By Donna Hill
For the Fort Bend Star
Ask Kory Enders how he started on the fast track of racing and he’ll gladly answer: Go-karts.
His younger fans will eventually learn the story of how Enders started his racing career, but for now, they were happy to listen to Enders rev up the engines of his race car last weekend at the Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center, telling them what it’s like to be a professional driver, taking on the track at 200 mph.
He’s come a long way from go-karts.
Enders, who lives in Sugar Land, is a professional racecar driver for DEForce Racing and serves as the brand ambassador for Mercedes-Benz of Sugar Land and McLaren Houston.
He’s originally from Warwick, NY, but has lived in Fort Bend County for most of his life, and is a graduate of Clements High School.
Call Enders a mature and articulate guy who understands about the business of car racing – including publicity. His father’s company, Mercedes Benz of Sugar Land, has been behind Enders with sponsorships, while his father has personally been there for guidance and support in the highly competitive world of car racing.
“My dad has always been a big part of my racing career from the very beginning. I started falling in love with racing at a young age, and people told my dad that I had a talent for it and everything kinda all went from there,” he said.
Eventually Enders looked for sponsorship opportunities with his father, Kenneth Enders, as his racing career developed.
“We figured we’d do driving events for the company, where we would bring people down to the track and put them in our cars, giving them a full experience of what our cars or their demo cars can do,” Enders said. “I would do the driving, which would open up a lot of sponsorship opportunities for me. It’s great publicity for everybody.”
When asked about his earliest car racing memory, Enders laughed and replied “Go-karts! I started getting into racing at about six years old. And almost every driver starts with go-karts before they get to cars, just to get immersed in the sport at a young age. I think that’s kinda what it takes to fall in love with driving cars.”
Enders pointed out these are not the average everyday go-karts.
“They’re very fast and can reach up to 100-120 mph. These are serious machines fully stripped down for racing,” he said.
He started doing track events around Fort Bend County, and also at MSR Houston, a driver’s track where a racer can experience driving in a controlled environment.
“I did that race but unfortunately high school kinda prevented me from driving more,” he said.
Enders said it came down to either high school, or dropping out to pursue racing full time.
“I didn’t really want to drop out; I wanted to finish high school and then pursue what I wanted to do.”
“I took a four year break from racing to finish high school. I did a lot of ‘testing’ which is basically practicing in a car, but nothing professional.”
Enders coach and team owner, David Martinez (who’s raced in the top levels of racing from IndyCar to Champ Car World Series) has worked with Enders for several years. Enders is now competing in the USF-17 series, while focusing on getting to the Indy Lights, “which is basically one step before IndyCar my end goal. IndyCar is the biggest racing series in the United States. It’s up there with NASCAR – it’s huge.”
When he’s not on the racetrack, Enders is home in Sugar Land, practicing on a simulator he and his father made. With it, he can simulate racing cars on any track all over the world.
“I was always interested in computers, and learned how to build a computer – not a super computer, but more of a high end gaming computer,” he said. “Then I got three monitors. With my dad’s help I put in a pedal box, a steering wheel and hooked the monitors up – it works pretty well.”
Looking back, he said he would have been distracted in high school if the simulator was in his room.
“I would have never done my homework,” he said.
Enders’ driving experience has not been overlooked by family members. His sister, now 16, wants Enders to teach her how to drive. The first driving lesson for her, he said, would be to have her always looking ahead.
“It’s not so much what you are doing on the road, it’s what the other people are doing on the road that’s dangerous,” he said. “You need to be adaptive and predictive on the road. You are going really fast and it doesn’t seem like it because everyone else is moving fast, but you get one small mistake and it can lead to a big accident, so you really need to be focused and looking at everybody else and keep your eyes up. A lot of people tend to look down at the hood of their car and that really doesn’t give you enough time to react.”
Enders is flexing his creative muscles by hosting an upcoming web series called “Hot Laps.” (Hot lapping, or lapping, is a motorsport where vehicles drive around a racetrack without actually competing for a position and no passing is allowed, nor any contact.) The series would give viewers an in-depth look into high performance McLaren and Mercedes-AMG vehicles.
“Basically we would take local Houston celebrities around the track. I drive a McLaren, or any fast car, and we do an interview with the celebrity as I drive full speed around a race track,” he said.
A recent guest on the series was Logan Lester, Miss Houston 2016. His next big race is in September at Watkins Glen.