Home Forums General Karting Discussion Karting at Watkins Glen

This topic contains 12 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Ted Hamilton 1 month, 1 week ago.

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  • #33036

    Will Salisbury
    Participant

    The other day I went to the Glen to do their “Drive the Glen” experience. It was only 3 laps, but we had a blast and certainly would love to drive a real race car their someday. As we were waiting for the track to clear so we could go on, I took a picture from the grandstands on the outside between turns 1 and 2. This area of land which is really only used for camping, like any other infield would be perfect for a kart track. I remember running the WKA Man cup race from the Charlotte infield a few years ago.

     

    @7WillSalisbury @WGI you raise the interest and I’ll help.

    — Michael Printup (@theglenprez) September 1, 2014

    <script src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” async=”” charset=”utf-8″></script>

     

     

    I then jokingly tweeted this to the president of the Glen, Michael Printup. Mr. Printup is a great guy, and i’ve talked to him before when I hosted a radio show.  His response caught me off guard, as I wasn’t really expecting it. The more I thought about it, the more I questioned if it could really happen. What would it take to really push the interest for a world famous track to develop a kart track?

    Would their be enough interest to draw people and series to come and race?

    Thoughts?

    #33038

    Clark Gaynor Sr.
    Participant

    My guess would be yes.  World class facilities will draw existing racers and get non racers thinking about it.  We live in Southeastern Pa, so the Glen is only about a 3 and a half hour drive for us.  Not something we would do every weekend, but certainly 3 or 4 times a year.

    As you know there are several kart tracks in NY, Pa, and NJ.  I’m curious to how some of those karter respond.

    I would be nice to think it might happen.

    Clark Sr.

    #33039

    Gale Black
    Participant

    Very interesting to read…
    were in the process of setting up a new kart shop and race team…
    I think an international sized track is needed and being run as a pro venue,
    in the PA, NJ, NYS, CT areas.
    Welcoming such a venue would obviously be of interest, but who would invest in the challenge, obviously costs are not like race car tracks, but still the track needs to be done properly and offer the best facilities around!
    Some will remember NJMP holding a CIK event some years ago, why has that never happened in our areas again ;(
    The obvious pay back to such a venue is a good corporate facility as a cash cow, but again needs doing properly and creating a real experience, not just arrive and drive junk karts! team building events, real corporate race events, product launches, training venue …
    Securing a Rotax Challenge weekend and a Shifter Series weekend goes without saying to get it on the map.
    Some of the big tracks in Europe do other things with the tracks in the dead periods…
    Anyone wanting to chat about such a facility from Watkins – feel free to reach out to us at –
    p1-karting.com
    Lets hope we hear more about this ?

    #33050

    Scott Newton
    Participant

    Long ago there used to be kart races held right on the track itself at Watkins Glen – then somebody figured out it was a bad idea to run karts on Armco-lined tracks.  The track itself owns a LOT of land – a lot of which was last used for overflow camping in the F1 days.  They could easily allocate enough land to build a world class karting facility, with multiple tracks and layouts if they wanted – the only question would be if they feel it makes business sense to them.

    On a related note – I have it on good authority that the new track being built near Syracuse NY (www.cnyrp.com) will be building a dedicated karting track as well.

    #33075

    Paul Hir
    Participant

    Why not use the existing track? Mid-Ohio does for the Enduro karts and there is a lot of guard rail around Mid-Ohio.

    #33076

    David Cole
    Keymaster

    Mid-Ohio has a lot more run-off room, along with more tire walls then Watkins Glen does. The Glen has the armco way too close to the racing surface, and it is very unsafe for karts.

    #33088

    Clark Gaynor Sr.
    Participant

    All true.  I ran nearly all the races held at Watkins Glen, and I suppose we really didn’t think about it.  Or if we did, our little brains just wouldn’t allow us to comprehend the consequences!!!  I remember a fellow racer running through the “catch fences”.  That will give you an idea how long ago that was!!  I believe that was a WKA National too.

    In this day and age, I can’t imagine WKA or any other org would ever sanction an event there do to the safety  issues.   I also can’t imagine what the rental fee would be per day!!!!!!!!!!!!  Wow.

    But of course a sprint track is another deal.  They do have plenty of room there, but they need to know the interest is there as well.  It’s nice to hope.

    Clark Sr.

     

    #33472

    John Cleveland
    Participant

    Will – Count me in – practically grew up at the track as my dad raced in SCCA and IMSA events from the 60’s-90’s. Being only an hour away and having the facilities and history of the Glen available would be great. Even if the area behind the pits was setup to run as a temporary sprint track  it would be great, but if some of track could be incorporated that would be awesome.  Had a friend who corner marshaled during those karting events that used the whole track. He said it was mayhem at one point because they just opened the track and everyone hit the track at once. At one point so many karts where going into the catch fences in the chicane that used to be there in the esses that the corner workers threatened to not go back out after lunch break if they didn’t split up the karts into groups. Amazing to think what used to go on back in the day.

    #33479

    David Cole
    Keymaster

    The paddock area looks like the perfect size to build a temporary kart track, something similar to what they do at CalSpeed Karting in California.

    #33482

    Scott Newton
    Participant

    The paddock lot is big enough – I’ve done autocross events there in the past with the SCCA… but it’s not quite as smooth as you would hope:

    The better lot to use would be the media lot, which is where the SCCA now does tehir autocrosses (West of the start/finish straight about halfway between start/finish and turn 1).

    #33483

    David Cole
    Keymaster

    Awesome, so it would be like a motocross track…hahaha. Either way, I bet something could be done and would be great for the sport.

    #33485

    John Cleveland
    Participant

    Had heard about the track in Syracuse, glad too see its website ( thanks Scott) and that they are making progress. Sounds like they have some ambitious plans and are making progress. I’m thinking The Glen has the resources and space to be able to handle multiple events. For example if a car club or motorcycle club has the full track rented they could also possibly hold a kart race as well. Obviously not a National event but something more of a club type race were you would see more local racers than at a National type event.  I know the times we raced at Charlotte they had the WKA Road racing series on the Roval while the MFG Cup races were going on at the turn 3/4 sprint course. Gale is right that its an investment any way you look at it but I think the Glen has the connections/resources to make it happen if they could see the interest from the karting world.

    #33517

    Ted Hamilton
    Participant

    It would be cool if they made a Mini Glen copy of the full size course in 1/5 scale in the infield for the karts.  Like Charlotte, it could double as vendor / RV / other event access roads.

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