Nic LeDuc: Dedication to the Sport and a Brand
The Karting Collective owner continues loyalty to Sodi Kart and developing the next NorCal karting stars
The roots of karting belong to the state of California, specifically the Los Angeles area, where in 1956, Art Ingels started something special. Further up the coast, Northern California has been a hotbed for the sport dating back to its early years and through to today. Karting in NorCal has been supported and fueled by many mainstays over the years, and among those on that list, both on and off the track, is Nic LeDuc of The Karting Collective. The shop and team have been long-time supporters and dealers for the Sodi Kart line of karts, and they’re front and center on the West Coast as the brand rides a wave of success and momentum through the company’s hands-on return to the United States market.
One thing you will notice about those in the NorCal region is that they like to let their results speak for themselves. And that concept coincides with the name of LeDuc’s karting operation.
“When I decided to start my own karting team, I wanted to make it about the team and not about myself or any one person. It is about the ‘collective’ of fellow karters racing together, learning and achieving results together. And thus, it became The Karting Collective.”
LeDuc’s karting career began at the age of 10 when he began racing with Lisa Caceres of Race Karts Inc. Nic made his way around the NorCal tracks at the local and regional level, eventually landing a sponsorship under American chassis brand Trackmagic – based in northern California. Wins and championships came, but his career received a big boost in 2006 when he won the Jim Russell Racing School runoffs, which earned him a full season of car racing at Sonoma Raceway. With that scholarship, LeDuc was able to win the Rookie of the Year crown and the SCCA Formula Russell season championship. He finished runner-up the following season before winning eight races in 2009. Nic elected to take a big leap at that point, moving to Indianapolis. In 2010, LeDuc secured a ride in the Indy Lights program (now Indy NXT), but after just one start at the Barber Motorsports Park, where he earned the ‘Hard Charger’ nod with an 11th place finish, he left the program to return home due to family health issues.
The move back home helped to reignite his passion and love for the sport of karting. Nic worked a regular day job, but also managed Infinity Karting, as well as working for The Racers Group sports car team before moving over to Cambrian Karting with the Durbin family. That spanned 2011 to 2017 before LeDuc stepped out on his own.
“I never was cut out for a regular day job and eventually realized, after working and driving with many teams, that I could start a team myself,” added LeDuc. “I give all credit to my late father, who bought me tools for Christmas and my birthday instead of toys. He would make me do the prep work and would let me make my own mistakes. He instilled in me hard work and the ability to have the self-confidence to make my own calls and to not have to rely on others for anything. I surely enjoy helping others and feel that I am giving back to the sport that gave so much to me.”
It was in 2017 when LeDuc began his relationship with the Sodi Kart brand. Still with Cambrian, they welcomed in the Sodi Kart chassis line and LeDuc was jumping into the seat here and there. At the Superkarts! USA Pro Tour SpringNationals that year, at their home track of Sonoma Raceway in California, they took on the best in the country in the S1 Pro Stock Moto category, coming away with that elusive victory in SKUSA competition. The 2017 season became one of the years that LeDuc would never forget, adding a memorable triumph at the SKUSA Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix under the lights, outgunning Billy Musgrave and Kiwi Matt Hamilton. He added another SKUSA victory at the SpringNationals in Phoenix the following year, advancing up to the second in the EKN Shifterkart Driver Rankings for a time. Nic went on to finish sixth in the championship chase that season before putting more of a focus off the track and working with other drivers. That was the early stages of The Karting Collective, as LeDuc stepped away to be out on his own.
“It seemed like an inevitable decision. I wanted to challenge myself and provide an opportunity to make my own decisions as I never did like working for anyone but myself. I had accomplished quite a bit already in my own racing career and it was time for me to give back to the community and help others succeed.”
Among the first customers at The Karting Collective were David Palic and Bryson Lew, along with Marcin Kloda. LeDuc stayed with the Sodi Kart brand and gained success at the club level right away with multiple wins and podiums from all three drivers.
“The reason I have stuck with the Sodi Kart is because of my instant success, the way it drives, the way it is assembled. Quality, quality, quality. The details, and the thought that has gone into engineering these karts,” Leduc added.
Fast forward to 2023 and his new relationship with Thierry Germanovitch and The Karting Distribution – the exclusive importer of the Sodi Kart chassis brand. This new program not only helps support the efforts of The Karting Collective and LeDuc’s commitment to the brand, but it also provides the factory with a more direct connection with the racers here in the United States.
LeDuc confirms this year’s Sodi Kart models come with the same consistent quality you can come to expect from Sodi. The same stock titanium parts for the brake rod and pedal bolts will remain, making it one of the lightest chassis available. The Tekneex tube technology – the high quality French sourced material used for the chassis – continues to be the standard. The wide selection of tuning parts continues to evolve as well.
“One of the things I love about Sodi brand is their push to continue development. They are not content with what they have and are always looking to have quicker pace and better material for their products.”
The Karting Collective remains a strong force – based in Northern California – working to build fast club, regional and national drivers. LeDuc has been successful at all levels, and now is able to provide that experience and knowledge to the future of the sport, all while waving the Sodi Kart brand flag in the area.