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2nd September 2014

Whole of Sport Review Questions, Answers and Clarifications – Part 2 (Engines)

Q1 What is the rush? Why is Karting Australia bringing in new engines now and not later – say in 2016?

WOSR Page Reference

  • Solving the inadequacies of the existing engines used in most KA competition over many years has taken far too long.
  • It was on the drawing board for AKA Inc. for a number of years and was passed along to AKA Ltd on 1 September last year.
  • Continued delay in making and implementing the decision would see the continued stagnation and decline of the Classes as evidenced by the decline in Clubman all over Australia.
  • The new engines will be immediately available for competition but the old engines will be phased out over time.
  • There is no deadline for the phase out of any engines from Club competition.
Pages: 16, 17, 19
Q2 Is the performance of the Pathway Engines similar to the power provided by the current engines in the classes?  
  • The new engines will be slightly faster than the current engines.
Page: 19
Q3 Why do we even need new engines – can’t we just improve the current ones?  
  • The inconsistency of the current engines, that they were not designed as race engines, lack of parity, high maintenance frequency, poor life of components are all factors that lead AKA Inc. to start their future engine considerations several years ago.
  • This led to the Board completing the task and confirming the new engines after conducting our own independent testing and evaluation.
  • The following extract from a review of WOSR (engines) on the K Racer web site makes for interesting reading:

“My favourite form of racing is Clubman. Light weight karts with air-cooled engines make the best racing, I reckon. Set up changes have a bigger “coming on, going off” effect on light karts (IE, the difference between your best lap and worst lap is usually bigger), and engine temps exacerbate that too (because a kart that’s going off cooks the engine, which costs even more speed). For this reason, I’m frightened to change the Clubman formula. I shudder to imagine what Hayesy would say if he found out he couldn’t use “The Beast” at the Nationals.

But that’s exactly the point. There’s an engine out there called “The Beast”. And it earned its name. There’s another one out there called “Trevor” which I’ve heard is even better, but then James Sera has a habit of making equipment look good, so who could be sure? The point is that these engines have names and reputations that follow them around from Championship to Championship because they’re better than what you can buy. And that’s s—. They’re 40 year-old technology, with 20 year-old tolerances, and the parity is woeful.

Compare that to the IAME X30 which Cian Fothergill won the Nationals with a couple of years back after taking it brand new out of the box a few days earlier. Picture yourself as a new karter entering the sport, and me as a kart shop owner advising you on what class to buy into… Clubman (and National) is very much a class for people who are already in the sport. As a result, I was desperately hoping to see both iterations of the KT100 replaced, as much as I love it. I think the chosen replacement is perfect.”

Pages: 16, 17
Q4 When are the first Pathway engines due to arrive in Australia?  
  • IAME KA100 should arrive in Australia late November or early December 2014
  • Vortex Mini Rok should arrive earlier as it is an off the shelf engine that is now used in 19 countries around the world.
Q5 Does any member of the Board stand to gain financially from the distribution and sale of the new engines?  
  • No.
Page: 18
Q6 Will any member of the Board or Karting Australia be involved as a distributor of the new engines?  
  • No member of the Board will be involved as the distributor of the new engines.
  • No, Karting Australia will not be distributing the new engines nor will it be acting as an agent for any engine manufacturer.
Page: 18
Q7 Will Karting Australia be involved in appointing the engine distributors?  
  • No.
  • This is a commercial decision that is made solely by the manufacturer of the engines.
Q8 Who will be the distributor for the Vortex Mini Rok?  
  • We have been informed that the distribution arrangements are still being finalised by OTK with their Australian agent and will be finalised after the European Summer holidays.
Q9 Who will be the distributor for the IAME KA100 ReedJet engine?  
  • The IAME KA100 engine will be distributed in Australia by IAME’s appointed Australian agent Remo Racing.
Q10 When will the IAME KA100 ReedJet engine be homologated?  
  • We expect the IAME KA100 to be homologated during the months of October/November.
  • The actual date will depend upon the time that it takes for IAME to produce the final production variant of the engine and submit the necessary homologation paperwork.
  • Production is scheduled to be on line for late November and early December delivery.
Q11 Is the Vortex Mini Rok engine homologated?  
  • It was originally homologated in 2012 but the papers submitted at that time do not, in our opinion provide sufficient details to ensure full compliance with the technical specification of the engine at all times.
  • The current production version of the Mini Rok that will be used for Australian competition and the full homologation documentation must be re-confirmed by OTK Group with KA.
Q12 Can we practice with the Pathway Engines on Karting Australia circuits prior to January 1, 2015?  
  • Yes (subject to the final homologation of the engines being completed within the nominated time frames) you will be able to practice with the new engines as soon as they are homologated and available.
  • You will not however be able to use them in competition until 1 January 2015.
Q13 Are the weights finalised for Classes using the new Pathway Engines?  
  • No, they are not finalised at the moment. They may move slightly up or down from the weights shown in the WOSR.
  • There are some slight styling modification to be made to the IAME KA100 that will reduce the weight of the engine slightly. The exact weight of the production variant of the engine will not be known until the engine homologation is completed.
  • There are other considerations for the overall weight such as the weight of the rear wheel protection devices that will be approved for competition in each Class – that also needs to be included into the weight.
Pages: 33, 39, 45
Q14 When will my current Yamaha engine be no longer able to be used?  
  • They will be able to be used in Club competition indefinitely.
  • Karting Australia has not placed any end date at all on the use of the J, S and Comer engines in Club competition.
  • They will be eligible for State Championship competition until the end of 2016.
Pages: 35,  39, 40, 41, 42
Q15 Can I use my Yamaha or Comer engine in current State sanctioned events like: Festival State Cup, Southern Stars, Junior Top Guns, CQ Series, Golden Power Series, Victorian Karting Series, Victorian Country Series, Tasmanian Statewide Series, Western Australian Zone Championships?  
  • Yes.
  • You can use the current engines in all State and Club level competition in 2015 and 2016.
Pages 26 – 30, 33-35, 39-42, 45
Q16 Will the new Pathway Engines be able to be used in these competitions as well  
  • Yes.
Pages 26 – 30, 33-35, 39-42, 45
Q17 Why is Karting Australia putting a claiming rule in place for these new engines?  
  • To stop expensive development of engines before it even starts.
  • It can be expected to apply to our new Pathway Engines only.
Page: 24
Q18 How will Karting Australia combat the almost inevitable push from engine tuners that competitors will still need to get their engine blue printed and that they will be able to improve the carburetor and engine’s performance?  
  • A range of measures will be employed including:
    • Improving the homologation standards and details of the new engines;
    • Ensuring strict compliance with the homologation papers for the engines;
    • Following tight engineering manufacturing standards and processes with the new engines that when combined with the use of precision scrutineering tools and gauges will determine a much higher standard of technical compliance than has previously only been seen in a handful of engines;
    • The ability for another competitor to claim another competitor’s engine that may have been ‘developed’ in some way; will ultimately see these claims dispelled.
Q19 Many engine tuners seem to be critical of Karting Australia over these changes. Why?  
  • The new era of ‘out of the box’ racing using engines with a longer life and high levels of performance parity will mean that the average karter should require less engines for race meetings and should spend less money on rebuilds, freshen ups and engine lease fees and will be actively discouraged from embarking on costly engine development programs.
  • Some engine tuners seem to be thinking more about their own businesses and their individual wants rather than the collective needs of the whole sport.
  • Karting Australia is able to take a view of what it considers to be in the best interests of the sport as a whole. We believe that this is a good thing for the sport and for the karters who race.
Q20 Does Karting Australia think that kart shops are an important entry point for new competitors entering karting?  
  • Yes.
  • We said exactly that on page 76 of the WOSR.
  • Anyone who tries to tell the karting community differently either hasn’t read the WOSR, has never spoken to either the Board or the CEO about this or is simply distorting the truth.
Page: 76
Q21 What does Karting Australia believe will be the impact on the sport of the new engines?  
  • The introduction of the new engines is a long overdue evolution of the sport that will lead to the reinvigoration of the sport as a whole.
  • More cost effective competition with better value for money being spent on technology.
  • More even racing where the skill of the drivers will be paramount – not the size of the wallet that they possess.
  • Passing where passing should occur – not down the straights because your engine is a ‘beast’.
  • Improved competition for all karters who choose to adopt the new engines.
  • Simpler, more even, more cost effective competition should equate to more people coming into the sport.
  • Some engine tuners may decide to adapt their business models but everyone will still need equipment and like all mechanical equipment, it will need to be serviced and maintained.