Shifter Strong at the F-Series
This past season has been incredible within the F-Series and one of the reasons for this great energy has been the growth and excitement surrounding our shifter categories! We are very optimistic this energy will continue to flourish and gain even more momentum as racers, teams and industry insiders have expressed their support and overall approval of the structure. With a promising outlook and so much enthusiasm heading into future seasons our focus has expanded to different regions throughout the US and the International karting communities. This expansion is not necessarily for this program to travel further or to create more races, but rather try to reach our community partners to work on continuity throughout the sport. Rarely do independent karting programs work together as interests and approaches vary, however for this sport to truly grow to a larger movement and remain strong we must work together! Since many programs have a ton on their plate we urge racers, teams, shops and builders to get involved and communicate with your local, regional and national programs. We have put together some of our experiences, opinions and facts that have helped us grow and we encourage anyone looking for such information to use it to the benefit of their community.
It is no secret the F-Series has been very proactive when it comes to the CIK/FIA KZ category. We realize that many individuals have deemed this category very expensive, exotic and difficult. Well to be truthful the highest level of anything is expensive and difficult! However some of the negative taking points about KZ might be over exaggerated. For example special engines, anyone with knowledge of the sport knows this could exist in any class as an engine is still an engine regardless of class. Another discussion are rebuild intervals, this is something that is mainly dictated by the racers and teams, and who is to say spec racers could not follow that same frequent schedule. Many of the issues in the sport are uniform across all classes and none are perfect, however some come with a real benefit to the racers and KZ is one of those. A rule set that has stability a timeframe and is consistent throughout the world. Continuity for aspiring racers to move freely around the world of racing without the hurdle of having to relearn another engine package. The freedom to choose who you support and the quality that comes with that product. The ability for any manufacture to become involved without hesitation. The option to join the 126 participants in the KZ category this past weekend in Lonato Italy. These are just a few examples of why we believe is a great way forward.
Open shifter is always a great class as it will certainly open up the options to drivers that might have bought into something specific to a certain series or loyal to an older product. Of course with no real universal rule set and no perfect formula that will ensure equality it can get a little tricky. However from our experience it does seem manageable when similar designs are utilized and reasonable modifications and or weights can me used to ensure parity. It does appear the most important part to this approach is what to allow and what not to allow. With the constant introductions of new engines this could be a difficult predicament, not to mention the terrible consequences for the drivers and teams. The learning curve of not having the right equipment and the financial burden of retooling could deteriorate any motivation to race competitively. A helpful rule to curb some of the confusion and cost for your event can be to implement a restriction on changing engine types or manufacture during a season or event. The open format requires real attention so please urge your local and all program promoters to gather the facts and research the structure before allowing the next best thing.
Single engine classes seem to the focus at the moment and from a competitors standpoint it does seem to be reassuring to know that we are not just following the same rule set but also the same manufacture. The biggest issue with all this is trying to find more than three good races a season without travelling vast distances. The other problem appears to be the huge budget when multiple engines are needed to find those six to nine races a season. We see local promotion suffering the most with single engines as a specific region we will see multiple packages that are very difficult to combine. Many teams and drivers have stopped racing locally because the numbers of participants don’t justify the cost to race with so few. With eight to ten different manufacturers producing shifter engines and some offering multiple models the organizers have their work cut out. With this knowledge in mind make sure to become proactive and offer tracks and local promoters valid data to help them make the right decisions when introducing or creating a structure.
To bring this to a close we hope this has brought some of our experiences to the community and could help make our sport stronger and easier for new and veteran drivers to approach shifter racing. With so many variables we know it will be hard to make perfect but a well thought out program will make it more enjoyable and fair for the participant we have attending events. Many racers, promoters and teams know the F-Series has always been proactive to making karting better and is always willing to help any and all programs. Please do no hesitate to call or message us if we can be of assistance to creating a stronger environment. www.thefseries.com