Today’s ‘Fast Casual, Faster Cars’, is the [Ariel Atom 500 (V8)] owned by “Poncho”.
("Poncho") is a National Go-Kart Champion ('88-'92), go-kart mechanical engineer for his business, and family racing team, "989p Racing", where we serves as his son's chief karting engineer and coach.
DISCLAIMER: Here on FCFC, we respect the right to privacy of our guests. All names, locations, and cars have been changed to suit the digital market. Everything else is all yours for entertainment purposes.
Fast Casual Location? Smashburger
Fast Casual Lunch? (1) BBQ Ranch Salad, Crispy Brussels Sprouts, Large water & (1) Spicy Jalapeño Baja, Tator Tots, Large Water, Extra Napkins.
FCFC: Welcome back to ANOTHER!, 'Fast Casual, Faster Cars' #SuperLunch#, and today, we have joining us, a 5 Time National Karting Champion, who has now built and maintains his own go-karting league, school, and a racing team; he goes by the title and name tag, "Poncho".
Welcome to fast casual faster cars, Poncho. And before we begin, let me just say, the Ariel Atom is a legit roadcar, SOOO legit, that "Poncho" drove it (& drives it) during the rainy weather days. The sky has stopped leaking on us (for now), but, here we are, enjoying lunch outside (for now) in front of this super performing piece of vehicular artistry.
Poncho, thank you for joining me for lunch with your Ariel Atom V8.
"Poncho": I thank you for this invitation to share my story.
FCFC: So, I have to know, why the Ariel Atom to drop some coin on, versus, a Alfa Romeo 4C, or, Porsche Cayman?
"Poncho": Matt, the first rule you must understand about me is that 'all I know is karting'. Having the [Atom] keeps me in the state of reminder that this once 'toy' has, in all honesty, built my entire go-karting enterprise, and, in the process, built up this legacy that my boys are transforming every day. The Atom should be much more, in my opinion, but for me, it all goes back to the days of when my Father would pack up the wagon [photo] and my Mum, the trailer full of gear and tools - and remind you, we did this on a shoestring budget, like bare bones hustle, but, my Mother and Father made it work for me, and now today the investment has returned fifty-fold.
I know this was rather long winded... (chuckles) but, I'm passionate about karting and this piece of art truly re-scans my body back to the image of me when I was 12 years old and karting for the first time I raced. It's a way to live, drive, and promote our family legacy.
FCFC: Mr. Poncho, that was our most sincerest response we have ever had on this series. AND I FEEL IT, TOO, that passion that this vehicle can bring out of you within the drivers' seat as you.... (pauses for a moment) reignite the flame of your legacy's foundation. I mean, I feel it, I am right there with you, and I thank you for sharing it as you have.
Poncho: You're very welcome.
FCFC: Now, you have shared that karting is deep for you, so deep that you have made this once 'toy' of yours into a regionally recognized and adored school? Academy?
Poncho: Academy, yes.
FCFC: Academy, yes, an academy for not only the rising youth that gave you your first string of championships, but, for adults who wish to experience such a rush and share in leagues of their own?
Poncho: Absolutely. So, for my team and I, for starters, we all grew up in karting and this [vehicle] shares a common bond throughout our racing and karting DNA. For example, my chief mechanic drives a Caterham, our entire pit staff (which is only six crew members) either had at one point, a Caterham, A Morgan, A Slingshot (Polaris) - something outside of the traditional methods of a daily driver. Which works well for us, it brings into our enterprise an amazing wealth of experience, stories, mechanics, racing and practice styles - we couldn't ask for anything less.
The Academy is a rigorous sixteen week drivers briefing and the final weeks leading up to the karting degrees has students in rotational classes for those sixteen weeks, and continuously rotating classmates each week, while joining together each night, in what we call "Kart After Dark". Its an intensive 2 hour long karting race that studies the students in the daily lessons to see, review, and improve personal performances and, eventually, developing a crucial aspect to their fundamentals.
It is a lot of work, passion, sweat, and gasoline, but well worth it after 91% of our students go on to lead and drive for some amazing teams.
FCFC: It is amazing to hear this. About this enterprise that all starting with the go-kart, and now, as an adult, the Ariel Atom V8 is now an example of what can come following the success of an amateur championship series of opportunities. When the drive and desire is correct, essentially, anything is possible for the driven and the desired.
Poncho: That is it, and I am sure out of the thousands of students that flows through our Academy year after year, this will continue to have and produce similar stories. Which is why I am so "PRO-Ariel", I would love to get into their off-road vehicles and begin briefings around rallying, like Dakar, for example, but in a karting way. We could do wonders for those rising drivers.
FCFC: I do not doubt that one bit, Poncho. You and your staff, crew, team, and Academy instructors have done amazing things through the legacy of go-karting and appreciation of the Ariel and their market-mates. I do have a final question for you - “what does ‘owning’ your very own supercar mean for you?" Also - "if you purchase another supercar, would you, 1. Come back for another interview / story, and 2. What supercar do you have your eye focused on for the future?"
Poncho: Well, let me tell you, My Ariel was not my first supercar. When I was courting my (now) wife, I was driving around in a Mercedes SLR, and that was soon hers once the business and our family started. So for me, when you own the supercar of your desires, it is your way to present to yourself that when you truly work hard, and never settle, anything is possible.
As for my next purchase, my wife and I have tossed around a few options once the boys are racing on their own teams. We carry and travel our own crew and staff, so, we have to think "family" at this moment. Maybe later, something smooth and comfortably fast, like, Maserati's GranTurismo, perhaps?
We'll see, but once the boys are stable, and we select another 2 seater (with a proper cover - my wife refuses to drive or ride without one) I will let you guys know.
FCFC: Fantastic! And I cannot wait to read and see how well your family is coming in the karting circuit, also with your graduates of the Academy.
So much to look forward to.
And with our plates cleaned, ladies and gentlemen, This has been “Fast Casual, Faster Cars” with “Poncho” and his Ariel Atom 500.
Thanks to our sponsors of the day: Smashburger & Real Racing 3 by Electronic Arts. (Download the App here: https://www.ea.com/games/real-racing/real-racing-3)
Next time, join us for #SuperLunch when chow and chat with "Wally" and his Nissan GT-R [R35].