By Marissa Willman
The desert’s first indoor kart racing facility is serving up high-speed thrills on electric, emissions-free karts this summer in Cathedral City.
Xceleration Indoor Kart Racing opened its doors in April. Locals have been revved up for the promise of high-speed thrills since XIK’s first billboard hit the I-10 freeway in the summer of 2012 but due to a number of construction delays, XIK wasn’t able to open its doors until spring.
But now that they’re open, co-owner Kevin Andrews is looking ahead to bigger and better things for the 50,000-square foot facility.
“We’re open. That’s all in our rearview mirror now.”
Upon entering the blissfully air-conditioned Cathedral City racing facility, visitors create their racing profiles at one of the computer kiosks. Then, you can grab a spot along the rails to watch as racers zoom by or dive right in by buying a race package.
Once you’ve paid, it’s off to grab a head sock and helmet before climbing into one of XIK’s Italian-made electric karts. These emissions-free karts pack quite a punch and can reach speeds of up to 50 miles per hour.
Before being set loose on the windy track, though, you’ll get the lowdown on rules and safety from the track official. There’s no bumping other karts – this race is all about speed – and if you bump into karts or walls too often, you’ll be pulled from the track.
Once you’re savvy to the rules of the road, it’s every man for himself on the racetrack. The quarter-mile layout is heavy on sharp turns and curves, but top racers can finish a lap in just over 20 seconds. On average, you can expect a race to last 5-6 minutes.
The basic “Ride and Drive” package includes 12 laps around the quarter-mile track for $18. For serious racers, the Grand Prix package includes 12 practice laps, 14 qualifying laps and 16 final race laps. The Grand Prix package also comes with trophies and medals for top racers.
Even if you don’t get a medal, every racer leaves with a souvenir: a printout of their times, broken down by lap and compared against the season’s top racers.
Andrews says the experience is especially addictive for competitive racers, as the computer system keeps a log of the season’s fastest times. Some racers come in every week to vie for the top spot and, of course, bragging rights.
Frequent racers can take advantage of the Buy 2, Get 1 Free package or discounts for purchases of 3, 5 or 8 races at a time. Speaking of discounts, Tuesday is Ladies’ Night, when women race for $12 after 6 p.m.
One of the greatest things about racing, according to Andrews, is that racers don’t need a particular natural talent to excel at the sport.
“It’s one of the rare sports where it’s nearly an even playing field for everybody,” Andrews said.
Andrews and his two childhood friends, Clinton White and Troy Strange, decided to open XIK Racing after returning to the Coachella Valley. The three friends grew up in the desert and wanted to offer an activity that would benefit the community.
“It’s been a labor of love,” Andrews said. “It’s been everything we thought it would be and more.”
If you go:
Xceleration Indoor Kart Racing
35780 Date Palm Drive Ste. A, Cathedral City