drive off Bel-Red in Redmond, K1 Speed is easily overlooked by the thousands of drivers that pass by it each day. For a select group of regulars and an even larger army of corporate groups and parties however, K1 is becoming a popular destination for the speed junkies.

Housed in a moderate sized facility, K1 Speed manages to find room to fit not only a go-kart track, but pool tables, mini arcade, observation lounge and a concession stand all in the same building. With the small building size, the track layout is smaller than other K1 locations. That’s not necessarily a bad thing however, as this 20 second track features technical hairpins and turns that will have most racers struggling to keep traction across all four wheels.

Turn 2 will test your hairpin skills

Turn 2 will test your hairpin skills

K1 uses the Italian made OTL karts, which feature an electric engine that delivers almost 20HP. The OTL karts are a popular brand in Italty, which is the world leader in both go-karting and racing. Though 20HP might sound small compared to a regular car, the power is more than enough for this track. In fact, on my test run through the course, I only found myself using the full pedal on straightaways, as I was too busy trying to keep the car under control with all the heavy cornering. If you like the back pinning feeling of acceleration, you’ll still get some of that too, but this course has the lateral G-force roller coaster fun written all over it. Whatever you do, don’t compare these carts to the ones at other family amusement centers, as these are better suited as an adult or teenage hobby due to the speed.

For the racing fan, K1 is one of the few places in the Seattle area that offers a quick speed fix. Other go kart facilities include SyKart down in Tukwila, though they have the 6.5 and 9HP gas powered carts that are more of the amusement park variety. The pricing is $20 per race, which is a bit steep in this economy, but they do offer package deals that makes the speed fix a little easier to stomach.

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