For its third edition, the CIK-FIA U18 (under 18) World Championship looks more exciting than ever. While the official Test Days are organised during the first June weekend on the track of Friuli Venezia, in Northern Italy, the entry list is indeed swarming with candidates to a highly-coveted world title.
Drivers will once again all dispose of a single-engine, baptised WKE, which is supplied on a free basis by FIM. As regards chassis, on the other hand, they must choose 1 of the 18 officially entered makes. Let us remember that in order to limit costs the number of spare parts is limited.
The concept has again proved its justification since no fewer than 80 Drivers from 24 countries (and 4 continents) are entered. Although the reigning World Champion of this competition reserved for Drivers under 18 years old, the young Briton Matthew Graham (Zanardi), is tipped as favourite, France’s Anthoine Hubert (FK), third last year, is not planning to make matters easy for him. In a field comprising both regular entrants in this competition and new-comers, one will also keep a close eye on the two last winners of the CIK-FIA Academy Trophy: Monaco’s Charles Leclerc (ART GP), winner in 2011, and his predecessor, the Finn Niklas Tiihonen (Energy).
Held as a support to the U18 World Championship in the three scheduled meetings (after the Portuguese stage of Braga, competitors will go Angerville, in France, and then to Bahrain), this Academy Trophy will also be renewed. Everyone will use strictly identical equipment, i.e. Parolin chassis powered by FIM engines, the complete karts being placed free of charge at the disposal of Drivers selected by their national Federations. There will be a total of 51 karts for representatives of 37 countries and 1 lady Driver to be selected by the “FIA Women in Motor Sport Commission”.
47 Drivers have already entered, and the lady representative will be selected on Saturday 2 June in Precenicco, on the Friuli Venezia track, shortly before the start of the Test Days for the Championship; which means that 3 places are still to be allocated. The competition promises to be very open, even though Britain’s George Russel, European KF3 Champion in 2011, seems to be the firm favourite. In any case, for all these competitors the countdown has already begun before the first meeting, scheduled for Braga from 6 to 8 July!
The U18 World Championship entry list is available here and that of the Academy Trophy here.