Witteveen with Maxter towards new horizons

Talking to engineer Jan Witteveen, world famous designer, especially for 2-stroke engines, who now steps into karting in collaboration with Maxter.
Maxter’s desire to improve never ends. The technical competitive level has remarkably improved and this has not escaped Giancarlo Tinini’s attention, and he has decided to continue along this road of innovation – but now we can actually talk about a great attack – so much that, after having built the new Maxter “base”, he is filling it with experts.  
Report: M. Natoli / photos: E. Schiavoni

As regards the KF engine, the Cik regulations is rather restrictive or better limited. There is a sort of levelling off between the different KF classes, in fact, after the KF2 many lads go on to car racing. Does KF1 seem to have lost the professional aspect that the FA FSA had, where only the best stood out and where in fact there were few limits. Do you share this same thought? Do the many technical limits have a negative effect on engines and drivers?
I’ve only recently stepped into the karting world, I’m getting the gist of things. So far, I’ve seen that KF1 is more a race between official manufacturers, there are few private drivers. It seems a showcase limited for them, while the KF3 and KF2 seem to be more for drivers, teams and tuners. This year, the big problem was the clutch, born with a certain idea, and has become an expensive object of research.

Wouldn’t it be a good idea to start a free class, that is with very few fixed parameters exclusively for weight and displacement?
Yes, but, as I said, this too, must come from manufacturers; true that they are competitors, but it is also true  that they must work together to make the sport evolve. Every firm, like Maxter, could give their idea, but the aim should be common to all. Then, and only then, one can start working seriously on a project, and perhaps with Cik intermediation.

Karting isn’t F1 and it isn’t MotoGP either; it is a vehicle that has had success because of its “simple” technology that despite simplicity offers high performance. What is your recipe for bringing about improvements?
I have a few ideas, but I’d like to keep it to myself for the time being, because they are part of the new Maxter strategy. I still need a bit more time to work things out, then we’ll start working not only for the good of Maxter but for karting in general. It is important that there’s a breakthrough, it must communicate with the external world. For a number of reasons, as in other sport, there’s hardly any news in leading means of communication. The sport must be put to the younger generation, they ought to know that there are lots of circuits, perhaps there might be one very close to their home.

There aren’t any big sponsors either, and this certainly isn’t because the sidepods haven’t got enough space either.
No, I don’t think so, it is because it is a closed world. It is too closely tied to its specific field, it’ similar to what happens at trial or endurance races, in this sense motocross has worked hard and made great progress. When you open a sports paper and there’s nothing on karting, it means that most people don’t know the sport. It’s not just a question of sponsorship, which undoubtedly helps, but first it is important to make people aware that the sport exists. However, it cannot all be connected with money.

You have been in Italy for several years now, what do you like about our country? 
Mortoring wise, I think it is great, because there are few like it in Europe where they still make motorbikes and where there’s still great enthusiasm for motor sports in general. Together with Spain, it is a place where this sport is more popular. It is a country where I have found work and success with more Italian firms, that’s why I am grateful to Italy, where I have lots of friends.

And what is it that you don’t like?
Life in general is great, but some things like criminality are quite worrying.  

What do you expect from karting? 
I was contacted and I was happy to accept, very excited, as it is a new challenge for me and always connected with racing engineering, and I think that part of grand prix motorcycling technology can be transferred and applied to karting. In MotoGP you apply some ideas that aren’t applied to karting, also because it is by choice, therefore they haven’t been sufficiently developed, however I am determined to give my contribution, also for more ecological engines.

Don’t miss the December issue of Vroom International with the rest of this interview.

Created by: admin - 17/11/08

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