The Day I Raced With The Big Boys

 by Jose Arrambide
April 29, 2004

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Oriol Servia

It's every race fan's dream, to get the chance to race with your heroes, to prove yourself against the best, for a few moments to feel like a driver. Thanks to the organizers of the Monterrey Grand Prix, media members and fans got the chance to do just that in a go-kart track that was set up in Fundidora Park.

Mario Dominguez

Everything a fan could want was there, a beautiful sunny day, 4 top Champ Car drivers, Michel Jourdain, Mario Dominguez, Roberto Gonzalez and Oriol Servia, pit babes (including the famous Tecate Girls), but most important 10 go-karts to battle your heroes.

Jorge Lozano, Director of the Monterrey Grand Prix, told me that the main objective was to give normal average guys a once in a lifetime opportunity.  So instead of making this an event for the sponsors they decided to make this a fan fest. Local TV sport shows had different contests to select the lucky fans that would have a chance to race with the Champ Car drivers.

Jose Arrambide (back center) with the Champ Car drivers

The first hour of the event was to give fans a chance to get an autograph, take a picture or just talk with the drivers.  Then it was time for the main event. First the drivers had an exhibition race.  The 4 drivers got into shifter Karts and raced each other for 20 laps.

After that they got into the karts that are used in the Rotax Challenge Series, the idea was to have one Champ Car driver and 6 fans or media members, race together for 10 laps.  Some fans got to race Michel, some got to race Mario, some Roberto and some Oriol, but everyone had the chance to race with the BIG BOYS.

Getting ready to race

I had the chance to race Mario Dominguez, and although I have experience driving shifter karts, I was no match for Mario.  Funny thing is that I had never felt so good after being beaten so bad. 

It was as Jorge said, a once in a lifetime opportunity.

After everyone got the chance to race their heroes, Oriol and Mario decided to settle once and for all who was the best driver.  They decided to race each other.

Posing for photos

They were the only ones on the track.  It was unbelievable to see the love of racing of these 2 men.

They battle wheel-to-wheel for more than 7 laps, no one giving an inch, until they crashed each other on the main straight.  Both Karts spun out of the track.  They both ran to one of the fans with a video camera to see who was ahead when they crashed.

Jourdain explains go-kart

After 10 minutes of replaying the race, they both decided to call it a tie.

At the end of the day everyone went home happy, with a story for the grandchildren.

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