FIA President - "we want to standardise the specifications"

Dear oh dear. If this means ‘spec’ racing (and complete subservience to F1) t’s pretty much game over, we had a good run.

@Simone_Perego please for the love of god tell us this isn’t accurate. FIA is out of control if this is true.

But the President is right, kartinghas become WAY to exspensive, you have to be filthy rich to participate.
Look at X30 and Rotax, you might not like it but it is popular and at least cheaper then the FIA classes,

But every time FIA tries something like this it tends to backfire, OKJN and OKN has not really hit the track running….

The trouble with OKN and OKJN is that the target market is already all but won over by IAME, Rotax or Vortex. Furthermore that same demographic has also been more or less conditioned to believe that any multi-make format will invariably be exorbitantly expensive, despite the fact that the monopoly they’re entrenched in isn’t as inexpensive as it should be, as a subset of the competitors plow money into trying to build “frankenmotor” by purchasing quantities of parts to find favorable QC/manufacturing tolerance variation.

Furthermore, if the FIA actually wants to grow participation in those categories, they should probably go back to basics and deal with dysfunctional ASN’s. Without the very basics of their organization working properly, there is no point in anyone seeking to promote a class. It’s the old ‘walk before you run’.


He is wrong.

The reason karting is expensive is primarily because of the association with Formula 1. I think there are other associated costs now, but the fundamental driver of prices is Formula 1. Remove F1 dreamers from the paddock the costs will reduce, quickly.

The idea Rotax is cheaper is not true. As soon as Rotax became the prime class in the UK engines were going for £25,000. It doesn’t reduce costs. If the FIA OK paddock went Rotax, suddenly prices would be at OK levels and beyond.

But the point here is a sporting one. FIA Karting isn’t a ‘spec’ competition. it’s got World and EUropean Championship status. To go spec would betray the history of the sport.

They’ve made countless errors we all know, but avoiding spec competition isn’t one of them.

Do guys like Kutscher give a crap about the FIA and what they want or is US pro karting (skusa/uspks) marching to the beat of its own thing?

The only class that’s FIA is Pro-Shifter, but everything else is not really a concern.


Bald eagle flies overhead and poops on the FIA’s plans

Errr this may be an unpopular take, but from my experience… If you asked Tom Kutscher what OKJ-N is, I’d be surprised if her knew what it was. SKUSA org is very entrenched in SKUSA and anything outside of that is irrelevant to them. Tom loves karting, thinks it’s cool and badass, but he’s never been the guy who gets into the weeds on things that aren’t immediately beneficial to him, or aren’t fed to him by whoever he trusts around him. SKUSA’s stance on a variety of topics can be explained by the changing tides of personal relationships behind the scenes.


You’re right. The FIA is the dysfunctional component though. They have zero clue what they are doing most of the time. Their marketing is terrible. Their coverage of events is largely terrible. There’s some good people within the organisaiton but it can’t be two things at once. It can’t be the Formula 5 that so many seem to want it to be and be a standalone as well. I think the presidents words suggest the former philosophy is winning.

The curse of being into karting history is that you can see what we once had, and to see it desecrated to what it is now is sad.

I had a conversation recently that echoed this same sentiment surrounding SKUSA’s latest post essentially asking everyone in KZ (Calling it pro shifter is stupid) to get their entries in or they would cancel the class.

The drivers in Shifter, are not necessarily motivated by the same things that the drivers in non-shifter are. The gearbox classes really aren’t a part of the “ladder” and as a result, should be marketed to differently.

ProKartChallenge/Early “modern” SKUSA were a perfect example of this. They refused Cadet/Junior classes, ran a largely adult focused series, and structured the events to run Friday/Saturday because they wanted the competitors to be able to have a life/family on Sunday. It was wildly successful, and eventually led to the purchase of SKUSA, and the peak that saw a number of F1 drivers in Vegas. Before this, Tom and the other two founders (Greg Smith and Jim Baltutis iirc) were frustrated that they didn’t have a place they could race shifters , that wasn’t overrun with children and their insane parents who were convinced their kid was the second coming of christ.

Now, they’ve really just become what they sought to destroy, and it’s almost comical that they can’t see why they struggle to get shifter entries outside vegas.

Bit of a tangent, but I’m sure you can see the parallel.


So let’s say the pendulum continues its swing… I think we are seeing this swing broadly across everything.

Wealth has become distributed in ways that favor a small group of very affluent individuals. Theres also been a simultaneous rise in how people communicate (social media) and the results are in: collectively we are into watching rich people do rich people things.

Luxury and spendiness seem to be what is working (generally) from a marketing standpoint. It doesn’t surprise me that everyone wants to go uptown.

I see zero chance that top level karting gets anything other than what Alan fears. Its good news to me that for USA that Kutscher et al don’t care about FIA.

I also have trouble seeing how the FIAs plans have any bearing on club racing etc. I suppose it would affect what engine classes are left to buy from teams when done.

I am hopeful that the majority of karting (club/rental) does its own thing.

I am also hopeful that economical karting (rental) experiences a huge surge and that we benefit from that, broadly. This seems to be what’s happening. A lot of interest in “starter” karting.

But yeah it’s sort of hard to look at this as anything other than “well that’s not good.”

A thought: where the fuck were they before everything “popped”? And so WHY should we care what they think now? You wanna be pals now that karting looks like it will be successful? No thx.

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The pendulum will never cease, the markets are cyclical, and the US at least, has a pretty well defined cycle that virtually every category goes through. Happy to expand on that if you’d like.

I’ll leave the broader socioeconomic commentary alone as I don’t want this conversation to attract political trolls.

The bold section I genuinely don’t understand how you arrive at this conclusion. How do you think that the US doesn’t already have what Alan fears? And if the US is fine, why would top level karting having essentially the same thing be a problem?

I’m going with Alan’s statement that that’s not the case. I personally don’t know what the case is in us top level karting, thus my check with Alan.

I do get that there’s already been a bunch of changes over time in karting broadly (including USA) and that we are probably most of the way there already.

In rentals and club stuff, I don’t really see much being different other than new faces.

I guess where I’m confused is best explained this way.

FIA is a multi-make, less restrictive format.

Spec racing is a single make, heavily restricted format.

If the FIA changing to spec racing is bad, how is SKUSA (spec racing) good?

It’s… the same, with less steps.

The money being spent at the top level of international competition, and the sharp end of SKUSA, are tragically similar. What Alan has described of the UK in Rotax, has and does take place in the US.

I hear what you are saying. I guess what I find confusing is why the FIA has any say at all in the USA. If our professional ORGs are run by folks who arent beholden to the FIA ruleset that is reassuring. Not that they wont make similar decisions, ultimately, perhaps. Who knows.

Its nice to have Marjin and Joe Turney come race, for sure. I guess the one thing that would be nice is that would be less of a rarity.

Karting done right is the best value in wheel-to-wheel racing you can get. It gets expensive when you contort it to be the first step of a pyramid scheme that seeks to extract maximum resources from parents.

I’ve said it before recently and I’ll repeat it again. Terms like “expensive” and “affordable” are of no practical use for change without specifics… eg, what does affordable even mean?

Honestly I don’t think the cost for top level CIK\FIA has changed. It cost everything you can throw at it for FK , FSA, KF and now for OK. The costs come from everything else that surrounds the effort, not necessarily the direct costs to run and maintain the kart… Travel, testing, accommodation, R&D, staff. It’s always been a multi-manufactuer war of arms. Unless that changes, the demo and spending it attracts won’t change…

But, CIK\FIA is kinda cornered because the Rotax, IAME etc have anything other than CIK\FIA covered. If Rotax was good enough for Verstappen then it’s as good as anything else.

The elephant in the room of course is that karting is still the least expensive part of the pyramid scheme

It’s a bit of a chicken and egg scenario though… FIA needs to have some sort of a value prop that resonates with the drivers that are part of those ASNs

I think you’re placing too much weight and association with FIA and karting’s history.

A freakin men. Karting is many things to many people… The FIA portion is just one part of it and I don’t think anything they say should be considered some sort of universal truth for the sport…

They don’t really. BUT there are a lot of people in the US that are enamored with the FIA model because they associate it with being closer to F1 and that it’s a well adopted homogeneous model. The former is true, but the latter… Europe is a much as a class melting pot as anywhere else.

They absolutely do not. The FIA ASN (National Sporting Authority) for the United States is ACCUS (Automobile Competition Committee for the United States) who most people have never heard of, because it’s simply an umbrella corporation of other sanctioning bodies in 4-Wheel motorsports. (NASCAR, IndyCar, NHRA, USAC, etc) ACCUS has given the responsibility/delegated the ‘governing’ of Karting to USAC, who is not, and to my knowledge has never been, active in the karting community, or ever organized a karting event. If you’re familiar with USAC, it’s likely for Lightning Sprints, Quarter midgets, or other disciplines primarily in oval racing. The extent of USAC’s involvement in sprint karting is essentially limited to issuing licenses to Americans who need a US FIA license to go race abroad. Having USAC handle FIA Karting activity in the United States, makes about as much sense as asking your welder to govern the carpenters union. Sure, both trades make things but that’s about where the similarities end.

We’re in a situation in the US that the organizers, or “promoters” are simply businesses setup to import/distribute a product and promote races to further the sale/consumption of their products. When you take a step back and look at it for what it is, it’s hard not to feel like you’re taking crazy pills, because the country that prides itself on being “free”, is largely a tug of war between two pseudo-monopolies presenting what were originally conceived to be hobby engines, as the pinnacle of our sport in this country.

Then we wonder why the perceived cost of competition goes crazy and discourages further participation at levels that it really isn’t a problem at. :upside_down_face:


Not denying that this is the case, but I think the current landscape is more of a symptom than a cause. Promoters venturing into product sales seems like an avenue to make their “promoting” more viable. Also, if I’m in their shoes and I have a captive audience, why wouldn’t I try to capture a piece of that pie? Are there any examples of longstanding promoters (current or former) that didn’t rely on product sales/allegiances to survive and grow?

Coming back to this thread 12 hours after my last visit….

Oh No Fire GIF

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