KartSTART gets kids on the right track

BY Willy WilliamsonWilly's Garage. May 19 03:00 am

Boys and girls, start your engines! KartSTART presented by Toyota, a unique driving education program designed to give youngsters a real-world understanding of the physics behind driving a motorized vehicle, will be making its first stop in Winnipeg from July 19 to 21 in the parking lot of the MTS Iceplex at 3969 Portage Ave.

The kartSTART program is led by Russ Bond, a veteran automobile racer, journalist and host of the popular Two-Minute Test Drive segments on TSN’s Motoring TV.

“We are thrilled to be coming to Winnipeg,” Bond says. “It has been on our radar for a while now and with the ability now to set up mobile tracks, Winnipeg was our first choice to add as a new city.”

The half-day course gives youngsters — 10 years and older — driving experience in go-karts. Participants get behind the wheel of a professional racing kart under the guidance of qualified instructors. The program, including all the karts and gear, is moved across the country in a semi truck and trailer. Participants are supplied with a Snell-approved helmet and a racing suit, and there is also a catered lunch. Parental supervision is required throughout the program and it runs rain or shine.

Bond has thoroughly enjoyed being involved in the program, touring the nation from coast to coast. While he’s quick to point out there is indeed a learning element with kartSTART, there’s also a huge fun factor.

“For sure, the most rewarding aspect is seeing young kids get to drive something on their own for the first time,” he says. “Our goal is to let them have fun in our go-karts while they’re learning. They gain some confidence about driving something themselves. For sure they understand they didn’t master driving in one day, but what they do understand is they got a good first start.”

While Toyota may not be in the business of building go-karts, according to Bond, the automaker has been a perfect partner for kartSTART.

“Toyota is so much more than just a car company; they give back to Canadian communities. Safety is one of the cornerstones of Toyota as a brand. They have taken this program to 1,200 families over any given year.”

Bond added that in each city, about 15 program passes are donated to the local Big Brothers and Big Sisters.

The cost of the half-day course is normally $79 plus tax, but since this is the first time the program has been offered in Winnipeg, Bond is offering a $20 discount to Free Press readers by simply entering the promo code “Willy” (yeah, I twisted his arm a bit for you) when registering. You can register online at kartstart.ca, or by calling 647-401-5153.


More News

Big Three keep on truckin' in Detroit

BY Willy Williamson Willy's Garage. Jan 19 04:00 am

DETROIT— Despite predictions electric and autonomous vehicles would dominate this year’s North American International Auto Show, if the buzz around the show was any indication, it was a trio of trucks from Detroit’s Big Three auto manufacturers, General Motors,...

Off to Detroit for the international auto show

BY Willy Williamson Willy's Garage. Jan 12 04:00 am

Tomorrow morning I’ll be up bright and early for a flight to Detroit and what promises to be a whirlwind weekend, taking in all the sights and sounds at the North American International Auto Show.

Since 1965, the Detroit auto show has been held at Cobo Center, where...

Standing the test of time

BY Willy Williamson. Jan 05 04:00 am

The all-new 2019 Chevrolet Silverado — introduced at an event last month in Dallas, Texas — will be officially unveiled later this month at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

According to Chevrolet this debut occurs exactly 100 years after...

Toyota's 86 puts the 'sport' back in sports car

BY Haney Louka. Dec 15 04:00 am

Affordable, rear-drive coupes are a bit of a rarity these days. Sure, there are offerings from Dodge, Chevrolet, Ford, and Nissan, all starting around $30,000, but each represents a different variation on the theme.

With a starting price of $29,580, the Toyota 86 has the...

Second Opinion: how much does Nissan's comparable 370Z cost?

BY Willy Williamson. Dec 15 04:00 am

Whoa! Hold on a second here. Don’t get me wrong, I had a riot tooling around in the Toyota 86, but is what Louka’s saying actually true? Does Nissan’s 370Z really cost about the same $30,000 as the Toyota 86?

Never mind the bucketful of additional horsepower...

Safeties made me a better gearhead

BY Willy WilliamsonWilly's Garage. Dec 01 04:00 am

A friend of mine who is 30 years old was recently lamenting how easy it was for old guys like me to get a winter beater on the road when we were his age.

He wasn’t wrong.

Before Manitoba Public Insurance made vehicle safeties mandatory we could basically insure...