2016 CIK-FIA best of: words from Todt, Al Khalifa and Van der Grint

Press Release by:
Columns: News and Previews
The season is over, and it's time to balance for FIA and CIK-FIA leaders.

FIA President - Jean Todt
In 2016 Karting has just experienced a very interesting season which has been promising for the future. This discipline, that can be accessed from an early age, is still a great education in more ways than one.
Of course in Karting young people are discovering the basics of motorsport and learning the rules and behaviours needed to progress in the sharp end of racing. It is worth remembering that most major car champions have been and are formed by Karting. But there is also the school of life which allows young people to reach maturity under realistic conditions where the values of work and effort values are paramount. Faced with the risk inherent in speed, they are very soon made aware of the importance of safety rules which will lead them to become responsible citizens.
In strictly sporting terms, I extend my congratulations to the 2016 winners who shone in the Championships, Cups and Trophies of the CIK-FIA. I know the Races were hard fought and competition is tighter than ever in different categories.
In this regard, I welcome the introduction this year of two new engines, the OK and OK-Junior, combining performance and simplicity in the purest spirit of the origins of the discipline. I hope this will give new impetus to and enhance the popular appeal of direct-drive karts.
The CIK-FIA Karting Academy Trophy, for detecting young talent from around the world, has benefited from this technical innovation and confirmed its international success thanks to the arrival of a new partner for the supply of Exprit chassis and Vortex engines. OTK Kart Group has fulfilled its mission with a commendable seriousness and efficiency.
2016 also saw the entry of the 24 hours of Le Mans Karting on to the CIK-FIA calendar as the Endurance Championship for new OK engines, thanks to increasing investment by the ACO in Karting. The 31st edition of this legendary race was also a complete success.
The future of Competition Karting is auspicious due to the measures recently adopted by the World Motor Sport Council regarding the lowering of the age for Junior and Senior categories. These are important decisions, well thought out, to strengthen the number of participants and better train those who wish to pursue their career in single-seaters.”
CIK-FIA President - Shaikh Abdulla bin Isa Al Khalifa
The excellent sporting record is not the only highlight of the 2016 season that has just ended. Important innovations are indeed in force successfully while others have been announced for the near future. Karting is currently engaged in a major transition to enable it to meet the challenges of changing times.
The CIK-FIA, through the CIK Commission and the various working groups, several years ago began a necessary renewal of its strategic directions, with the effects appearing gradually.
The most important innovation of the year was of course the introduction of new OK and OK-Junior categories to replace the older KF generation. With solid technical arguments such as performance, simplicity and reliability, but also based on financial cost of acquisition and more affordable maintenance, OK and OK-Junior made a good debut and should continue to gain acceptance at all levels in the coming years.
In parallel with the accession of the 24 Hours of Le Mans Karting to the status of the CIK-FIA Endurance Championship, responding to a request after substantive work on the part of the ACO, the 31st edition of the French classic also enhanced the reputation of the OK engines which emerged from their first year at the 24 hour race.
With the arrival of OTK Kart Group as a technical partner, the CIK-FIA Karting Academy Trophy experienced a particularly attractive 7th season which allowed it to fulfil the task of the detection and training of young talent more than ever.
The three World Championships, now run over one Competition each, create growing interest and generate excellent media coverage. Sweden rose to a great challenge, succeeding in perfectly organising the CIK-FIA World Championship for KZ. The holding of the CIK-FIA World Championship for the OK and OK-Junior categories in Bahrain is close to my heart and I thank the sporting authorities of that country for their efforts to facilitate the arrival of a large number of participants at its widely appreciated circuit. I warmly congratulate the three new World Champions honoured this year in the top-level competitions.
2017 will open with a major change concerning the lowering of the age that Drivers can take part in competitions by one year in the categories of direct-drive karts like OK-Junior and OK. This is to adapt to the overall development of motorsport in which access to cars has been significantly increased. In addition to strengthening the entries in international karting Competitions, this measure is also intended to allow young drivers to enjoy another year of learning in this very formative discipline before the leap into cars. In terms of quality, and also safety, Formula 4 races should emerge stronger.
I conclude by thanking all those who have invested dynamically in the development of Karting worldwide. The CIK-FIA will continue with its efforts to give our sport back a prime place in the great family of Motorsport.”
CIK-FIA Vice-President – Kees Van der Grint
“The balance of 2016 leaves me with a mixed impression. Not because the CIK-FIA competitions were unsatisfactory, on the contrary. The debut of the new OK and OK-Junior engines has exceeded our expectations, both nationally and internationally. The Academy is again full and the partnership with OTK has set new standards. Why the mixed emotions? Two problems have preoccupied me throughout the year. In January, my friend Randolph Bath, the CIK-FIA coordinator and the president of the sporting working group, was paralysed after a stroke. We are greatly lacking and the paddock has not been the same without him.
My second concern relates to the attitude of some competitors and manufacturers towards the front fairings. There is no doubt that the system is not perfect, but it is the best way to fight against reckless driving. Some try to bend the rules to defend their own interests which is beyond me, and we were forced to take measures against this.
But what a racing season we had, with the return of the best of Original Karting. Young hopefuls have overtaken the stars during fierce confrontations and the best have found their place in tomorrow's motor sport. It is the vocation of Karting in general and the CIK-FIA Championships in particular.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans Karting inaugurated the status of CIK-FIA Endurance Championship this year in a very successful way. The ACO has invested in this project with great efficiency and I was very satisfied with the organisation of this great classic. I extend my congratulations to the winner, the team Sarthe RTKF, who has mastered this specific area perfectly. I also want to thank CRG, who had had the courage to meet the challenge. I hope that the Italian brand will be back next year and that other factories will dare to join them. For me the greatest victory was that of the OK concept, which has proved that this new generation of high-performance, reliable and affordable engines can win not only in sprint, but after a double turn of the clock.
After an absence of nearly four decades, next year the CIK-FIA World Championship will return to England (OK and OK-Junior) and Germany (KZ). It is best to book a place in advance, as there were 4,000 spectators this year at the Åsum Ring (SWE).
My expectations were very high for the 2016 World Championship at Kristianstad, but the organisation surpassed my wildest dreams. The promotion of the event, the effectiveness and friendly atmosphere were comparable only with the enthusiasm of the early days of the sport.
The choice was therefore not difficult for the best event of the year. Congratulations to Jesper, Tobias, Jörgen and all the members of Kristianstad Kart Klubb. In fairness the Bahrain event was a serious rival, especially thanks to the generous financial offer from the organiser to the competitors.
It was harder to decide on the honour for an extraordinary contribution to karting until I spoke to a longtime member of the CIK Commission and the working group, and Superkart commissioner and representative. Now in his eighties, Thom Meylink can enjoy a well deserved rest after working for Karting since the pioneer days.
This year the 5th Coppa dei Campioni and the CIK-FIA Historic Super Cup, two traditional events that I'm a big fan of, have uncovered extraordinary machines.
Finally, turning to the future this time, the proposed changes for 2017 allow drivers to enter international competitions a year earlier in the direct drive categories and adding a points system to count for the FIA super license, promising a bright future for Karting.”

Press Release by: FIA Karting - 15/12/16

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