We tested the new T4s in Lonato

Columns: Track Test
In anticipation of the launch of the Italian series, Tillotson organized a media day to present the new engines to the press and various motorsport Italian influencers. (fm)

Sales figures are proving those at Tillotson who bet on the T4 launch right, a kart that bridges the gap between the 'advanced' rental world and the 'reasonably priced racing' world, an offering that is still scarce in Europe - with a few exceptions. The T4 series, initially present in Ireland (the company's home country, as Tillotson is an American-Irish company) and the UK, has gained recognition in many other countries and continents over the years. At the heart of the project is an engine, the TPP-225RS, capable of developing approximately 15 horsepower mounted on a chassis specifically designed for this category, effectively a racing chassis. Over a thousand units have been sold worldwide, and Andrew Fallon, one of the executives of the Irish company on track in Lonato, sees the category's growth forecasts very positively: «We expected this category to be popular because it appeals to a very wide audience, not only those who are already karting enthusiasts and choose a simpler and more economical vehicle to manage, but also many newcomers. We have noticed that many are experiencing karting for the first time and fall in love with the sport thanks to a vehicle that is much more rewarding than a common rental. It appeals to those who purchase the vehicle and compete with it, spending very little on spare parts and maintenance, but also to those who choose arrive-and-drive formulas without worrying about anything and focusing solely on driving.»

We were already familiar with this vehicle as we competed in the T4 Nations Cup in Valencia in 2022, and it must be acknowledged that the engine update has brought about a surprising increase in performance. With the same tires (Maxxis hard compound), lap times have averaged one and a half seconds faster, and there is a feeling of a much more "responsive" vehicle coming out of corners, a scenario that has always been somewhat 'challenging' for a 4-stroke kart. But the world is changing, and now the 4-stroke kart market is a real market segment (long established in America, while still in its infancy here) ready to embrace new drivers, as happened here in Lonato, where professional athletes like Ian Rocca, a freestyle skier, downhill rider and YouTuber Andrea Ziliani, and the well-known Naska, already a motorcycle and car racer very popular in Italy with almosta a million follower on his Youtube channell, who is beginning to appreciate and explore the world of karting, took the wheel on this media day. Among the most appreciated features of this kart is a tire that not only lasts long due to its hard compound but also has two good side effects: the first is that the rev limiter comes into action later on long straights - because 'sliding' more out of corners the engine revs up more slowly, reaching higher revs at the end of the straight rather than halfway through, and the Lonato track represents a typical case of this (also resulting in longer engine and component durability over time). The other is that any driving errors are more forgiving to the driver, favoring the apprenticeship even of those who are beginners. The next appointment on the "South Garda" circuit will be the "Tillotson T4 Italian Cup" on March 9-10, 2024, which will follow a race format similar to the "Tillotson Nations Cup" held at the end of each season in Valencia.

Photocredit: Sportinphoto

Created by: fmarangon2 - 14/02/24

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