Have you ever wanted to feel like a race car driver?  Lucky for you Autobahn Indoor Speedway opened in Memphis this month…so you can!  Because he was so awesome to share his Optional School Camp Out experience I asked Seth Agranov if he could check the place out with his family.  His boys are 9 & 11 so they fit the age/size requirements (junior karts are for racers who are at least 48″ tall and 8+ years old).  What did he think?

At one point I was so into this I felt like Ricky Bobby planning my next Shake & Bake.

Autobahntrack

The Speedway building is about 40,000 square feet with a 781 linear foot track.  Races are run separately, but on the same track.   When you enter, one side of the room is registration stations and the other side is a huge glass window with a perfect view of the track and cars buzzing by. Seth says: “Between the lines and the sights of the race, it was overstimulating for me.”  You create an account and sign a waiver (co-sign on for minors) at a kiosk.  Once you’re in their system, you go to the race registration area and purchase  an annual license ($6) and your race(s) for the day.  They also take your picture for your license.

Getting ready to race

Getting ready to race

Next you watch a safety video and then learn about the flag system, seat belts, emergency stop and reverse toggle.  Other safety mechanisms in place include a Race Marshall and a kill switch that can slow or stop the entire race.  On the weekends security is highly visible and there’s zero tolerance for impaired drivers. Anyone who even smells like alcohol or drugs will be detained for the police.

Keep reading for Seth’s review…

These are not toy go-carts. They are fast and pack a lot of power. Junior cars can get up to 30 miles per hour while adult cars can hit 60. The cars do not run on gas or cylinders, they’re powered by a 48 volt electric battery and charged between races.

Autobahncars

When your race is called, you enter the track area, put on your race sock (worn under your helmet) and pick out a helmet that fits comfortably. You check in with a race coordinator, he assigns you a car number and you’re on the way. All that’s left is fastening the helmet strap and making sure your seat belt is tightened correctly. You’re loaded up for your race with about 10 other people as the previous race cars are just pulling in.

Once they start you, the cars creep very slowly onto the track, but it seems like once you cross an invisible line between the pit and the track the cars start to open up a bit. It’s not until all the cars are on the track and you see the green flag waving that they really flip the switch. Those cars come to life! And man, they’ve got some pickup to them.  Okay, I’ll admit it took me about three laps to really get the hang of the speed and braking correctly on the turns so I didn’t have to come to a sudden stop or kill my timing with over exaggerated slowing.

Autobahnkid

Once I got the hang of it, I swear I was flying down the track and just tapping my brake into high speed skid turns. It was really cool and I was probably going faster than I should have, but as long as I wasn’t bumping other cars (which is highly frowned upon and you’re subject to be thrown out after three warnings) or slamming into walls, I was doing great. It almost felt like a thrill ride. A few spots on the course really let you build up some speed and then you’re pull a G or two into a very fast sharp turn.

At one point I was so into this I felt like Ricky Bobby planning my next Shake & Bake. Seriously, if you could have had a teammate in another car with radio communications, it would have been even more amazing.

AutobahnSeth

As much fun as my wife and I were having around 50 – 60 MPH, our kids were having a blast too. My younger son managed to get a warning for slamming his car into his older brother’s. I don’t think he really minded that warning. For the rest of the afternoon, all they talked about was Autobahn Memphis and how many friends could they bring for a party.

We ran 14 laps and I’m telling you, it felt like 15 minutes. I’m sure it wasn’t, it’s a nice adrenaline rush and a whole lot of fun.  It really is a great addition to the Memphis roadmap.

Check their website for prices and deals including party packages.

Autobahn Indoor Speedway
6399 Shelby View Dr.
Memphis, TN 38134
901-300-3195

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Seth Agranov blogs at BestMemphisBurger.com and runs the Best Memphis Burger Fest held each October, benefiting Memphis Paws, a non-profit that works to increase responsible pet ownership and raise support for animal care and rescues around the Memphis area.