Over the last weekend, yours truly participated at the CarTell Gymkhana Volume 3 event by Carlist. Now, what is gymkhana? It’s a form of motorsport event that usually involve timed-based competitions using vehicles.
These events typically include various obstacles such as cones, tires, and barrels. Drivers navigate through a predetermined track, employing a wide range of driving techniques.
Essentially, a gymkhana event incorporates a starting point, a finish line, and some form of obstacle that must be overcome or circumvented.
It demands strong mental focus and the ability to memorize the track, as certain sections of the course may need to be repeated or approached in reverse or different ways.
You may have heard of autocross events as well, which is similar in that it is set up with cones representing obstacles that drivers must navigate through.
However, autocross is more akin to a scaled-down road course, while gymkhana obstacles often include slaloms, 180-degree turns, 360-degree turns, figure-eight turns, and sometimes parking boxes.
This is a sport in which the type of vehicle/car is less crucial to success. Even if two individuals arrive with identical cars, their performance and times can differ significantly.
The key factors determining success are one's familiarity with their own vehicle, knowledge of the course, and driving ability. Ultimately, the focus in gymkhana is not primarily on the car itself, but on the driver's skills and understanding of the sport.
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And while it’s possible to spend a significant amount of money, it's not a requirement. You can show up in just about any car in a drivable condition. Its air-conditioning doesn’t have to be working, the headlamps can be missing on one side, the door handles could be falling off, etc.
As long as the drivetrain components and chassis are in a decent shape, you’re good to go. There’s a saying within the community, “Run what ya brung.”
It’s perhaps the most accessible and affordable form of motorsport. An event typically costs in the range of RM 150 and takes place the entire day. Plus, you can opt to buy a set of used non-high-performance tyres to minimise cost.
The event saw cars of all types and sizes, from a Toyota Corolla KE70 to the new D74A 2023 Perodua Axia. The crucial aspect is to prioritize enjoyment regardless of the vehicle, skill level, or prior experience.
While this writer doesn’t speak for everyone at the CarTell Gymkhana Volume 3 event, I will say that those I’ve met or spoken to were having a degree of fun with their cars. There was no judgement and the veterans were happy to share their knowledge and tips to the newcomers.
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It was a blazing hot Saturday but during our down time, we still had a blast chatting about cars in general whilst attempting to cool down with chilled drinks.
It’s just a group of like-minded individuals who came together to enjoy some competitive fun with their cars in a relatively safe and controlled environment.
This is what car culture should be about – promoting driver development instead of causing a public nuisance. Don’t be the rotten apple that spoils it for others. Do the things cars are made to do and have fun, responsibly.
Also read: Looking for a sub-RM 100k car to improve your driving? Get a used Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ