Saad AlMunajem is a young sports enthusiast currently in the field of Go Karting and racing.
With the rise of Saudi motorsports and racing, he gives us his fresh take as a voice of the new generation as he embarks on his journey through the racing world.
I got into racing relatively recently, but I have been driving Go-Karts for 13 years. When I was 10, my brother bought my nephews and me a Go-Kart, which we used to drive around for fun on our farm. We would drive as fast as we can and then slam on the brakes so the Go-Kart would drift. It was fun and it made me fall in love with Go-Karting. One day in 2017 I stumbled upon Formula 1 Highlights on YouTube. I was intrigued, I loved driving Go-Karts, but I had never seen a race before.
Then a few days after that, the Azerbaijan Grand Prix was playing live on TV, so I watched it, and I have been hooked ever since. I got excited about the idea of racing, and I started searching for races that were happening close to me. I learned about FunXtreme, a Go-Kart track in Riyadh that does races every month. And I decided to try it out, and it was so much fun! Competing in a race with so many others gave me a feeling I never felt before. I decided to start racing more consistently, falling in love with it more when I came back home to Riyadh in 2021. I wanted to continue so I joined Skyline Racing, a racing team in Riyadh, and have been participating in races ever since. Go-Karting is the first step in the motorsports ladder, F1 is the last. Go-Karting is where you learn all the basic skills needed to race.
You would then use those skills to face any kind of race car. All the F1 drivers that you see racing today started their careers in Go-Karting and then moved up the motorsports ladder till they reached F1. Usually, the path to F1 starts with kids seven or eight years old driving professional Go-Karts regularly until they reach the age of 15 or 16, where they move up into Formula 4, then 3, then 2, and finally 1.
However, here in Saudi, we did not have access to professional Go-Karting when I was seven, so we missed the “traditional path” to reach F1. There is a lot in store for motorsports in Saudi in the coming years. We can already see the huge investment that the Saudi government is putting into the field of motorsports. We have a Formula 1, Formula E, Dakar, an Extreme E race in NEOM, Aramco is a big sponsor in Aston Martin F1 team, and the Formula 1 championship, NEOM has a partnership with McLaren Formula E and Extreme E teams, Sabic is a title sponsor with the Formula E championship and a temporary F1 track has been built in Jeddah with plans to build a permanent track in Riyadh. So, as you can see, there is a huge investment from the Saudi government in the field of motorsports, and they want to have a Saudi Arabian driver in Formula 1 in the coming years. Furthermore, the government established The Saudi Games championship to incentivize locals to participate in sports professionally. One of these sports was Go-Karting.
My recommendations for professional teams:
Riyadh: Skyline Racing at FunXtreme
Jeddah: Tony Kart at The Track
Sharqiyah: Go-karting team in Bahrain (Birel Art or Forza Bahrain