As the weekend comes up and the dark sets in, there are certain locations in various cities of Pakistan that light up with the engine growl of sports cars leaving behind a trail of skid marks and the smell of burnt rubber.
From Underground To the Track!
Although potentially quite a hazardous activity, the underground street racing culture is quite popular and has been rising in the past few years. The passion is there to see â€“ all we need is the proper infrastructure to channel all this energy towards a controlled and safe environment where youngsters can satisfy their need for speed.
This is where karting tracks like the 2F2F Karting Track in Islamabad comes in. Regarded as the stepping stone towards a professional motorsports career, Karting (or also known as go-karting) is the most basic form of open-wheel racing where drivers race on a 4-wheeled open vehicle usually in a group of 12 or more. This form of racing can be termed as a â€˜scaled-downâ€™ version of the more advanced levels of open-wheel racing machines (Formula 1 as being the pinnacle of motorsports). Even the circuits they race on are scaled down to accommodate the smaller size of the machines.
Pakistanâ€™s First International Level Go-Kart Track
With a few custom designed circuits in Lahore (X-Park) and Karachi, there was a need for a proper karting facility in Pakistan. Labeled as Pakistanâ€™s â€˜First International level Go-Kart Trackâ€™, the 2F2F Karting Track is definitely what the doctor ordered for racing enthusiasts in Pakistan.
Located within the Lake View Park region of Islamabad, the whole facility stands on an 11.4 acre land and gives out a very professional touch â€“ you can see the inspiration and passion that has gone into the development of the track and its surrounding area from posters of Formula 1 racing drivers to the pro-shop that has all the necessary items (Helmets, Racing Gear, Gloves, Racing Shoes etc) required to go racing.
- Length of the Track: The track itself is of 1.2 kilometers in length with a mixture of twisting/flowing corners ranging from sharp left turns to tight hairpins (U-shaped turns). The asphalt high grade surface provides the necessary grip to handle the track at high speeds for the Go-karts.
- Layout Support: The main track itself can support a variety of different layouts â€“ the track itself can be re-configured within a short period of time to run in 3 different layouts.
- Mini Track for Young Enthusiastic: The main 1.2 kilometer track is supported with a mini track which is specially designed for the younger age group (years 12 and below) where kids can practice their skills on smaller (more tuned down version) of the karts and get a feel of how to get to grips with handling these karts.
- Available Karts: The pride of the track are itâ€™s Sodi RX7 390 rental Karts that can reach speeds of up to 110 kph on the straights and can handle the twisty section of the track with precision and stability. For the mini-track, kids can get to drive the Sodi Fun kid, which has a similar look to the RX7s but are much more suitable safety wise with adjustable steering wheel height, pedals, and a padded bucket seat.
Motorsports Events and The Future
The 2F2F trackâ€™s management regularly organizes go-kart racing events for which anyone interested can enter to participate considering he/she has a bit of experience out on the track. These single day events add up to a season-long championship where drivers with the most race victories (and thus most points) gets cash prize awards and other incentives from the racing facility. A separate junior championship is also being planned catering to the younger segment of racing drivers.
The fastest lap times on the track itself range from 1.07.00 to the 1.08.00 bracket by the fastest racing drivers like Saad Ali and Yastoor Mirza (both of whom are actually the only two currently certified professional racing drivers in Pakistan).
With the interest in motorsports slowly rising in the country, itâ€™s heartening to see efforts from such facilities to provide a safe environment for young talent to practice racing on â€“ Facilities like 2F2F Karting Track, X-Park and a few upcoming projects in process definitely fit the bill!