Everyone knows go-karts. The little race cars are normally an outdoor fun alternative. However, Budapest also offers indoor go-kart tracks where you can have fun driving regardless of the weather. We tested FlashKart Budapest for you.
Budapest’s newest go-kart track lies five floors under the shopping mall at District VIII’s Blaha Lujza tér, in the parking garage. The tracks begin just a few metres from the lift door. The go-karts are roaring about to the left and to the right.
The track winds about in tight curves and almost fills the whole parking level, decorated with countless colourful lights. They are continuously changing their colours, so they always give a different mood. You can follow the action on the tracks sitting at a couple of high tables, where displays show the lap times of the current drivers.
The reception is also a bar, where you can buy alcoholic drinks. “Driving a go-kart, after all, is not the same as driving in street traffic,” Ferenc, who founded FlashKart ten months ago, explains. “But it already happened that we had to stop someone from driving,” he cautions with a wink.
Today the visitors are made up of different groups; a father with his little son, a couple of regulars (at least, judging from their lap times they must be regulars) and a group of seven Erasmus students. When you register, you can choose from different options, for instance you can book a single race or different race packages.
The students decide on a Standard Race Pack. It’s made up of a warm-up round, a qualifying round and finally the race itself. Then they have to give names to put on the display: Lion, Witch, Peach, Icarus, Golightly, Mary and Beer man.
Beer man is worried about the size of the karts. He is two metres tall. “No problem,” Ferenc assures him. “Everything is adjustable.” Golightly wants to know what the dangers are. She looks at the karts racing by, which look really fast. The owner, Ferenc, calms her down: “The risk is very slim. Even if you drive into the wall at full speed, nothing will happen to you.”
The ten electric cars produced in Switzerland have 21 horsepower and can reach a maximum 45 km/h, but they can be set to different speed levels, which allows limiting the maximum. This has a big advantage: even children can safely drive them, so go-karting can be fun for the whole family. Ferenc had one restriction: “Only for children from six years, because at earlier age their coordination ability is simply not sufficient.”
The Erasmus students each have different experiences with go-karts. Lion and Peach both have had a go before but not with electrical ones. “Normal go-karts are faster and the tracks are therefore longer than here,” Lion explains. “But you have to wear protective gear, while here you are fine with a helmet.”
There are other advantages as well: “This is much more silent than the track where I was before,” Lion notices. “And it does not stink,” Peach adds. The other student girls are also happy about that.
Need for speed
When it’s the group’s turn everyone gets a helmet first, and a disposable hood that they can wear under it. An employee helps to adjust the kart seats according to the height of each person and he explains how the speedy little cars are operated.
Then the warm-up starts. Driving works really in a kind of intuitive way. Once the electric karts gain momentum they are easy to steer and they have a firm hold on the ground. You never feel like you will fly out of the curve or even tip over.
You learn very quickly that the curves are the bottleneck of the tracks. If you drive too fast you will begin to lurch and therefore lose speed. Of course, the curves are sometimes too tight and that costs time as well.
“It was much easier than I thought,” Golightly says happily after the race, “even if at the beginning I was just dodging from one corner to the other!”
Karting really brings you into an almost euphoric state. But what is the secret? The speed? The rivalry? “It’s clearly the competition,” Lion thinks. “The best thing is when you are driving far in the front alone. However, without the others breathing down your neck it would be boring.”
Most people agree with this. Peach adds that for her the best part was to get right behind another driver and try to overtake at any price. The result is extremely close: the first four places are just one second apart.
Not only the winner is happy
At the end of the race it is Beer man who is triumphant. “I never thought I would be first,” his face shines happily. “I thought I was too heavy for these karts.”
From a certain point on, weight is only an advantage, Ferenc says. The situation in the curves is improved by it. “But there is a trade-off: slower in straight sections, faster in the curves.”
Lion could not keep up this time. He says his kart was slower than before. “It’s always the fault of the kart,” Ferenc smiles. “Or the tracks. Or both of them.”
Finally the group spends two whole hours racing and they all agree that the excursion was worth it. The price also seems to be justified. “It’s not little money for each minute of fun but it’s worth it,” Witch says.
Beer man adds: “It’s not something that you will do every weekend but I will definitely suggest it to my friends.”
All in all FlashKart is a cool place to have fun when you are with a group. It can be a company event, bachelor party or a child’s birthday – everyone should find here what they are looking for.
5 Blaha Lujza tér (Europeum, floor -5), District VIII
Open Monday to Friday 3pm-10pm,
Saturday noon to 10pm,
Sunday noon to 9pm
Prices from HUF 2500 per person,
with a Standard Race Pack from HUF 27,000 for four people
Contact: email@example.com or
(+36) 70 210-3136