1870 Mag

Reality Virtuosos

Real life simulations brought to you by Grand Prix Karting

In a world dominated by virtual experiences, our senses are often restricted to engaging in platforms that serve to isolate us from the outside world. Sure, we love playing Forza or Call of Duty on the big screen, but does it even come close to the real thing?

No, it really doesn’t.

What if I told you that the longest indoor Go-kart track in North America was only 15 minutes from campus, and that the karts top out at just over 30 mph? Now what about if I also told you that nearly every Ohio State quarterback from the past three years has been to this place for a race?

Imagine a 120,000 square foot warehouse with two quarter-mile indoor racetracks, a fully immersive tactical laser tag course, and three ornately imagined escape rooms.

That is Grand Prix Karting, a giant compound of fun shit to do.

“What we do is take virtual experiences and put them into the real world,” said Christopher Bowen, one of the head honchos at Grand Prix Karting. “People love video games. So why not experience them in real life?”

We totally get it—out of context these three activities might seem infantile. But this isn’t Magic Mountain. This is Grand Prix Karting. And there is a huge difference.

“If I were to tell someone that we should go out to a place that has go-karting, laser tag, and puzzle rooms, you’d look at me like I was crazy. Yeah, I’d love that when I was 12,” Bowen said with a smirk. “But what we have is racing at 30 mph, tactical, mission based laser tag, and multidimensional escape rooms that are all-encompassing experiences.”


Nothing beats the smell of gasoline and rubber—two long winding tracks surrounded by massive tires, a twisting and curving track built for speed and performance. “We built a racetrack with the fastest competitive go-karts money can buy.” And he isn’t kidding either; this is fast, competitive racing not meant for children. Each track is a quarter mile long, and on Sundays they combine the tracks to create the largest indoor track in the country. Not only are you racing against other patrons, but also the course is decked out with high-tech sensors, monitoring your lap times and racing statistics. And you go fast. Really fast—so fast that when you turn a corner you can drift like Ludacris in Tokyo. To put in perspective how fast you actually go, they have a kids course that only go about 12 mph, not even half the speed of the adult karts. This is racing for grown-ups. And it is fun as hell.

Modern Laser Warfare  

This isn’t the “pew pew” laser tag with stupid encumbering vests, silly looking guns, black lights, and space aliens. This is a fully immersive, tactical experience. Grand Prix is so committed to simulating a video game experience, that Grand Prix designed the battle rifles after the one Master Chief holds in the Halo series, using the latest, most advanced technology. The arena is an impressive 4,800 square feet featuring a realistic, urban setting. They offer up your typical death match scenarios, but in addition they have dozens of other missions ranging from Zombie Infection to Defuse the Bomb.  They use miniature screens scattered about the battlefield to simulate health packs, gun upgrades, and power-ups —everything you might hope to find in a video game simulator.

Escape Rooms

Yeah, we know, escape rooms have been all the rage in the past years, and in reality, they are kind of tedious and overall just plain boring—find the key that unlocks the safe to find another key that opens another lock…and so on. But this is different. Grand Prix has spent months perfecting the art of creating a fully immersive experience for its patrons, offering three flavors of escapism: Victorian Era Murder Mystery, Doctors in a Modern Laboratory, and Clandestine Spies. Each room is meticulously decked out with era-specific décor, touch sensitive trap doors, and fully immersive clues to help you find your way out. Some of the rooms even lead to other rooms, making it a three dimensional experience. The puzzles are comparable to Resident Evil and the Myst series—tough, mind numbing, puzzles are a given, but worry not, the experiences are scheduled, and their difficulties ranked, with the rate of completion ranging from 80% completion to 15%. Do you have the intellect to escape in time?

For more information about Grand Prix Karting including hours, pricing, and location, visit gpkcolumbus.com. We will see you on the racetrack.


Danny Hamen


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