Discuss: Europe\US ... Spec\Multi Manufacturer .. State of Karting Media and Stories

The big difference between Europe and the States is that most of the OK drivers want to go on in cars,and see this as a perfect way to develop their driving skills.
There are a couple of american drivers in Europe,they live in Italy,and this is the only way to get higher up and,who knows,F1…

They race in a team,like Tony,Birel,KR etc…and spend about 250.000 dollars a year
almost everything included,a race weekend 5 sets or more of tires,engines that have to be rebuild after 2 hours(piston 1 hour) but after the OKJ and OK,they are at most 17 years of age,the moment of truth…are they good enough for a higher car or Formula class and do you have the money?

Lance Stroll is a good example…his dad is a billionaire,and Lance was not particular good in the OKJ or OK class but money talks,I think he improved a lot in F1.Max Verstappen another example.
Basically they all started in karting

A pal of mine went through the junior euro karting combine with Sainz, Lando etc. it is as you describe. The money ran out. :joy:

Lance didn’t do OK, he did KF. I am not sure if he even did seniors. Max was a multiple world karting champion and did KZ, which Lance didn’t do. So not comparable.

I always say getting into cars is essentially the same as getting into karts: Pick a class, pay, go play. For the most part, that’s it.

Driving skills rarely (if ever) pay the bills… Yet some families insist on throwing the house at karting, hoping that high level wins will translate into a drive in cars.

I think top-level, top-coin karting’s position on the proverbial racing ladder is slowing becoming diminished as time goes on. Especially as sim racing becomes more prevalent as a tool, and an means to grow an audience.

Karting definitely has a place still of course, but I was starting over again, I’d be looking at spec series as a basis vs the FIA\CIK route, spend the money left over on seat time in a car and getting licence signatures while I’m at it. Yes, karting counts as signatures too (Speaking to Europe here) but if you’re going to be spending that money, you might as well acquire the signatures in cars… if cars are what you want to to do.

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Unless you are attempting to win the World Karting Championship in KZ (and thus reach the pinnacle of the sport ala Verstappen), I see the value of CIK karting as ladder racing as diminishing too.

Alan you are right about Lance Stroll,he did KFJ and I think one year KF,I just want to mention the classes,now it is OKJ and OK.

Max did the KFJ and KF also.After that he did KZ2 and KZ.
The KZ class is not the pinnacle of the sport,sorry,it is basically a class for drivers who just could not make it in cars.

The last americans in Europe were Menezes and Logan they are doing pretty good in the cars.
I am sure you guys have heard of Ugochukwu,Zilich and a couple of other americans.They are the new generation and I am pretty sure that you will hear more of young american drivers.
But my point is that the European attitude is more focused in having a future in the motorsport.

Max did KF and KZ concurrently if I recall correctly.

By that definition there can be no pinnacle of karting as by default anyone who races beyond the age of 16 is a failure according to your standard. What nonsense. I watched Schumacher, and several other F1 drivers get spanked by Lammers in Las Vegas. Doing well in cars means nothing if you’re a kart person. I’d go as far as saying car racing on the whole is of a lower standard than karts.

Going into cars because your dad can by an F3 team is not a barometer of success either.

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You said "car racing is a lower standard than karts"I understand but you cannot compare the intensity of both.
I worked with the Intrepid factory team in 2009 and Buemi and Algazuari joined the team to compete in the World Champoinship at the Sarno track.At the time both were F1 drivers.I remember the face of Buemi after the first training…I thought he was going to pass out!
So I wasn’t saying only good drivers can reach F1 you need a lot of luck and most of the time a lot of cash.

Your point is KZ isn’t the pinnacle of the sport. I think it’s self evident KZ is the pinnacle otherwise why would Jamie and Sebastian choose KZ over KF.

I’d argue in 2001 that Formula Super A was the pinnacle, and thus so did Schumi, but with the on-set of KF and its disastrous effects of the sport, KZ became the ‘pinnacle’ and thus this is reflected with Schumi’s participation moving from the single gear class to the gearbox catagory. I’d go as far as saying KZ is the only true senior category. OK is a borderline Junior class atm bar a few exceptions.

My honest thought would be that the pinnacle of karting is whatever class is the most competitive, but the pinnacle of karts is KZ2

These days single make racing is far more exciting to watch than OK/OKJ racing. It’s purely an equipment game in the CIK stuff, and the races are a bore. You see someone like Travisanutto change equipment and he’s no longer competitive. The Iame World Finals, Rotax Grand Finals, Kartmasters GP, SKUSA Pro Tour…awesome fun to race or watch. And the quality of drivers is great; there are a number of cross-overs from CIK stuff, and they don’t all rise to the top when on equal equipment. Just like in cars, the drivers in CIK stuff aren’t necessarily better, they just have the funding to race a more expensive series and the apparent ability to forgo an education. I don’t believe there is a “pinnacle” in karting, just different ways to do it (I think of KZ is a different sport altogether).

Totally disagree on single-make being more exciting. It is without consequence. Nothing is being proven, nothing is being tested, no development. It also completely annihilates the opportunity for drivers to be professional because who’s hiring? If Travisnuttu takes a step back because the gear isn’t good, it makes the potential eventual victory even more interesting. There’s tension, there’s consequence, there’s reward.

By the way you say you like Kartmasters GP and so on. Don’t forget some of those highly talented drivers are on deals because of open chassis (i.e NOT single-make). Without them you might not be seeing the likes of Danny Keirle (who races for Jade on the Birel), Oli Hodgson (Comp Kart and formally PF team driver) and so on because they, and many others, probably wouldn’t be racing. You’d probably being seeing a lower standard of driver in my opinion. So there you’ve slightly contradicted yourself :slight_smile: I don’t think Danny Keirle would have raced at Supernats either if it was purely single-make ala EasyKart. Without multi manufacturers then the sport would be bereft of talent. Where would Joe Turney be racing now without being picked up by OTK?

Where I think OK, and CIK in general went wrong was they tried to emulate Rotax, which was never going to work in a multimake environment and completely nuked the top level and I don’t think its recoverable.

For the Rotax Grand Finals, I can’t name any winners. As good as event it is for those competing, it’s somewhat forgettable. It’s beige racing.

Each to their own, but the failure with karting is stories aren’t being told.

I split the topic up as I think this is going to be an interesting one heading into the off season. (Well off season for some of us)

What constitutes a pinnace of a sport varies depending on one’s perspective I think
But this seems a little off base on the quality of the KZ grid.

KZ is a class of more experienced drivers, running against more experienced drivers… Many of which already proved their worth in OK or other non gearbox classes.

This deserves it’s own topic as well I think… But one day at a time.
Are there any stories anymore Alan? And moreso… who cares about them?

If no one tells the stories, then no one cares.
People only care about stories, when you tell them. Otherwise, no one knows to care. It’s a chicken and egg scenario. I agree with @Alan_Dove, but also I don’t know very many people who are willing to make the investment in other people to tell their stories.

Nor do many people want to take the time to tell their own stories anymore, outside of what their race results are. Ironically, what people probably care the least about.

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On the topic of stories, media and journalism, here’s an older topic, but the discussion is still on the money…

So not to belabor the point, but what are the stories? That’s where I’m kinda stuck. I find it hard to think of many at all. (Maybe something for a brainstorm topic?).

There are some youtubers out there doing karting stuff that have gathered a following, so that’s a thing. My view (possibly skewed by my age now) is that the most interesting stories are from times before I started karting…

I think there definitely are stories there. I dug up Morcambe World Cup and that went down well. I know it was a history piece, but chatting to Mark Allen and watching what he does with the Superkart team, they have it’s a great story. A father and two sons brazing karts together and racing around the UK in these mad machines. That most definitely is a story…they don’t even realise themselves funnily enough. However with Covid + Superkarts use leather + lack of resources means I couldn’t ever do anything with it.

Just look at the layers of interest there

We have a family team literally designing and manufacturing their own race kart. They then go a different route to everyone else with 2x KZ engines instead of a traditional 250 twin. When they race… they really are racing. It means something, there’s blood sweat and tears invested.

When it comes to the short circuit stuff, well, that is less dynamic nowadays of course. I don’t think it’s wrong to say the old 100cc stuff had the most depth of interest when I was following it around the country and racing now and again. The groups were full of dynamic conversations about different engines and carb solutions. The range of chassis designs on display is astonishing too. Everyone had their own unique story about their own rebuild project. All the tuners were often viscously against each other. There was so many layers, so many stories. Just so much to talk about.

Alas though I think as karting has moved away from that culture and more into the single-make realms it’s less interesting, less dynamic. I think competitors will often, given the choice, move towards less complexity in terms of choice and thus we get single-make engine classes and homogenisation of chassis design (though thankfully that’s still open). That’s fine of course. I didn’t necessarily have to go that way, but it did.

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That’s very true. It’s expensive and there’s little or no reward for doing so nowadays.

The potential is there, I just wish the new breed of younlings would go after it proper. Nothing would make me happier than seeing a bunch of youngsters build their own kart and go smash the opposition at Supernats or something like that. How cool would that be instead of off the shelf OTK racing. What a story that would be, you’re AMERICA after all people.

I loved that story. Since you’re too humble to share it yourself… I’ll do it for you.

There’s a ton more stories like this. In America alone a visit to the first car parks Art Ingels raced at would be a good start. (i know the geography makes it an issue haha america is rather large)