The Danish engine specialist Ole Haugard won another world title this season with Logan Sargeant, the World Champion in KF-Junior after a historic double in 2014: Lando Norris crowned in KF and Enaam Ahmed in KF-Junior.
One Engines provides greatly appreciated Vortex engines to several top teams in international competition. Therefore this is the opinion of a specialist on the imminent entry of the new generation of OK and OK-Junior engines onto the scene.
Ole Haugård, where do you place the OK engines in the history of kart engines?
- I had the chance to experience the great era of 100cc, which for me remain fantastic engines whose main fault was the fragility caused by the extraordinary maximum speed. I feel that OK relates to the spirit of the old ICA and FA with their simplicity, while retaining certain technical advances from KF. A return to basics was desirable after the excesses of recent years. A kart does not need a battery, complex wiring or a clutch to be competitive, quite the contrary. These accessories do not belong to a true racing machine.
What are the practical consequences of this simplification?
- OK engines will be much easier to use. For a private Driver, both in racing and in testing, they simply need to add fuel, check the carburettor and lubricate the chain. A little push and presto, it's off. It's a long way from all the paraphernalia necessary to go into KF. The OK will enable wider deployment of international categories. Regarding the biggest teams, preparation and equipment management will be significantly less complex. For the engine builders, there will be many differences to the former KF but the experience will be easy to transfer. The simplified design of the OK motors has advantages. The external water pump, valve and one-make exhaust will allow us to focus on the heart of the engines.
How will the performance change?
- I think the OK-Junior will be very close to the KF-Junior which was already very fast. But the OK will probably show a substantial gain. Tests have already revealed a lot of potential with respect to the lap times. The lightening of the new machines brings higher performance, but also much more driving enjoyment. I am convinced that this will enable the best Drivers to be identified more easily. I support the removal of the manual front brakes which brought nothing good to racing. But I wonder if the conventional braking on the rear wheels will be enough for the OK which is equipped relatively hard tyres today. The higher maximum engine speed of 1000 rev / min also makes it possible to use a shorter gear ratio, very beneficial on the exit of slow corners, which was the black point of KF.
Are you confident for the future of karting?
- I need to wait until I receive the engines I have ordered to say really. What I have seen so far seems very positive. I am delighted with the direction taken by the CIK-FIA. The wait until the first races is a little short so we will have to work hard, but we will be ready! The push start, considered a step backwards, has sometimes been criticised. This is not my view. I think on the contrary that this will be very educational and that there will, in time, be much more interesting races.