Podium Racetrack Puts Every Driver In The Fast Lane

Sarah Pacheco
Wednesday - December 29, 2010
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Podium Raceway Hawaii co-owners Neil Tsutsui (above, left) and Mark Jeffries are gearing up to open Oahu’s first and only indoor raceway Jan. 1 in Kalaeloa. Tsutsui (below) takes a practice run around the track. Photos by Nathalie Walker, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Motorsports fans of all ages can look forward to a very happy and speedy new year, because Podium Raceway Hawaii is all set to open the island’s first and only indoor electric kart racetrack Saturday in Kalaeloa.

The grand opening starts at 11 a.m. and runs to 10 p.m. on the first day of 2011, with plenty of free, fast-paced fun in store for the whole family.

“People in Hawaii love to go fast, but there was no outlet for kids or adults to go get an adrenaline rush like this,“said Mark Jeffries, who co-owns PRH with friends Neil Tsutsui and Warren Coal. “Go kart racing is really big in California and the Mainland, so we decided to give it a try here.

“It doesn’t matter where you’re at,people love to race. There’s a competitive spirit in everybody.”

The 44,000-square-foot facility, located at 91-1085 Lexington St., Bldg. 1844, has all the bells and whistles that go into making what many adults would deem their perfect playground.


For starters there’s signed memorabilia from racing greats Carey Hart,Ricky Carmichael,Alastair Seeley, Tarah Gieger and Kevin Windham greeting guests as soon as they enter.

Then there’s the indoor concrete track - a quarter-mile adrenaline rush designed with four hairpin turns and two straightaways. It’s able to accommodate up to 12 drivers at once in a race against the clock sure to keep them on the edge of their seats.

“You’re not racing other people; the single fastest lap time wins the race,” Jeffries explained, adding that the track design will be switched up every three months to keep things fresh.

“At the end of the year we’re gonna have the four people with the fastest lap times race, and whoever wins that race will get to design the track next January.”

The 35 European emission-free electric karts can reach speeds of 45 mph, but Jeffries assured that a PRH race professional will have complete electronic control of every kart to slow down or even stop the vehicles to ensure the safety of all racers.

Podium Raceway Hawaii co-owners Neil Tsutsui (above, left) and Mark Jeffries are gearing up to open Oahu’s first and only indoor raceway Jan. 1 in Kalaeloa. Tsutsui (below) takes a practice run around the track. Photos by Nathalie Walker, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

“We’re able to individually dial in each kart to the regulated speed according to your skill level,“said the California native. “Safety’s our main priority here.”

All adult drivers must be at least 55-inches tall to drive, and 11 junior karts that go up to 30 mph are available for keiki ages 6 and up (must be at least 48 inches tall).

Helmets and race gear are provided by PRH, and covered shoes are required to operate the karts. (No slippers, sandals or high heels are allowed in the race area.)

One adult race lasts 14 laps (about 10 minutes) and first-time drivers will receive a mandatory briefing session on rules and safety regulations. Cost is $25 for non-members and $20 for members who purchase an annual Trackpass for $5.95.

Junior races last nine laps each and cost is $20 and $15.

In addition to the main attraction, PRH also houses two party rooms, a tricked-out VIP conference room and arcade area, making it the perfect location for corporate events, birthday parties,family gatherings and more.To make a reservation, contact Monica at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


“Hopefully we’re gonna be running some youth leagues here,“Jeffries added, “and get the kids plugged into some racing schools so they can race against each other and compete,build some team spirit and on each other’s strengths.”

PRH is open rain or shine from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

For more information, call 682-7223 or visit www.podiumraceway.com.

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