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Race Like a Pro and Get Destroyed by A Five Year-Old at Miami GP Raceway

October 05, 2011 By Matt Meltzer in Miami: Things to Do  | 1 Comment


Ten minutes was enough.

When Miami Grand Prix raceway owner Rudy Ramsaroop tells you the cost to go on his track is $25 for ten minutes, it seems a bit steep. But when you’re going 45-50 miles an hour, just inches off the ground, after ten minutes you’re spent.

“It’s a workout, isn’t it?” he said to me as I pried myself out of one of his nine horsepower Go-Karts, searing my arm on the exhaust.

A bicycle ride across the Rickenbacker is a workout. This is the most intense ten minutes you can have without an ensuing pregnancy scare.


Buried in a warehouse district of Opa-Locka, just south of the airport, sits South Florida’s premiere outdoor Go-Kart track. If you don’t know about it, don’t expect to pass it on the street. The newly-designed, professional grade outdoor track is not only far off the beaten path, it’s a solid quarter mile from its physical address on NW 136 St.

It’s a destination outdoor track for professional drivers and fun-seekers alike. The course flourishes on word of mouth and professional reputation. Most professional Go-Kart racers in South Florida choose to train on this track, as well as kids as young as 5.


“We have professional race car drivers who even come out here,” Ramsaroop told me, “and they tell me how much shorter the reaction times are on this track. When they get back in their race cars, they feel like they can just mosey around the track.”

The experts know what they’re talking about.


The first 180-degree turn at Miami GP comes about 100 yards into the course. As a novice, you’re inclined to slow down as you get to it. But it only takes one five year-old flying by you on the course to realize slowing down on curves is for sissies.

The low center of gravity combined with the wide tires and broad track allows for skillful full-speed manipulation of all the turns. Which are plentiful. As soon as you emerge form one, another awaits you only a few hundred feet away.


Gravity commands the wheel as your hands fight to maintain control of the Go-Kart. The world outside breezes by you in a muffler-less engine roar, and you feel the wheels skid out as you turn completely around again.  The Go Kart fishtails as if you were in a high-speed, movie car chase through the streets of some Asian city. And you floor it through the final straightaway like the persistent cops chasing the reluctant hero.

An amateur can do a lap in 50 seconds. A good driver does it in about 40. In the allotted ten minutes you can get 9-15 laps in, but the speed and intensity warps your brain. Ten minutes feels like half an hour. Fifteen laps feels like 25.

The force and friction on the steering wheel is so brutal that Ramsaroop keeps frozen Zephyrhills bottles at the counter so drivers can ice their hands down.


“You think you’re going fast?” Ramsaroop asks me as we walk over to a computer terminal next to the track. “Take a look at this.”

The display is somewhat emasculating. It shows my best and average lap times on the course over my ten minutes. My best lap was 50 seconds, my average was about 55. The five year old I was sharing the track with averaged below 50, his best lap was about 44.


Ramsaroop laughed and explained that the printout, while embarrassing for a grown man racing a child, is part of the attraction of the track.

“Groups of guys come out here, and they do one session,” he says. “Then they all look at who had the best lap, who was the fastest, and they all want to go again. It gets competitive.”

It seemed like a perfect idea for a guys’ afternoon out before adjourning to a bar to cool down and relax. But definitely after.

Miami GP has a very strict anti-drunk driving policy, much stricter than any police department in South Florida. And while in theory getting messed up and hitting the track seems like a fun idea, one lap around and you’ll realize any delay in your reaction time can be extremely costly. So save the party for after.



For Ramsaroop, the track is a labor of love. He redesigned the track when he bought it three years ago, making it much more professional, but much more renter-friendly. The track is available for corporate events, birthday parties, bachelor parties or just fun afternoons out.

“I have regulars, if they call me up and we’re about to close, we stay open so they can race,” he said.

“But this is why I do it,” he said as he gestured to me and Carlos. “To see you guys take that helmet off and that big smile on your face, that’s why I come here every day.”

Miami Grand Prix Raceway may be hard to find, but it’s worth the search. Rudy Ramsaroop and his family have created the least-known, most fun attraction in the city. And when you live here, and South Beach has run its course and you’re constantly looking for the next fun thing, Miami GP is a welcomed find.

Because even if you’re only there 11 minutes, your nerves will be there the rest of the day.


Related Categories: Miami: Things to Do,

About the Author: Matt Meltzer is a featured columnist at Miami Beach 411.

See more articles by Matt Meltzer.

See more articles by Matt Meltzer

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1 Comments on

"Race Like a Pro and Get Destroyed by A Five Year-Old at Miami GP Raceway"

Mario says:

That kid is a future F-1 racer.  Cool place, I’ll check it out on of these days.

Posted on 10/09/2011 at 12:06 AM

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