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LeMans Karting brings speed, thrills to Greer

Published on Sunday, November 5, 2017

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Adam Woodard checks a LeMans Karting vehicle.
 
 

Justin Baustert

Adam Woodard checks a LeMans Karting vehicle.

 

 



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The track gets some practice runs.
 

Justin Baustert

The track gets some practice runs.

 



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The kart protective barrier system is protected by Goodyear racing tires from the Jeremy Clements racing team.
 

Justin Baustert

The kart protective barrier system is protected by Goodyear racing tires from the Jeremy Clements racing team.

 



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The LeMans Karting indoor facility at 961 Berry Shoals Drive in Greer.'

Justin Baustert

The LeMans Karting indoor facility at 961 Berry Shoals Drive in Greer.'



By JUSTIN BAUSTERT
GreerToday.com

Living in the Upstate, one would likely think of go-karting as going a mere 15 mph outdoors. LeMans Karting, however, is somewhere you step inside and strap into a 50 mph thrill ride.

“Here at LeMans Karting we are able to provide a thrilling wheel to wheel racing experience to the beginner all the way to the pro driver,” Rick Gaan, LeMans Karting owner, said.

At 80,000 square feet, LeMans Karting will open the Southeast’s largest karting facility at its new 961 Berry Shoals Drive location in Greer. Coming to the Upstate in late 2012, Rick and June Gaan had no idea their unique brand of entertainment would grow exponentially, upgrading from their previous 34,000- square-foot Greenville location. Gaan said the Greer location was carefully selected because of a growth in the automotive and manufacturing sectors revolving around the Highway 101 and Highway 290 corridors.

Founded in 2005, LeMans Karting started when owner and racing enthusiast Rick Gaan purchased the company’s Fremont, Calif., location to save it from the previous owner’s neglect. Now after 12 years, Gaan owns three karting facilities, the latest in Portsmouth, Va.

LeMans runs ASTM class 4 Sodi RX7 Italian racing karts, powered by Honda GX270 engines with a top speed of 52 mph and 9 horsepower. The karts can also generate up to 1.5 G’s of exhilarating force, one and a half times normal gravity. The karts feature a Megan Racing Harness and a roll bar to keep customers safe, as well as daily kart checks and frequent performance testing.

Opening this month, LeMans features a seven-turn, 1,000-foot racetrack, and about a month later will unveil an 11-turn, 1,100-foot track. The first track, appropriately titled “Track 1”, is a gentler track than its more technical successor.

“Track 2 we are still designing, but it has 11 turns including things I personally like to see on a road race course: a corkscrew, esses, a bus stop leading to a main straight, and 270 degree turns,” Gaan said.

As a racing enthusiast with 20 years of road race experience, Gaan personally designs the tracks. “We are taking the best technical turns of all the racetracks we’ve been at and are incorporating them here,” he said.

A state-of-the-art barrier system has been installed, backed with NASCAR Goodyear racing tires donated by Spartanburg driver Jeremy Clements to provide a soft cushion. Clements, who recently won at the Road America racing circuit, was a frequent visitor to the Greenville track.

“We like to think that the way he got his NASCAR win, which happened a couple of months ago, was probably because of the karting,” Gaan said.

Actor Shia LeBeouf has visited LeMans, and the Clemson Tigers football team also raced the track after its 2016 National Championship win.

“It’s almost like your neighborhood race track where everybody is just helpful friendly and is here to serve you,” said Gaan.

LeMans offers more than a typical fun park karting experience. There are racing leagues for beginner and advanced drivers where Gaan will race alongside the customers.

“My greatest memory would be all of us racing together and Rick teaching us how to race fast in Virginia,” said karting enthusiast Lindsay Baker.

The 24 hours of LeMans is a world-renowned endurance race, and at the karting facility, you can try your hands at the six hours of LeMans. These diehard racer benefits can be unlocked through an annual racing license at LeMans Karting.

Children ages 8-12 race Cadet karts that possess only half the power of adult karts. Children 12-17 without a license can race normal karts in a Junior Drivers class. Both the Cadet and Junior Drivers program teach children the standard rules of racing, including flag meanings, proper seating position, and the fastest racing line.

Children as young as 8 years old can buckle a helmet and don a neck brace.

LeMans will be open Tuesday-Thursday 2-9 p.m., Friday 2-11 p.m., Saturday noon-11 p.m., and Sunday noon-9 p.m.

Some specials:

• $20 Time Attack is a 10-minute race for time.

• $50 Triple Play combines 3-Time Attacks and is the most popular package. • $35 Sprint Race is an authentic wheel-to-wheel racing format with a qualifier. Drivers must hold a LeMans annual license that costs $20.

“Racing is something normally only very wealthy people can do, and we bring the thrill of racing to the masses,” Gaan said.

LeMans Karting can be reached at 877-722-3565 or www.racelmk.com.

 

 

 

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