The next track we are reviewing is the GoPro Motorplex Circuit in Charlotte, North Carolina. The facility is world-class with state-of-the-art lighting allowing this circuit to be used all day and into the evening. With motor racing being such a big part of the town, it’s common to see Indy Car, Nascar and Sprint Car drivers on track during the week honing their skills. Drivers such as Will Power, Scott Mclaughlin, Jimmie Johnson, and Kyle Larson have been present on practice days which is something that the local club racers get the privilege to share the track with at the same time.
About one mile away from the GoPro Motorplex is the Penske Race team operation. This is home to the Indy Car & NASCAR operations and these drivers are on the track most weeks.
It's a cool place to meet new people to build relationships with, and they run club events monthly with larger events taking place at different stages of the year. The lighting facility they have at this track allows their rental fleet of karts to run for 12 hours a day, offering newcomers into the sport an opportunity to get started very easily.
When you walk into the track, the actual facility itself is spectacular. Pit garages that allow racers to lease and then can deck out the inside how you want. Drivers can exit the track, drive to their pit and make any adjustments they may need. Some pit garages can see live timing, so if karts have a transponder fitted, their times will be readily available.
Obviously, these garage have all got power, so you can charge up your battery packs, whatever you need to power up. But also, the use the club's facilities as well. I'm pretty sure they've got change rooms and bathrooms that members can access after a day on track.
Also, the facility itself has a kart shop on hand, called Kartsport North America. Eric Jones and the team from Kartsport North America have always been a big supporter of myself. So that's the first team that I raced with in America some 13 or 14 years ago. They've imported the Arrow Karts previously, which is what I'm familiar with from our Australian made karts. These days they're heavily involved in the Kart Republic brand.
Kartsport North America is also a big importer of MG Tires and the IAME engines and accessories. They have a big distribution network out of the GoPro Motorplex. The parking lot itself is massive and well-marked out making it easy to accommodate larger race teams and events.
A welcoming entrance once you enter the facility. You know, nice touch screens to get onto the track, lovely staff, they've also got some food facilities there for racers. They've got stuff that you can buy to get on track. So, if you didn't have race wear or wanted to buy merchandise, GoPro accessories, it’s really easy for you to get on track. There are no excuses that you couldn’t rock up to the track and not have something because they will be able to sort you out there.
The kart shop is separate to the main building, but this is where all the preparation takes place. There's never a reason why you can't get on onto the circuit with all the consumables they have on hand.
The racetrack itself, the first half lap is quite fast and flowing. It presents quite a few passing opportunities. High speed and then you sort of make your way through some tight technical chicane sections, which are quite tricky. Drivers need to be mindful of the exit curbing in some sections as they can be a little abrasive and there are barricades in some areas stopping drivers from using excess racetrack.
This is not a track that you need to use the inside curbing, it unsettles the kart. If you just miss your mark by, you know, a couple of millimeters, then suddenly, you're up over this curb and it unsettles the go-kart. You just need to be mindful that when you are starting out on track there that you know, just build up your speed slowly just to make sure you know where the barriers are, which inside curbs you can touch, which ones you want to avoid. There are some hard braking zones and these present plenty of passing opportunities.
It's also a massive facility for rental karts, like that's probably their bread and butter these days. Obviously you can run longer into the day having more corporate events with so many racing facilities in the vicinity of the area. It's pretty cool to be able to utilize the rental carts to have a day out with your mates. The club racing is at an extremely high level on par with some national events that sees anywhere from 200 to 300 entries on a club race. What we're seeing is that a lot of drivers and families traveling, you know, six to 10 hours to go and race at GoPro or racing with a race team just to test themselves with the fastest drivers in the country.
They fly in, and have more of an arrive and drive package, but they want to be racing at that club because it's like a national level event every time you race a club day. Where other clubs might have, you know, 50 people that are at a club race and the experience and the knowledge is not quite there. You’re winning races, so you think, you know, we are ready for more of regional and national races. GoPro really challenges the club racer every single race day because like I said, if you're going on track and you're learning off an IndyCar driver or NASCAR drivers who have exceptional skill, that just brings up the level for all kart racers.
GoPro is probably one of my favorite circuits in America. It offers enough for the drivers to be challenging and there's that technical aspect where experienced and good drivers can make up an advantage on their opposition. But also, being able to pass in plenty of spots makes for a good racetrack.
I think it's has to be one of the best facilities as a whole, like club rooms, kart shop, the pit garage set up, the pits & the lighting.
If you want to just get a start in kart racing to see whether you like it, see what the facilities are like, I'd recommend starting at GoPro first.
To learn how to drive this track fast, be sure to check out our track guide here that gives drivers all the braking markers, throttle zones and apexes from every angle.