MONTEREY, Calif. (Jan. 12, 2005) - Grand Prix motorcycle world champions Wayne Rainey, Eddie Lawson and Kevin Schwantz, along with three-time U.S. Superbike champion Doug Chandler spent today preparing for the Superstars of Super Karts race, one of the support events at the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix July 8-10 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, featuring round 9 of 17 in the MotoGP World Championship.
While Rainey and Lawson have raced Super Karts several times on the 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course in the hills outside Monterey, it was the first time Schwantz and Chandler had driven the high-performance karts anywhere.
"I've been trying to get these guys (Schwantz and Chandler) into a Super Kart for a while," said Rainey, a three-time Grand Prix motorcycle world champion (1990-92) who lives in Monterey. "I think they were impressed."
"That was a lot more fun than riding a bike around here," said Schwantz, the 1993 world champion. "I didn't much care for this track on a bike, but these Super Karts are a kick to drive here. I was smiling the whole way around the track."
"People look at these Super Karts and think they are cute little toys, but they haul butt around here," according to Lawson, who should know. The four-time world champion (1984, '86, '88, '89) set the Super Kart lap record at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 2003 - 1 minute, 23.875 seconds, an average speed of 100.864 mph. (Troy Bayliss turned the fastest lap on a motorcycle at Laguna Seca when he road his Ducati around the circuit in 1 minute, 24.833 seconds during the 2002 World Superbike Championship event.)
Salinas resident Doug Chandler, who won three U.S. Superbike Championships (1990, '96, '97) and competed in 54 Grand Prix motorcycle world championship events from 1991-94, enjoyed his first taste of Super Karts. "Driving a Super Kart around here is completely different than racing a motorcycle. These karts have so much more grip than a bike through the corners. It is going to take some getting used to, physically. But this is just a good opportunity for us (Rainey, Lawson, Schwantz and himself) to get together on the race track again."
The Superstars of Super Karts will feature several motorcycle racing champions competing against some of the top drivers in Super Kart racing, including European and Australian/New Zealand champions, in 250cc racing karts. Super Karts feature semi-enclosed bodywork and rear wings and reach speeds up to 140 mph at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Tickets for the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix July 8-10 are on sale now by calling 1-800-327-SECA or logging onto www.ticketmaster.com or www.laguna-seca.com.