Fans attending the St. Petersburg Grand Prix this weekend will be given a unique opportunity to test their skills against some of the biggest names in the sport as well as rising stars in the Mazda Road to Indy “Beat the Pros Challenge” presented by Andersen RacePark to benefit Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.
Palmetto-based Andersen RacePark will host a karting track adjacent to Gate 1 (main gate) throughout the race weekend. Drivers from the Verizon IndyCar Series and Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires will set the mark with fastest laps for fans to try to beat. In addition to bragging rights, prizes include autographed items signed by the Pros. Andersen RacePark provides new, top-of-the-line BirelART N35RS karts that are powered by a GX-270 9HP engine capable of reaching 50 mph.
For every Pro that sets a lap, Andersen Promotions – which operates the Mazda Road to Indy – will donate $100 to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.
Pros scheduled to post fastest laps at this early stage include Sebastien Bourdais, Spencer Pigot, Matheus “Matt” Leist and Zachary Claman DeMelo from the Verizon IndyCar Series; Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires drivers Colton Herta, Pato O’Ward, Aaron Telitz, Santi Urrutia and Victor Franzoni; Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires drivers Oliver Askew and Parker Thompson; and Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda drivers Kyle Kirkwood, Darren Keane and Kyle Dupell.
Andersen RacePark will also continue its support of the Kart 4 Kids Pro-Am Kart Race to benefit Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital as organizer and kart supplier for the seventh year. The event will take place on Wednesday, March 7, and will shift from its original venue at Andersen RacePark to trackside at the Grand Prix in Turn 1. From its small start, the Kart 4 Kids Pro-Am Hosted by Andersen RacePark, Featuring Sebastian Bourdais and Patrick Long has become one of Johns Hopkins All Children’s top third-party fund raisers by donating $81,000 this past year for a total of $281,000+ over its life.
The Andersen RacePark karts will first take to the track for the 8th Annual Mayor’s Challenge Media Karting Event on Wednesday morning at the circuit.
“We are excited to continue our relationship with All Children’s and the Grand Prix,” said Eddie Kish, Managing Director of Andersen RacePark. “The Beat the Pros idea was something we came up with to complement the great work by Sebastien [Bourdais] and Patrick [Long] for All Children’s and continue to raise funds throughout the race weekend. This is the first time we have set up a trackside circuit, and we hope fans will enjoy trying to best the times of their favorite drivers.”
Track activities to kick off the season-opening rounds of all three levels of the Mazda Road to Indy as well as the Verizon IndyCar Series will begin on Friday.
ABOUT ANDERSEN RACEPARK: Andersen RacePark is a state-of-the art 13-turn, .6 mile go-kart track just over the Skyway Bridge in Palmetto, Fla., featuring arrive-and-drive high-speed karting with no experience necessary. It is also home to the headquarters of the Mazda Road to Indy as well as a professional go-kart team and the Andersen Racing Academy – which trains tomorrow’s Mazda Road to Indy and IndyCars stars in Southwest Florida. Andersen RacePark hosts team building and corporate events as well as parties, leagues and more. Karting is where drivers begin and ages 5 and up are welcome.