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Mystery Shopper Shops Both F1 Race Factory and K1 Speed in Phoenix, AZ
Facility News"Mystery Shopper" Hits Phoenix Indoor Tracks

I have been a long time autocross and go-kart racer who has been to F1 Race Factory a few times. I would clarify myself as an avid race fan with above average racing skills. I was very excited to hear that there was a new go-kart track in Phoenix especially when I found out they had the newer style electric karts compared to the more traditional gas powered karts. Here is what I thought of my K1 Speed Phoenix experience compared to past F1 Race Factory visits.

RACING EXPERIENCE:

The go-karts at F1 Race Factory are gas powered and thus act more like a true race car. They are less forgiving and take more skill to keep up momentum in the corners. There are two 1/4 mile tracks at F1 Race Factory and they are wider, allowing for more passing, less road hogs, and an overall better racing experience. Once a week on Mondays they link the two tracks together for a 1/2 mile track Ė for the same price, which is phenomenal! This increases the length of straightaways and the overall speed of the karts. Even when racing either of the 1/4 mile tracks at F1 they have longer straightaways and more room to pass making the racing experience an overall faster pace.

The electric karts at K1 were fun at first with the much quicker electric throttle, but it seemed to take a lot of the skill away from the racer. I would frequently have beginner racers slide out in front of me and then hammer on the throttle before I could squeeze by them. I could definitely feel the extra weight of the batteries on the electric karts causing more of a slide and launch racing technique more than a natural racing line. I could see how a beginner racer wouldn't mind the difference between the two karts, but for someone that has been to both tracks and likes a more authentic race, there was a clear winner.

Track Advantage - F1 Race Factory

Experienced Racer Advantage - F1 Race Factory

Beginner Racer Advantage - Neutral

SAFETY:

F1 Race Factory makes you watch a 5 minute safety video before you go out to race. The video seemed fairly comprehensive, going over all of the kart basics, flags, and racing etiquette. The K1 briefing was cool because the track marshall gave us instructions on the track, but he was clearly rushed and very brief because he was also supposed to be watching the track and was distracted every time there was a loud bang on the track. Both venues have free helmet rental but you have to buy a head sock. F1 being a bigger venue had a wider selection of helmets, but K1 only had a few of each size, and if you are unlucky like me you might have to wear the squishy sweaty one the guy had on before me. K1 has a better kart control system which shuts down the karts if there is an accident, and thereís a toggle switch for the driver to reverse the kart if a track marshal canít get there quickly to put you back in the race.

F1 has a Green, Yellow, and Red street light system on several poles to let the racers know if there is an accident. They also have track marshals on the track to quickly help someone if there is a problem. K1 has only 2 employees on the track and F1 usually has 5 or 6 track guys covering two tracks. The tight track at K1 seemed to lend itself to more accidents as there was less room to pass and both those passing and being passed were not happy about being bumped during a position change.

Safety Briefing Advantage - F1 Race Factory

Kart Safety Advantage - K1 Speed

Racing Safety Advantage - F1 Race Factory

VENUE:

Usually I am a racing first kind of guy, but you can't ignore the spectacular venue that is F1 Race Factory. It seems as though F1 is three times the size of K1. F1 has a large arcade and billiard area with four tables, rock wall, 2 small private party rooms and one huge really nice banquet room that could fit 100-200 people. They had round banquet style tables set up with a podium, microphone and projector screen. The best part is the trackside restaurant with race themed tables & chairs, and huge glass windows lining the track so you can watch the action on the track. The food is pretty good with burgers, fries, pizza, and sandwiches but I thought it was pretty awesome that they serve alcohol. They have wine, bottled beers, and a few quality beers on draft including my favorite, Stella Artois. They wristband you and limit you to two beers if youíre racing and have happy hour specials as well. (Fountain drinks & water are also available)

K1 has one billiard table in the main area with some nice leather sofas. I enjoyed the sofas but they were too low to watch the racing action outside. They served sodas and energy drinks but that was it. My favorite part was the upstairs mezzanine. They had a nice small meeting space for about 30 people and then a lounge area where everyone could watch the racing. The only bad part was that you had to go pass the bathrooms and find the stairs up to the mezzanine and there was nobody up there even though there were a couple races going on.

Venue Advantage - F1 Race Factory

Food and Drink Advantage - F1 Race Factory

SUMMARY:

I enjoyed my time at K1 but the narrow track and limited additional amenities left me hoping for more. When I went to F1 I enjoyed going out for a race, taking a break, getting a beer with the guys, playing a few games, trash talking, and heading out for more. It was truly more of an experience than just going for a race.

ADVANTAGE F1 RACE FACTORY

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