At the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, which will be organising the event in which teams compete, preparations for the 33rd edition of the 24 Hours Karting are going well two months from the start (30th September - 1st October). Winning the title of the CIK-FIA Endurance Champion, the second of that name, has motivated the biggest international teams in the GP1 category, while the specialists in GP2, GP3 and GP4 are preparing to fight during two turns of the clock within a field that promises to be enlarged.
The international recognition added to the 24 Hours Karting by the International Federation from last year under the official label of CIK-FIA Endurance Championship has reinforced the aura of this mythical kart race, decided at Le Mans.
Karting is the first step in the driver programme put in place by the ACO, where driver training and the development of future talents are the priorities. Karting is one of the best schools through which the greatest champions have passed before making a name for themselves in cars. The progression towards the top level of endurance then continues through the categories competing in the ACO series and especially the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The outstanding achievement of Thomas Laurent, an ACO driver, provides a very good example. Multiple champion of France and winner of the world competition of the CIK-FIA International Super Cup for KZ2 in 2015, Thomas shone from his beginnings in endurance racing by winning the Asian Le Mans Series in LMP3 last year. In 2017 he took in his an incredible victory in LMP2 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, along with 2nd place in the overall standings.
The entry list of the 33rd edition of the 24 Hours Karting, which will take place at Le Mans on 30th September and 1st October, is filling up from day to day. The GP1 Group will be the benchmark, fighting for the prestigious CIK-FIA Endurance Championship. Factory teams have already announced their arrival in the Sarthe, such as the official Sodi team, backed by Claude Jamin, who should finally be present at the 24 Hours Karting.
The preparation and testing of the chassis of the French brand have been underway for some time already according to a well-established programme. As for the four drivers intending to drive the single Sodi chassis to the heights, there is an undeniable international dimension. Anthony Abbasse is a great connoisseur of the 24 Hours of Kart racing which he has won five times, with his Dutch team-mate Bas Lammers, triple European Champion, Italian Alessandro Irlando, rising star in KZ2 and American Jake French, star of the SuperNationals in the USA. They will be powered by the TM Racing factory under the responsibility of the wizard Franco Drudi, while the British tuner GFR will look after the engines during the event.
CRG confirmed its official visit with several teams, still kept secret to this day. But the preparatory work in has started in Desenzano after the first promising 2016 experience in the world of endurance. CRG confirms the importance of this extraordinary event, which last year generated strong media spin-offs and excellent brand advertising. The lessons of the past were retained and the Italians arrive with greater ambitions in 2017. A very motivated partner, the IAME factory is in charge of preparing its own Parilla engines, and the advances made possible by endurance can be beneficial for the production of sprint engines.
Michele Panigada said that Energy Corse would also take part with a crew mixing youth and experience, including Theo Nouet, Tony Lavanant and Sean Babington. Energy Corse is not new to endurance as the factory team has supported several entries on its chassis at 24 Hours Karting in the past.
For endurance karting enthusiasts, whether racing in GP1, GP2, GP3 or GP4, the summer break will be used to refine the equipment as well the physical condition of the driver before the September return. A month before the start of the 24 Hours Karting, the official entry list will be revealed and new revelations will animate the endurance sporting news.
Please find the rules and registration form for the 2017 24 Hours Karting below.