Few talks with Paul Lemmens, owner of Genk track.
A few days to the start of the KZ World Championship in Genk, where Vroom Karting Magazine will be an official partner, we met the owner of the track, Paul Lemmens, to learn all the background of the competition.
Genk: The Home of Champions was built in 1983 and obtained CIK homologation in 1987. In the early years, the site was known by the name of Horensbergdam and over time it underwent several changes, which led to its current state. The KZ World Cup of September 9th succeeds the 2011 event, won by Jonathan Thonon, then in CRG, thanks to a breathtaking pass on the young Formula K driver, Yannick de Brabander.
Genk has been one of the tracks most used by CIK in recent years; what were the factors that led to this result?
«Passion and experience, these were the most important factors. The first (passion, ed) has led us to study the best kart circuits in the world to create a good product, while the second (experience, ed) has allowed us to build a fun but at the same time challenging track».
According to the feedback from the drivers, the objective has been reached ... What then is the ingredient that makes the track so "palatable" from a competitive point of view?
«Braking points. That said, it may seem banal but, if you think about it, today there are plenty of tracks that offer little chance of overtaking just because there are few braking points. This is why we have opted for a layout that offers several important braking points so as to favour overtaking as much as possible. The equation is simple: more overtaking = show, show = appreciation».
How difficult is it to organize a CIK World Championship today?
«Very. And I'll explain immediately why. Compared to a few decades ago, karting has evolved. Today the standards to be maintained are truly high. It is not enough to have a winding track to make a good event, but it is also necessary to offer a valid infrastructure complex and help teams and staff. To this must be added the development of communication in Karting and the advent of social networks, which require constant attention to multimedia content. All this translates into higher costs, and here lies the difficulty: in finding the necessary funds. We have succeeded and we have managed to offer the public, the drivers and the teams an unforgettable CIK World Championship».
In this regard, you have focused a great deal on the promotion of the event; what kind of response do you expect from the public during the CIK World Championship?
«The figures for 2011 were remarkable, a sign that in Belgium karting is very popular. Compared to then, as mentioned before, the quality standards have grown and with them also the level of promotion. In this sense we have moved to allocate significant amounts to advertising the event. In the two days of competition we expect a turnout of 10,000 people».
A.Giustini - © photo: Genk Archive