Petrolheads, there's a great new documentary on RTÉ Radio 1, Dads, Lads & Nicole, all about go-karting and one girl's ambition to be a Formula 1 driver.
Speaking to RTÉ TEN, the show's producer, Ronan Kelly, explained more about the programme: "Our series producer, Liam O'Brien, thought it would be a good idea to do something on the sport and found Nicole's website online. (www.nicolecoffey.com )
"Nicole Coffey, who features in this programme, is 13 years of age, from Dublin. She's the number two driver in her class in the country and there are very few other female drivers. Her ambition is to someday race Formula 1. She loves speed and the precision of motor-racing.
"There's a good social side to the sport for the teenagers. While their fathers and mechanics work on the karts between races, the teenagers do get to hang out together. Although they also tell the mechanics how the karts are performing out on the track!"
Kelly continued: "A lot of men are involved as a way of staying in touch with their teenage children. The documentary features a man who lives in Meath but whose eight-year-old son lives with his ex-wife in Belfast. Go-karting gives them a chance for a weekend away together."
As to the cost of taking part in the sport, Kelly said: "The chassis can be €2,000-€3,000 and the engine the same. While they look like toys, they handle similarly and put the same sorts of stress on the body as Formula 1 - you have to be quite strong to control the car, especially on corners.
"In the off-season, Formula 1 drivers race go-karts to keep in shape. Nicole has a gym in her house, goes to Pilates and has a personal trainer to keep fit for racing.
"She has raced in Italy, Portugal and Bahrain, where she represented Ireland last November and came sixth."
As to the dangers of the sport, Kelly added: "They're really safety conscious: certain clothing, helmets and body protection has to be worn.
"They talk about crashes but the cars are so low to the ground that I don't think they're too serious."
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