STOMPING GROUNDS: Autobahn satisfies need for speed

By D.R. WILLIAMS

 

Accelerating from red light to red light is not only irritating but hard on the environment. Sometimes you just have to buckle in, put the pedal to the metal and rev the battery up.

Autobahn Indoor Raceway can scratch that adrenaline itch.

Pre-race jitters start hitting your gut as you exit the pit for your first warm-up lap. After you test maneuverability by power-sliding around corners like you’re starring in “Tokyo Drift,” workers remove the speed controller and it’s off to the races.

The drive is both physically taxing and a mental challenge. Maintain your concentration or you might end up in a wall.

Autobahn recently opened downtown on Toole Avenue, bringing East Coast innovations to our growing town.

Drivers get behind the wheel of an electric-powered “pro-kart” and zip around a course. The karts have a top speed of 50 mph, and are perfect for the little speed demon that lives inside everyone.

The high level of technology deserves some respect, so everyone must watch a short safety video before hitting the track. Then, it’s time to suit up for the race while you wait in a briefing area for loading instructions

Just like the pros, you wear an official helmet equipped with a GoPro camera attachment. As workers strap you in with a high-quality restraint system, a pit crew guy double-checks that you’re good to go.

Once on the track, you can’t tell if time has sped up or slowed down. You lose track of laps from all the accelerations and drifting. Colors on the walls make you feel like you’re at the Indy 500.

Before you know it, the race is over with the results printed and waiting. Rankings are based on your average and fastest lap times, not on starting and stopping positions.

Don’t worry about ditching the kids: 8-12 year olds can drive junior karts that get up to 35 mph. There are two different courses to choose from, to keep them from getting dizzy.

Conference rooms can be rented for birthdays, banquets or bachelor/bachelorette parties, and there’s plenty of room for catering companies to set up.

Tucson’s venue, one of 10 Autobahn franchises across the country, provides the biggest indoor speedway in Arizona.

Sean Superville, Autobahn’s director of sales, praised the company for providing a “low-stress working environment.”

Pit crew member Wylie Yaw teaches at Amphitheater High School during the work week.

“Teachers don’t get paid enough, so this is a cool weekend job,” he said.

Autobahn offers 10 percent off with a student ID. Weekday and lunchtime deals are also available for students who must stretch their dollars.

Prices include:

  • Annual license fee: $6
  • Arrive and drive: $20
  • Weekdays, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.: $5 off race
  • Ladies night (Friday after 6 p.m.): female drivers receive $5 off each race
  • Three races (Monday-Thursday): $40
  • Three races (Friday-Saturday): $50

The fleet of Italian-made karts is something to admire, with each kart plugged in to its charging tower. With no real competition on the market, Autobahn has the best racing experience in town and offers a fun escape from the sun and speed limit signs.

Tucson slowly is becoming more modern and Autobahn reflects that growth. With a building still smelling new, it’s out with the old combustion engine go-carts and in with the super-fast electric “pro-karts.”

 

FYI

Autobahn Indoor Raceway

Address: 300 S. Toole Ave.

Phone: 369-5720

Hours:

Mon-Thurs: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Fri: 11 a.m.-midnight

Sat: 10 a.m-midnight

Sun: 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

Website: autobahnspeed.com

 

A Go-Pro camera attachment provides a birds-eye view of the race course at Autobahn Indoor Raceway, which recently opened downtown on South Toole Avenue. Photo by D.R. Williams

A Go-Pro camera attachment provides a birds-eye view of the race course at Autobahn Indoor Raceway, which recently opened downtown on South Toole Avenue.
Photo by D.R. Williams

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