Fifteen years ago, Paul McBride was dreaming of racing.
The area around Hilton Head seemed to have it all, yet Paul felt something was missing. Something adrenaline-inducing but family-friendly, high energy but low key. He could picture it: the karts would be super fast, made in Italy, one set for adults, another for children. He would need a building big enough to house it all: an elevated track plus a full arcade and bar/restaurant.
Luckily, Paul’s family was on board with his vision. He and his wife Nikki run K1 Speed, but it’s a family business. Their children, Brandon, Lexi, and Madi, plus Paul’s father, Dennis McBride, and his sister, Colleen McBride, all work there full or part-time. “I had no idea how big the racing community was here,” says Colleen, the Operations Manager at K1 Speed. “Some of these guys are incredibly fast!”
When Colleen says fast, she means it.
At K1 Speed, you can race wheel-to-wheel at speeds approaching 45 mph. But these are not the lawn mower-powered clunkers of the past. With K1 Speed’s European-style 100% electric karts, you don’t have to worry about stalling the engine or dropping out of the power band in a tight corner—these electric motors produce maximum torque at all speeds! Bonus: they are easier to drive, quiet, and produce zero emissions.
But that doesn’t mean it’s a quiet environment—quite the opposite. “The vibe is amazing; it just doesn’t get any better,” Colleen enthuses. “When people walk in the door for the first time, it can be pretty disorienting as there’s a lot going on. But our customer service is superb, our staff is just so on point, and we do a lot of orienting to what happens here.” One of the biggest questions is how it works for the kiddos. The ability to race is determined by height; children need to be at least 48 or maybe even 50 inches, depending on weight (the seats are adjustable). Karts can be controlled based on driver proficiency, so moderators can help find the best race speed for everyone. “It’s like air traffic control,” says Colleen. “I’m in awe of my guys who can do it!”
On September 23rd of this year, K1 Speed celebrated its first anniversary.
“The community has been so receptive,” says Colleen. “It’s been amazing.” On Tuesdays, drivers can do three races for the price of two, on Thursdays from 7 p.m. to close there’s Glo Karting, and on Saturdays, teens can race for $15.00 between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. K1 Speed is open 364 days a year, so driving enthusiasts can keep their skills sharp while escaping any weather. Come check it out—you’ve got to see it to believe it!
By Dani Ray
Belfair Towne Village
71 Towne Dr., Bluffton