The Seaside Le Mans is free and open to the public, so the whole family will enjoy this fun-filled event, featuring live entertainment, children’s activities and a whole lot of racing fun!
The Seaside Le Mans race follows a round trip quarter-mile route through the parking lot near the cinema at Mashpee Commons. Karts for the event are sponsored by area businesses and are provided by F1 Boston. Winners are determined by the most number of laps completed, so speed is only one factor of victory; strategy is equally as important.
The karts in the Seaside Le Mans are European-style karts with a very low center of gravity and a wide stance that prevents them from overturning. They have a nine horsepower engine and can achieve speeds of up to 45 mph.
The race is underway once the green flag is waved at the start. Faster drivers will quickly distance themselves from the pack, but in this race there are 6 drivers per team, meaning the fastest drivers on a given team may not be in the driver seat until later in the race (determining driver order is part of the overall team strategy). You will notice multiple driver changes take place during the race, and the efficiency of driver changes in the pits also greatly affects each team's position at the end of the race.
The best way to watch the race is to walk around the perimeter of the entire course. Each turn on the track has a different way of being negotiated by the drivers. Each turn has an apex, or ideal turning point, as well as three parts: entry, mid corner and exit. You'll see a consistency in how the faster drivers take at each turn on the track.
Penalties are assessed for rough driving, pushing, shoving and cutting into competitors. The best drivers try to avoid spending time in the penalty area, since the longer your wheels are spinning, the better your chances of winning.
You will see several styles of driving in a race. the fastest drivers keep the kart going in a forward motion whenever possible, so it is often those drivers who look like they are working the least that are going the fastest, since they don’t allow the kart to break loose from their control.
OVERSTEERING: Some drivers will oversteer the kart so the rear of the kart fishtails around the corner. While this may look impressive it’s actually the slowest way to get around the track since the kart loses speed to friction..
UNDERSTEERING is when the kart’s front-end is turning, but the kart is not. This too slows the kart down, because the wheels are not pointed in a forward direction.
DRIFTING may also look impressive. This is when the kart is in a turn and going sideways, with all four wheels in a slide.
Karts will pass each other at various points on the track. You'll see drivers drafting, or following very closely behind another kart, allowing air resistance to decrease and engine speed to increase. Just before entering a turn, the drafting kart will have added power to pass the kart it was drafting behind. This technique takes time to learn, but it is most often the best method of passing. Anticipation and concentration are the most important factors in racing. As with any endurance race, good drivers exhibit extreme patience and discipline.
TIMING & REFUELING
The Seaside Le Mans runs for four hours and is followed by a 30-minute final showdown featuring the top eight teams. Teams need to include a fuel stop during the race, but timing the fuel stop is crucial since only one team can refuel at a time. Most karts will last two hours on a tank of fuel; however, if a driver spends a lot of fuel using gas and brake simultaneously, this may result in the need to refuel prior to the halfway mark of the race..