EKN Trackside: 2013 Rotax Grand Finals – Preview
Record event hits United States soil for first time
For complete coverage of the 2013 Rotax Grand Finals and Team USA, head to the EKN Event Page
The prestigious Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals has been well over 365 days in the making, as a record number of drivers are traveling to the NOLAMotorsportsPark for the annual world championship. The New Orleans facility will welcome 360 drivers from 53 countries to compete for the Rotax title in four categories, in addition to the Micro & Mini Max Invitational event for North American drivers.
For 13 years now, the Rotax Max Challenge has hosted the ‘Olympics of Karting’ for 14 straight years, visiting numerous locations around the globe. This year’s event is the first stop for the United States of America, with MAXSpeed Group – the United States distributor of all Rotax karting products – serving as the host promoter while working with BRP – the parent company of Rotax. This season also marks the 30 year celebration of Rotax kart engines, as the company continues it commitments to motorsports.
With the event on US soil, the anticipation is high for the 24 drivers making up Team USA this year. Many days and laps at the track have been made this past season in preparation for a chance at the Rotax world title in the four categories. A complete breakdown of drivers making up 2013 Team USA can be found in the EKN Event Page. It is almost a home race for those making up Team Canada, who has scored six world titles in the last sevens years along with the Nations Cup in 2007. For complete coverage for Team Canada, head over to MaxChallenge.ca.
The week long Rotax Grand Finals is a celebration of making it to the world championship, and also a dramatic journey on course as drivers bid for the titles. The event officially begins Sunday, as drivers visit the facility for the first time to register and check in their safety equipment. That evening, a welcome party will join all the racers, mechanics, family and staff together before the action begins. Monday is the annual raffle of karts, with drivers drawing for their spec chassis and engine that they will compete on during the year. Chassis partners for this year’s RMCGF are CRG, Sodi, Energy, and Praga. Once drivers receive their kart, they will finish building to their liking, adding the necessary graphics and team decals before hitting the track Tuesday morning.
November 12 is the first time on course for three practice sessions, broken up by even and odd numbers at 15 minutes each around the 1.46km (9/10-mile) course. Two more practice rounds Wednesday lead into the most important 15 minutes of the event – qualifying. For some, it can make or break your event, as it lines you up for the three heat races taking place over Thursday and Friday. With 72 drivers in each class, only the top 28 in points from the heat races qualify directly into championship Saturday. The following next 34 are moved into the Second Chance Race with six transfer positions available, while the rest are left to watch from the sidelines. Saturday holds a prefinal to set the lineup for the four main events to decide this year’s champions.
In addition to the RMCGF, the Micro & Mini Invitational will be held in conjunction, welcoming 36 Mini Max and 36 Micro Max drivers from North America. Drivers had to earn their way to the NOLA facility from events in Canada, Mexico and the United States. Western and eastern champions from Canada, along with national championship top finishers will come from north of the border. The Mexican Grand Nationals decided the two drivers in each category to make their way to New Orleans, while the rest was decided in the USA through the Grand Nationals and the many USRMC programs across the country. Their kart raffle begins Wednesday, as they hit the track Thursday for the first time. Their main events will take place prior to the RMCGF championship races.
eKartingNews.com will have complete trackside coverage throughout the week, beginning Sunday with the welcome party. You can find updates at the Official Discussion Thread, Facebook, and Twitter with a number of photos posted to Instagram. Additional coverage, including Paddock Pass and interviews will be found at the EKN Event Page throughout the week.