Ron Fellows Karting Championship season opener preview

Sunoco Ron Fellows Karting Championship presented by Toronto Star Wheels set to roll at Mosport this weekend New drivers, classes and sponsors highlight season opener The Sunoco Ron Fellows Karting Championship presented by Toronto Star Wheels...

Sunoco Ron Fellows Karting Championship presented by Toronto Star Wheels set to roll at Mosport this weekend

New drivers, classes and sponsors highlight season opener

The Sunoco Ron Fellows Karting Championship presented by Toronto Star Wheels will kick off the 2003 campaign this weekend, May 10-11, at Mosport International Raceway on the Driver Development Track, in what will be the first of the series' six action packed weekends.

The series met with high acclaim in 2002 and that has brought new sponsors to the series in 2003. Toronto Star Wheels will present the series as a presenting sponsor. Joining the Star as new series associate sponsors are GM Racing, Pratt & Miller Engineering, Briggs and Stratton, Action Front Series and Rotax. Returning as a series sponsor is Pfaff Motorsports with the very popular fast qualifier award.

For 2003, the series will keep the same class structure as 2002, with Canada Junior and Canada Senior - both 4-stroke classes - and Formula Junior and Formula Senior - both 2-stroke shifter classes. New to the series will be World Formula and RotaxMax classes. Both these new classes put a premium on driver talent, as the engines in the RotaxMax class are all sealed units. Identifying and promoting talented drivers is one of the series' main goals, and these new classes will enable the selection committee to get a good idea of who is deserving to go to the prestigious evaluation day at the Bridgestone/Firestone F2000 school at the end of the season.

Three of the four reigning champions are expected to see action at Mosport. 2002 Canada Senior champion, Goodwood's Kyle Herder is expected to defend his championship. "I will be back in Canada Senior, but I also hope to compete in the RotaxMax class," Herder said.

Also returning will be Formula Junior champ Robert Wickens, who will compete for Hurricane Racing aboard a new PTK (Paul Tracy Karting) chassis in 2003. "Having the strength of Hurricane Racing and the new Paul Tracy Karting chassis should help me in 2003," Wickens, from London, Ontario says. "I expect Formula Junior to be a tough group, but I hope to defend my title."

While Wickens tries to defend his title, Canada Junior champ, Toronto's Daniel Morad is aiming to take it away from him. "I will move up to Formula Junior," Morad confidently states. "I have the strength of Birel behind me, and I hope to give Robbie a good challenge in Formula Junior."

The final champion, Fonthill's Matt Champagne is only expected to compete in a few rounds. He was one of three drivers chosen from the 2002 championship to move up to the 2003 Bridgestone / FormulaCar Magazine F2000 Racing Series series as part of the Sunoco Team Ultra 94. "Being part of the Sunoco Team Ultra 94 is something I have to put all my focus on in 2003," Champagne says. "I will still be at the track to help out our Hurricane Racing team, but my main goal is to win the F2000 series for Sunoco."

Cameron Motorsports has joined the series in a big way. The team, called Biesse Canada, will bring an expected 40 drivers to both RotaxMax and World Formula classes. "We are happy to be part of the series," Cameron says. "It will be a tough year, but our drivers are really looking forward to the challenge." Cameron Motorsports' Hamilton facility will also host a future round of the series on July 19-20.

One driver is already on her way to Mosport. Winnipeg's Jennifer Carlson, the defending National 4-stroke junior Champion is expected to compete in World Formula and RotaxMax in the season opener at Mosport. The 40-plus hour drive from Winnipeg to Mosport meant the team had to leave Winnipeg earlier in the week to arrive on time. Carlson is looking to gain some Mosport track knowledge, as the ASN Canada FIA Nationals will take place at the same facility in mid August.

Carlson is not the only driver that will travel a large distance to compete at the Sunoco Ron Fellows Karting Championship presented by Toronto Star Wheels this weekend. Quebec has long been the hotbed of Canadian RotaxMax racers, and SRA Karting, PSLkarting.com, SHKarting are all expected to send teams to compete in RotaxMax and other classes.

Early estimates indicate there could be over 250 of Canada's best karters on hand for the season opener. Formula Junior will kick off the schedule on Saturday May 10, with practice and qualifying in the morning. The first race of the two rounds is scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m. Also on Saturday's schedule are the Ontario KartSport Development Group classes of Ontario Novice, Ontario RotaxMax Junior, Ontario Masters, Ontario Junior and Ontario Senior. Sunday May 11th will feature all other Sunoco Ron Fellows Karting Championship presented by Toronto Star Wheels classes. Practice for Canada Junior, Canada Senior, RotaxMax Challenge, World Formula Senior and Formula Senior will start a 9:30 am, and racing begins at 1:30 p.m.

For a complete schedule of the event, visit www.asncanada.com or for directions to Mosport visit www.mosport.com. Future events will be held at Innisfil on May 31 - June 1, The Grand Prix of Barrie on June 20-22, Sutton on July 5-6, Hamilton on July 19-20 and the series finale will go at Goodwood on September 27-28.

The objective of the SRFKC is to help foster a professional environment for kart drivers; help create a positive attitude towards appearance, conduct and discipline; help foster the employment of the best practices for the safe and fair running of competitions; and help kart drivers to move up the racing ladder to automobile racing. At the end of the season, eight drivers will be selected from the series, plus two drivers from the ASN Canadian National Championships. They will be invited to a one-day evaluation test at the Bridgestone/Firestone Racing Academy at Mosport, provided they are 16 years of age prior to the date of the test. Out of those 10 drivers, two will earn a full scholarship to the 2004 the 2003 Bridgestone / FormulaCar Magazine F2000 Racing Series.

-rfkc-

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Series Kart
Drivers Paul Tracy , Ron Fellows , Kyle Herder , Robert Wickens , Daniel Morad