The First Annual Summer Intern Showdown™

On the last weekend before returning to school, automotive design students from around the world gathered to celebrate the end of their summer Detroit intern experience and enjoy an afternoon of pizza and speed at the state of the art facilities of Kart2Kart.


Each year the Detroit area auto design studios visit the best design schools around the world to find the brightest and most talented students.  The students are then made the offer of a lifetime: come to Detroit and work in the studio for the summer.  By coming to Detroit they get a head start on their careers by experiencing how the studios work from the inside.  But they also get to experience all the awesome things Detroit has to offer, from the night life in Royal Oak, the art scene in downtown Detroit, to the wonderful automotive-themed events like the Woodward Dream Cruise, and on this past Saturday, the indoor gokart track at Kart2Kart in Sterling Heights.

Even the Head of GM gets the car culture in Detroit: Mark Reuss's personally restored Corvette at the Woodward Cruise

Mark Reuss’s Corvette at the Woodward Cruise.  Mark is the Executive Vice President of Product Development at GM.  It is nice to see a car company where the head guy is a car guy.


The Woodward Cruise has turned into a week-long event.  Most days cruising is a blast but at its peak on Saturday it is more of a crawl.

The Woodward Cruise has turned into a week-long event. Most days cruising is a blast but at its peak on Saturday it is more of a crawl.

This year’s batch of summer interns represented multiple countries.  Aside from the obvious domestic talent, students from Seoul Korea, Toronto Canada and even Kingston Jamaica came to work at the Eero Saarinen designed historic General Motors Design Center.  As the summer term was ending the last week of August, AACS, Lacks Trim Systems and Kart2Kart came together to give the students a lasting memory of Detroit, and afternoon of racing and rubbing.

20140823_170400After registering, the racers were put through a thorough safety session.

20140823_172349The students, their mentors and supervisors then took to the 6 turn 1/5 mile track for practice, the first of their 3 Grand Prix sessions.  The karts at Kart2Kart are the fastest indoor karts in Michigan and can approach 35mph on the 200 foot straight and pull up to 1.5g’s in the corners.

DSCN9759During practice, 2 groups of racers got a chance to test out the karts and learn the track layout.  Afterwards some of the more experienced drivers took the time to show the proper line around the track to those who had less experience.

k2k_track_06Apparently the extra training helped as pretty much every driver improved from practice to qualifying (except yours truly).


In the end the evening of racing was supposed to be a fun celebration of all things fast and Detroit so we did not give out trophies.  But it can be said that a stunt from Academy of Art in San Francisco was the fastest intern, the students from CCS in Detroit, Art Center in Pasedena, Cleveland Institute of Art and the Savannah College of Art and Design held their own.

DSCN9780While there wasn’t any in-kart video at this event, you can get a feel for the event with some in-kart video here.  And if you are interested in doing some kart racing on your own, Kart2Kart offers both a Wednesday night League and a spectacular monthly endurance race where 3 to 4 person teams share a kart, do driver changes in the pits and compete to see who covers the most laps in 2 hours!


Many thanks to the team at Lacks Trim Systems and AACS for sponsoring the event and for Kart2Kart for hosting and providing the pizza and pop.


DOWNLOAD the weekly Racing League flyer here

Go Kart Racing League@Kart2Kart 2014.2015

DOWNLOAD the Endurance race flyer here

Endurance Race Schedule@Kart2Kart 2014.2015



About Frank Schwartz

Frank Schwartz is the founder of and Advanced Automotive Consulting Services, partner in The Middlecott Sketchbattle Experiment and serial entrepeneur. A long time automotive enthusiast, Frank started reading car magazines at the age of 8 and has spent 30+ years working inside the automotive industry. In his spare time Frank races with the Sports Car Club of America, spends time working on his numerous project cars and supports many local charities.
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