2021 ROK Cup USA Florida Winter Tour: Ocala Gran Prix – Thursday Report
From Around the Paddock
Back at Ocala Gran Prix for the second round of the popular ROK Cup USA Florida Winter Tour and a total of 183 ROKKERS have passed through the registration process via the KART PASS app by the conclusion of today. With a day of unofficial practice under their belts, Florida Winter Tour competitors were treated to hospitality and respect by the top-notch Ocala Gran Prix staff as thousands of laps were completed throughout the day. As storylines continue to develop, here are a few that caught our eyes today and have developed since the final checkered flag of round one at the Isle Casino in Pompano Beach less than one month ago.
Forced to change locations less than three weeks prior to the event weekend, ROK Cup Promotions faced a difficult decision with the impending border restrictions for international travelers. With many Canadians flocking south for the winter to get a jump start on their karting season, the return to Canada would not be an easy one as the Canadian government increased restrictions to curve the spread of the coronavirus. Furthermore, additional restrictions to South America and Europe would also decrease the entry numbers forcing ROK Cup Promotions to make the change.
Rounds 2 and 3 Will Run Opposite Directions
With the location change and back-to-back races at Ocala Gran Prix, ROK Cup USA staff confirmed that rounds two and three of the Florida Winter Tour will run opposite directions. A short track, the OGP facility provides some of the closest racing of the year as mechanics and drivers work hard to find every hundredth of a second. In 2021, teams and competitors will be forced to a directional charge between the February and March rounds with this weekend’s event running clockwise and the March event running counterclockwise. Further announcements regarding round three are forthcoming.
As severe weather cripples much of the country at the moment, Florida Winter Tour competitors will experience a couple of seasons in one race weekend. With temps in the mid-80s today, a near 30-degree temperature swing is in store as a cold front moves across the state bringing mixed weather including a major chance of rain during Friday’s on track action. While the weather looks cool for the weekend, both Saturday and Sunday look to be picture perfect with Chamber of Commerce weather and highs near 70F.
With the LeVanto tires making their North American debut in January, ROKKERS have had more than a month to become accustomed to the new compound and structure that will be used at all ROK Cup USA events in 2021. With race reviews after round one of the Florida Winter Tour and Challenge of the Americas, the LeVanto Tires will be put to the test this weekend in Ocala. In a track that is known to lose grip in the heat of the day, it will be interesting to see how teams and competitors adjust to these changes with the new tire and how they can adapt to the ever-changing Ocala Gran Prix grip levels.
Championship Points Updated
Leading into the second event of the Florida Winter Tour, championship points for all classes have been updated and published. Click HERE for more information.
While travel restrictions have hindered a lot of international travel, CanadianKartingNews.com and ROK Cup USA Official Photographer Cody Schindel has made the trip south to the Sunshine State. With photo packages available, please see Cody trackside this weekend or find more information HERE.
Stay tuned to the ROK Cup USA social media pages for news, information, photos, results and daily reports from the second round of the Florida Winter Tour at Ocala Gran Prix.