An Ontario man is attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled indoors in a go-kart over 24 hours. The punishing endurance race is Matthew Hayley’s way of putting family tragedy and personal depression in the rearview mirror.

The current record set in 2014 by a U.S. driver is 733.58 kilometres. Hayley will need to chew up at least 3,940 laps of Brampton’s serpentine Formula Kartways circuit to break it. The checkered flag drops at 12 p.m. on Tuesday.

“It’s not about strength. It’s not about endurance. When you are going for 24 hours, it is about your state of mind,” he told CTV Toronto before beginning the record attempt on Monday.

Hayley said he has about 20,000 laps under his belt after four months of serious training. It’s no child’s birthday party activity, he explains. The kart can hit 55 kilometres per hour in a straight line, and pull 2 g in the corners.

“It’s a machine. It’s an absolute beast,” Hayley told CTV News Channel, while on a break after several hours of racing. “I have to be careful with it, or it will hurt me.”

Hayley bested the previous lap record at Formula Kartways on Wednesday with a time of 15.591 seconds.

During the record attempt he is only able to get out of the kart for short breaks to use the bathroom and stretch. He communicates with his coach using hand signals. Other than that, he’s counting on a playlist of music to keep him focused on consistent and quick laps.


Hayley is driving for more than bragging rights. He said watching his mother lose a battle with cancer sent him into a deep depression. The rush of racing has helped him rebound, but the expense of getting behind the wheel presented a new problem.

“I almost lost my home. I put everything into this,” Hayley said.

Formula Kartways stepped in with a sponsorship, which allowed him to attempt the record. Hayley credits the people at the track for doing far more than that.

“I’ve been off work for almost a year. Depression. I just didn’t get over mom too soon. I finally have a chance to drive it all away,” he said. “Formula Kartways has saved my life. I was literally considering the worst five months ago.”

Hayley hopes to use the attention from the world record attempt to raise $5,000 for The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.


Hayley’s coach said he feels confident the world record is within his driver’s grasp.

Months of training, including taping a 3.5-pound lump of lead to Hayley’s helmet to build up his neck strength, have helped him achieve the physical and mental stamina to endure 24 hours on the track.

“The toll this is going to take on his body is almost inhuman,” said coach and Formula Kartways general manager Shaun De Jager. “Most race car drivers can’t go more than a few hours before their body just kind of gives up on them. Matt has to go for 24.”

Hayley said he has endured calcification on one of his ribs, and “micro-fractures” that caused his fingers to swell, from the practice driving. Still, he’s convinced the experience has elevated him to the best shape of his life.

“I’m in the best state of health I’ve ever been in,” he said. “This is absolutely surreal.”

With a report from CTV Toronto’s Scott Lightfoot