Local media teams compete in Honda Grand Prix Go-Kart Challenge
On Tuesday media teams participated in a go-kart racing competition as part of the kickoff for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The intent of the event was to make the media aware of the athleticism necessary to be a race car driver. Each of the nine teams included three media members and a pro driver from the IZOD IndyCar race series. The St. Pete Times/tampabay.com team included: Lyra Solochek, Baylink editor and writer for the Daily Drivers column; Jim Tomlin, sports writer and editor; and yours truly. Our pro driver was Martin Plowman from Andretti Autosport, a super nice British driver with a big smile and mad driving skills.
The event was great fun and the facility, Andersen RacePark in Palmetto, was outstanding. The race was 50 minutes long with each media team member driving once for 10 minutes and the pro drivers driving twice. I overheard many of the media folks talking about how exhausting it was to drive for just 10 minutes in race mode. Yeah, they're just go-karts but many famous drivers started their careers in them. The basic principles of racing still apply and the physicality required is similar too. Have you ever driven a car that didn't have power steering? Pretty tough, right? Now think about doing that at full speed for a long time. My biceps are aching a bit today, so pro drivers get nothing but respect from me.
And now for the gadgets. I rigged our kart with two GoPro HERO HD cameras, one facing front and one facing back. The front-facing camera was mounted using a peel-and-stick quick-release mount that comes with the motorsports GoPro package. The kart was really oily so one of the track workers at Andersen brought out some brake cleaner and a rag which removed the oil for good adhesion. The rear-facing camera was secured using a GoPro roll cage mount and I clamped to the frame of the kart, between the left, front wheel and the brake pedal.
As a third camera I used a Panasonic Lumix GH-1 digital SLR. All three cameras were set to shoot 720p HD video. Then I brought it all together in Final Cut Pro 7 and recorded the narration with a Samson Go Mic.