WKA: IRL SoK: Series statement on ICA, JICA

Statement of Direction and Technical Focus -- Stars of Karting An announcement was made in January 2006 regarding the current formula for ICA and JICA in the Stars program. The decision was made at that time to extend the intercontinental...

Statement of Direction and Technical Focus -- Stars of Karting

An announcement was made in January 2006 regarding the current formula for ICA and JICA in the Stars program. The decision was made at that time to extend the intercontinental formulae into 2007 and revisit the KF situation in as timely a manner as we could offer. With a number of KF formulae races now complete, more information is in stream for us to make a prudent decision. With less than six months to 2008, the time is right for decision.

It should be noted that our decision was made with homologation events in mind, in other words, the next engine homologation will come effective in 2010. This means that whatever decision we make, we are inclined to stick by it for two years or else we risk asking our customers to buy new engines in 2009 with a new generation of engines coming out only one year later.

Class structure decision:

2008-2009 ICC - Under current rules, no significant changes expected.

2008-2009 ICA (100cc direct drive) - Under current rules, but with supplementary regulations designed in order to promote additional reliability.

2008-2009 JICA (100cc air cooled) - Under current rules, no significant changes expected.

2008 Cadet -- Under current rules, no significant changes expected.

2009 Cadet -- Replaced by a PreJunior program that narrows the performance gap currently between Cadet and JICA. Prerequisite participation in PreJunior prior to entry into JICA will be a licensing requirement for all competitors 13-years-old or less.

2008-2009 Spec Racer -- Under current rules with possible pre-season engine recruitment each season. Stars to provide our own regulations if there are any additions.

2010 and forward -- KZ, KF2, KF3, PreJunior (2009 formula), Spec Racer

To rationalize our direction, we offer the following as germane. Our primary focus in decision was economy, stability and focus toward broadening the business base.

Intercontinental C is perceived by most to be the pinnacle of North American karting. It has many of the big names and appears to be the most prestigious of championships. It is a good reliable formula with reasonable stability in its development curve. No reason to change. This is the top of the North American food chain in karting.

Intercontinental A is currently the purest distillation of the sport. Its place has been made certain in history as the backbone of our current driver population. However, it has not been entirely designed for North American venues with long straights, hot weather and dust. Product development has brought rpm ranges above 20,000. Failures are certain and often lurid at these operating ranges.

To combat the failure rate and provide a cost effective transition to the KF2 formula in the future, we have decided to remain faithful to our lineage but reserve the right to step in and design regulations to increase reliability. We are planning round table discussions with ICA faithful at each of the next events to discuss the manner of regulation that can help this class transition. We will plan to announce final formula for 2008 by season's end.

ICA Junior offers an economy of scale that cannot be currently matched by the new generation KF3 engines. Retail prices of a JICA engine hovers near $2000. Expected retail of a KF in the US is nearly $5000. The reliability and acceptance of the JICA formula makes it a natural choice for stability in the junior formula and its successful implementation is a hallmark of our organization. In North America, there is only one choice for the fastest junior drivers and that is JICA.

Support for the KF formulae within Stars is strong and we have every intention to make the switch in 2010. The concerns that predicated the decision to wait include the imbalance of differing state of development between major manufacturers, the entry costs involved at current levels of production, procurement and installation of ignition verification systems and a general state of instability. We feel it is in our customers' best interest to allow Europe to debug the program and ready the supply, allowing the technology and pricing to stabilize before introduction into the US market.

Cadet engines are perhaps the most difficult decision. The Comer K80 has served us well and the parity it offers currently is very good. There is however a large performance gap between our current Cadet formula and the JICA and current alternatives in the genre are aging designs. In order to close the gap and provide a formula that is cost effective, current technology, kart-based and mindful of driver development, we are currently evaluating all current and future possibilities for this category. No change will be made to the formula for 2008. The decision to stay with the Comer in 2008 was made primarily with economics in mind, allowing 18 months for the changeover. Expect the final formula announcement by year's end. Research and development with a number of national builders is underway and we hope to put the alternatives on exhibition at future events for official testing as well as constituent evaluation.

The success of the Spec Racer class makes our decision towards the future rather self-evident. Any changes in this class will be carefully considered to ensure continued parity and focused only on business base development. We are delighted to have finally found a proper formula for the recreational racers in our camp. After five years of continual effort, the success of the Spec Racer class is a proud achievement for us as program administrators.

Expect to see demonstration races in both the KF formulae and the new PreJunior configuration in 2008. Incentive programs are being developed with engine manufacturers to ease the economic transitions.

Snap-on Stars of Karting presented by IndyCar Series is based out of Seattle, Washington, sanctioned by the World Karting Association (WKA) and owned and operated by 1986 Indianapolis 500 champion and IRL IndyCar Series team owner Bobby Rahal, IndyCar Series driver Bryan Herta and veteran karting promoter Paul Zalud. www.starsofkarting.com, www.worldkarting.com.

Snap-on Incorporated is a leading global innovator, manufacturer and marketer of tools, diagnostics and equipment solutions for professional users. Product lines include hand and power tools, tool storage, diagnostics software, information and management systems, shop equipment and other solutions for vehicle manufacturers, dealerships and repair centers, as well as customers in industry, government, agriculture and construction. Products are sold through its franchisees, company-direct sales and distributor channels, as well as over the Internet. Founded in 1920, Snap-on is a $2.5 billion, S&P 500 company headquartered in Kenosha, Wisconsin. For additional information on Snap-on, visit www.snapon.com.

The Indy Racing League was formed in 1994 to preserve the heritage and excitement of the Indianapolis 500 in U.S. open-wheel racing. The Indy Racing League is the sanctioning body of the IndyCar Series, the premier open-wheel racing series in the United States, and the Indy Pro Series, which serves as an essential stepping stone for drivers striving to reach the IndyCar Series. Indy Racing League events are available to a worldwide audience through a variety of multimedia platforms, highlighted by a long-term and broad-reaching partnership with ABC Sports/ESPN. The Indy Racing League is continually at the forefront of motorsports innovation with drivers, teams and tracks benefiting from major safety and technological improvements such as the SAFER Barrier, SWEMS wheel tethers, chassis enhancements, ethanol fuel and Delphi IRL Safety Team. www.indycar.com

-credit: sok

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Drivers Bobby Rahal , Bryan Herta