The world’s first full-scale shipboard racetrack is now on the water, in a project which has brought the best out of German karting technology specialist, RiMO Supply and Dutch decking specialist, Bolidt for owner Norwegian Cruise Line.
The 326m long, 167,800 gt Norwegian Joy entered the water at Germany’s Meyer Werft in March, offering a glimpse of surface from Bolidt that has been extensively used for road works, car parks and bridges, but which has never before been requested for go-karting afloat.
Some 230m of track have been manufactured, using Bolideck® Racetrack, a synthetic material that is based on established road surfacing technology. The breakthrough delivery has been possible due to the product’s high flexibility and hard-wearing qualities, which will allow 20 karts onboard to race around on its slip-resistant surface at any one time.
Jacco van Overbeek, Director, Maritime Division, Bolidt, says: “The product is ideal for this application. It is durable, and slip resistant enough for safety purposes but not so non-slip as to take the thrill out of racing! RiMO came to our test facilities in the Netherlands to evaluate our wearing courses with their karts. Through this collaboration, we were able to develop the optimum grip on the flooring system for the race track. The look and feel of the material needs to be authentic, and the end result is both functional and attractive.”
RIMO designed the track to NCL specifications and Bolidt worked with them to determine where the markings within the Bolideck Racetrack system needed to go, and how the deck finish would be finessed underneath the side skirts and against the edges of the steel track. The complete project involved the delivery of around 1350m2 of Bolideck® Racetrack.
The race track is located on the ship’s upper decks, 18 and 19, and features a viewing platform, covered pit lane, workshop, storage room, timing system and floodlights. RiMO also supplied the electrically powered race karts that will use special technology to ensure they work well under the very particular conditions encountered at sea, with high levels of UV and saltwater exposure.
“We are very proud to have been involved in such a groundbreaking project and to have developed the first kart track onboard a ship,” says Peter Bertram, owner and chief executive of RiMO Germany Group.”Bolidt’s assistance and expertise in supplying marine decking materials was invaluable and I would like to thank them for their cooperation which ensured that we reached our goal in delivering this unique track in an efficient and uncomplicated way.”
Norwegian Joy, which can accommodate up to 4,200 passengers, is due to be handed over to NCL by Meyer Werft towards the end of April. She is the first cruise ship built by NCL specifically for the Chinese market, and will be homeported in Shanghai and Tianjin. Her maiden cruise is expected to commence in June this year.