Preview - ProKart Endurance Championship, Round 2Tweet
This weekend almost 20 of Queensland’s ProKart Endurance Kart Racing teams will head to the Cooloola Kart Club’s Gympie Gold Raceway facility near Gympie in Queensland to contest the second round of the 2012 ProKart Track Safety International Queensland Endurance Karting Championships.
Already considered among the toughest motorsport series in Australia, the Queensland Track Safety International ProKart Endurance Championships are proving more competitive than ever in 2012 with the top 14 teams posting times within a second of each other in the first round this year. The gaps in the race were even smaller, with many teams fastest laps being within hundredths of a second of each other.
In previous seasons, to win in ProKart Endurance Kart Racing you generally needed to ensure you had no mechanical failures and most teams would ‘nurse’ their kart throughout the event to ensure limited exposure to mechanical issues. Such is the ultimate pace however that now all ProKart events are literally ‘sprint’ races, with competitors racing their karts at qualifying pace lap after lap, hour after hour in an effort to extract every last bit of performance.
Strategy has always played a significant part in Endurance Racing and has become increasingly important as the on-track performance differential between teams in the championship has leveled out. With Safety Cars, Pit Stops, Driver Changes and Refuelling playing the same roles they do in other Motorsport Endurance events such as the Bathurst 1000, Le Mans or even Formula 1, ProKart Endurance Karting has become a fascinating spectacle for not only the on-track competition between evenly matched racing karts, but for the varying approaches each team take to their specific race strategies as they seek every opportunity to gain an advantage.
It is inevitable then that as teams prepare for this weekend’s event at Cooloola most will be searching for any incremental gain in performance that they can find. Meticulous workshop preparation will be combined with team meetings to discuss various strategies – all before teams even arrive at the track.
One team that is working to secure a result are the MF-Tech team of Shane McMah, Glenn Firth and Ian McMah. This team won the first round of the series at Willowbank International Raceway in March this year and has been working tirelessly to ensure they have the best possible opportunity to win again and extend their series lead this weekend. The team also couldn’t be happier with their new KnK chassis, with MF-Tech’s Ian McMah commenting, “after a season spent struggling to find the optimum performance of our previous chassis, we were fortunate to make the decision to work with Guy Tingey at KnK Karts Australia and run the new KnK Dominator chassis in 2012. We literally haven’t had to put a spanner on the kart to do anything other than routine maintenance and it has been quick straight out of the box and is incredibly responsive to set up changes”.
It’s not surprising that MF-Tech are pleased with their KnK chassis either, as 3 of the top 5 finishers in Round 1 were running the KnK Dominator chassis.
Nexus Force KnK are looking to secure their first round win in the ProKart series and find themselves more motivated than ever after coming within 35 seconds of the win in Round 1 this year. Also running a KnK chassis, Nexus Force KnK have been exceptionally quick since debuting their all-new KnK Dominator at the 24-hour race in June last year, but have never had the right combination of reliability, strategy and good-fortune to secure their maiden win. It’s not a matter of if this team will win a race; only a matter of when and it’s very possible that they could be victorious this weekend at Cooloola.
2DADZ Racing put in one of their best ever performances in Round 1 to secure the final place on the podium and are a very real threat to break through for their first win. Brett Milton and Craig Missen are driving better than ever and the preparation of the 2DADZ Racing JKR Chassis is among the best you’ll ever see. Expect them to challenge for victory this weekend.
Among a number of other teams likely to contest the outright win are RPM 24, BF Racing, Palmer Racing and 2011 Queensland series champions Phantom Racing.
Despite a frustrating first round in which the team lacked their traditional outright pace and were further challenged by a number of pitlane speeding infringements and their consequential drive-through penalties, the Phantom Racing team of Simon Ham and Steve Thompson rallied to salvage a remarkable 4th place result in Round 1. Undoubtedly they have spent considerable time and effort preparing for this event as they strive to set the foundations to defend their series championship status.
This weekend’s race will be contested over 2 parts – a 1 hour ‘sprint’ race on Saturday (race start at 3pm) and a 6-hour on Sunday. With Saturday’s race offering valuable championship points as well as defining the grid for Sunday’s enduro it will be a hotly contested event. Teams need to undertake 2 mandatory pit-stops during the 1 hour race and this ensures an action packed event as teams scramble to get their pit stops done quicker than their competitors in order to gain an on-track advantage.
Saturday’s action starts from 9am with qualifying from 2pm and racing commences on Sunday at 8am.