Just a question out of curiosity
How do people end up racing for a factory karting team? Does the driver seek the team with a good resume to back them up or does the team seek the driver? (I have no interest in pursuing this, I’ve just always been curious.)
big wallet… 99% of the cases…
I know a few guys who went over to Europe as “factory” drivers and agree with Andrea, they had to foot most of the bill to run with the team. Though they were “invited” by the factory to drive for them.
I would say there are a fair few opportunities to be a “team driver” here in the States at the moment. Big teams are usually fielding at least one driver who is paying next to nothing, picked based on their past performances. There are A LOT of quality drivers here right now though, so you really need to be something special to get any kind of offer.
Thanks again for the answers guys! Learning alot from this forum.
It depends on if you mean paid to drive or free to drive. I dare say there are few free to drive drivers in the US (as TJ has said). Usually in a team where the other drivers are unknowingly paying for the free driver. Having said that to get noticed in the first place they will usually have spent a decent amount. OGP, I understand, have a few free drive for kids until they graduate high school which is a nice program and has seen some great drivers come through, no doubt other big teams have free drivers like PSL.
Paid probably one or two in North America (guessing Carlton and Formal), maybe 10 in Europe, and not paid very well and usually have to work in the factory during the week.
I was a “factory” driver in Europe once, firmly in the category of other drivers paying for me (one of them running Indy500 this month) and had to do some racing off our own backs to get noticed and we got lucky with an influential British engine tuner at the time pushing our case with the Italian manufacturer.
I’ve lost count of the ‘Factory Drivers’ that I know, who are paying (See: mom and dad are paying) for the special attention. That’s fine too. You get what you pay for. It should really be called “Preferred Customer” rather than ‘factory driver’ for most people though. Yet, the extra attention gets them to spend more giga-quads of money with the manufacturer, so they get the title.
Like TJ said, there are a ton of talented drivers out there too. I only know a few who are able to get a ride without having to spend any money. Even then, they normally they have a ton of experience and connections with people to get it too.