FIA Karting Endurance Championship is More International than Ever in 2018
The third edition of the FIA Karting Endurance Championship will take place during the 24 Hours Karting organised at the Le Mans International Karting Circuit by the ACO on 29th and 30th September 2018. This Competition confirms the ascendance of OK engines in endurance with 13 teams committed to the GP1 category out of the 32 participants entered to date. On the other hand, between the official teams and the pure specialists in the discipline, the FIA Karting Endurance Championship sees an increase in international representation.
With the CIK-FIA, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) is pursuing its efforts to develop the audience of its great specialty, endurance racing. To go further in this direction, the great novelty of 2018 is to match the date of 24 Hours karting with that of a very popular event, the 24 Hours Trucks on the famous Bugatti circuit close to the kart track. This event, counting for the FIA European Truck Racing Championship, attracts a very large audience. Motor Sport enthusiasts will have the opportunity to enjoy two 24 Hours Races during the same weekend.
This year, 13 GP1 karts will compete on the 1384m Le Mans Karting International Circuit as part of the FIA Karting Endurance Championship. Lightweight and powerful, these machines, powered by the latest generation OK engines, have also demonstrated their excellent reliability in the previous two editions. The enthusiasm they arouse justifiably explains why the OK represents 40% of the 24 Hours Karting field this year. As in previous editions, LeCont will be the exclusive tyre supplier for this Competition.
Internationally renowned champions and specialists in the discipline will face each other with different attributes, but the same desire to win. The main factories have understood that a victory in the FIA Karting Endurance Championship at Le Mans after 24 Hours offers first class media and commercial benefits. Although they have not all taken the step openly, two of them will compete again in 2018 through their factory teams.
Carrying the No. 2, the CRG SpA team will start with increasing ambitions as the Italian brand deepens its knowledge of endurance. It will feature two World Champions, Paolo De Conto (ITA) and Pedro Hiltbrand (ESP), alongside two young drivers known for their speed, Callum Bradshaw (GBR) and Andrea Rosso (ITA). Two 100% Czech crews will reinforce the presence of the CRGs powered by TM Racing at Le Mans with Czech Endurance Karting Blue and Red No. 7 and No. 8.
For its part the French brand Sodikart will line up an official team, the No. 3, also with a TM Racing engine, for the World Championship winner Tom Joyner (GBR) along with the experienced Bas Lammers (NLD) and Anthony Abbasse (FRA), multiple winner of the event, and the very fast Alex Irlando (ITA). The No. 1 will be reserved for the winner of the 2017 edition, the Sodi / TM Racing of Rouen GSK whose team composition has been completely renewed and rejuvenated. Yann Bouvier (FRA), Milane Petelet (FRA), Thomas Mialane (FRA) and Jules Mettetal (FRA) will have the heavy burden of defending the title this year.
The Vortex engines will be well represented among the other contenders for the win and the battle between the two great Italian engine manufacturers will be very interesting to follow. A great of endurance racing, the British crew London Kookeli will rely on their international training to defend their chances. On the other hand, experienced teams in the GP2 category like JFJ Performance or Cormeilles – KURB by MD, will challenge the GP1 leaders on their home territory. The uncertainty inherent in this type of Competition, coupled with the experience and the very high level of performance of most of the teams involved, guarantees the sporting interest of the 2018 FIA Karting Endurance Championship throughout the two turns of the clock.
The full grid of the 2018 24 Hours Karting of Le Mans will include a total of 32 teams with 19 GP2 karts and a GP3 that will also participate in the race, which will start on Saturday, 29th September at 15:00.