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Driving course in Innisfil wants 10-year-olds behind the wheel

kartSTART event for youth ages 10 to 16 includes accessible go-kart with hand controls

Kids with a need for speed can learn valuable driving lessons this weekend during go-karting courses in Innisfil run by a retired professional race car driver.

kartSTART aims to teach youth 10 to 16 years old about how a vehicle works and how to stay safe behind the wheel.

This year, the event at Sunset International Speedway is introducing an accessible go-kart with hand controls, so people who cannot use their legs can still participate.

“What they can expect is A) to have a lot of fun, and B) to learn something,” said kartSTART founder Russ Bond, a former professional racing driver and automotive journalist.

“It’s a completely different thing when you’re in a vehicle alone and you don’t have your parents telling you what to do. It becomes quite real. It’s a life lesson.”

Bond said the courses are designed to give kids an early introduction to driving safely, so they will be more prepared when it comes time to get their driver’s licences.

“No one is going to argue with me that the level of driving instruction on the streets is sufficient,” he said. “Why not get a head start on it?”

kartSTART, which is funded by Toyota, has one accessible go-kart this year, which has hand-controlled throttle and braking incorporated into the design of the steering wheel.

Bond said he expects several more in various sizes to be added to the courses by next year.

“I want them to be able to join in with all the other kids,” he said.

In its eighth year, kartSTART is in the middle of a cross-Canada tour. Innisfil is the last of two stops in Ontario, recently wrapping up courses in Hamilton.

Participants’ parents can also take part in the fun, including demonstrations of Toyota’s latest safety innovations, as well as virtual reality technology.

Want to attend the kartSTART event?

WHEN: Aug. 5-8

WHERE: Sunset International Speedway, 6918 Yonge St., Innisfil

TIME: 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. sessions. Participants must pre-register at

COST: $80 plus tax. Covers racing kart, instructors, safety equipment, the use of a racing suit, and lunch. Bring your own closed-toe shoes.

PROMO CODE: BradfordToday readers can use the code “Bradford” when registering

For more information about the breakdown of the courses, visit the website.