KZR and differently-abled: a winning combination

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We had a chance to talk about the differently-abled category with Santi De Luca, better known as "Dorso," Event Sport Manager of the KZR championship organized by Demorace. (M. Boscariol)

To better understand the category within the KZR championship, it is useful to do a little history. The project was born in 2015 when a group of youngsters with motor disabilities owned their own karts and raced in the Endas championship among themselves (about 6-8 drivers). They were obviously paying for assistance, gasoline, tires, registration, and everything needed to run a race. In a nutshell: a lot of money. In 2016 this group of drivers contacted Dorso to try to develop something different and less expensive. They were immediately welcomed into what was called the TKB (formerly KZR) league, goliardically christening them "differently banned." Until 2017 this group continued to race with their own karts. At the end of 2017, the idea came to Paolo Gagliardini (well-known in the karting world) to invest by buying eight karts for them, with all the necessary features for their category: steering wheel controls, seat with rollbar, seat belts. The engine chosen was a simple two-stroke Rotax (single gear of course) with 24/25 hp and with a "robust" chassis built by Masotto's EKS Kart company. The tires used are MG Racing, a medium compound that allows them to be used for even 3 races (historically the disabled group only arrives on Sunday mornings)

Therefore, in 2018 they abandoned their own (really expensive) karts and started the "rental" adventure of the KZR championship. At that point this group of young drivers started to come to the track only with suits and helmets: in fact, the organizer thought to provide everything (mechanics, gasoline, registration, etc.). A formula at its best for the low cost, but also for the kind of "karter" that a disabled person may represent. In addition, a motorized structure was built to put the drivers into the karts with ease and comfort, avoiding tiresome manual movements. This group of eight to nine differently-abled people (ASD Experience association), mostly from Italy’s central-south, raced until 2021 in this championship. Finally, after years of racing, the FISAPS (Federation associated with ACI, the Italian Automobile Club, the former dealing with drivers with disabilities) intervened. After contacting Demorace, FISAPS chose to give its name to the category, from this year renamed "FISAPS KZR H".

The H license returned to be issued by ACI Sport with a 1-2 day course that also allows one to race together with the able-bodied if one wants, a choice not shared by the KZR organizer for safety reasons. Reaction times between the differently-abled and able-bodied categories are still very far apart and also the driving sensitivity is still very different, with an average difference of 1.5 to 2 seconds compared to the able-bodied. This is not to make differences or create distinctions; in fact, just think that in Olympic sports there are the Paralympics. Karts are not cars and the difference in lap times still remains too marked for now.

Having said that, the first race in Pomposa was attended by Fabio Visentin, (read the interview) the FIA manager for the differently-abled in karting. The article from that race ended up on the FIA Facebook page, echoing across the world! 

The championship is now in its third round, with an overnight event in Cassano delle Murge (Bari). The sporting regulations call for 7 races, but those counted for the final score are the best 5. The race format is very simple, in a single day: two qualifying sessions (to allow running with two different karts) and two races (Race-1 with grid based on the best lap of qualifying and Race-2 with grid based on the finish of Race-1). On Saturday, optionally, it is possible to come for free practice. The H category is the flagship category of the KZR championship along with the hard core of able-bodied adults. A driver with disabilities pays 350 euros (ALL INCLUDED, excluding travel expenses) to run the race on Sunday. This is a very insignificant cost compared to when they raced their own karts (about 1000 euros per race).

For the future year, the objective on the part of Demorace/Fisaps/Aci Sport is to create an Italian championship just for the disabled. «As of today, 8-10 drivers (with an age ranging from about 28-30 years old) run in this category, but we would like to involve as many people as possible, » Dorso explains. «Even if we own 8 karts, there are no problems if 16 drivers show up: in fact, it would be enough to create two batteries. »

The formula is "Arrive & Drive," but it is in every way professional. Just think of the media level with the partnership with Vroom and live streaming on social and several other media outlets. Demorace really puts its reputation on the line (just look at all the people on the site working on it, about 16 people) to organize an easy, accessible, but highly competitive championship!

For more information: www.kzrchampionship.it



 

Created by: cggiuliano - 06/06/22

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