Gary Carlton driving his No. 5 CRG in the SKUSA SuperNationals XIV KZ2 Final.
(Photo: CJ – JuniorOpenWheelTalent.com)
American Gary Carlton has inked a deal with Italian-based team Chiesa Corsa to pilot a Zanardi/Iame KZ1 kart in several top-level karting series in Europe for 2011.
Carlton’s busy schedule will begin this weekend as the WSK Euro Series gets underway in Sarno, Italy. In addition to the Euro Series, the talented 25-year-old will also compete in the CIK-FIA KZ1 European Championship, the WSK Champions Cup, the CIK-FIA KZ1 World Cup, the Monaco Kart Cup, and the WSK Final Cup.
This is great news for Gary — one of the hardest working drivers out there. Make sure to follow JuniorOpenWheelTalent.com all season for updates on Carlton’s European Adventures. Also, be sure to visit Carlton’s feature page on eKartingNews.com.
For those who haven’t already read it, make sure to stop over and check out eKartingNews’ recap of the WSK World Series event from New Jersey Motorsports Park. Prior to last weekend’s race, it had been 12 years since the last ‘world’ event was hosted on American soil.
American’s Gary Carlton (KZ2) and Tristan DeGrand (KF3) led the way with each scoring a podium. The event featured an absolutely stellar field of international stars.
Last week, Brendon Hartley joined the long list of talented drivers dropped by the Red Bull junior program. The 20-year-old Kiwi was competing in his second year of Formula Renault 3.5, and had failed to score a victory in 24 starts. Personally, I think Red Bull jumped the gun a little as his lack of race wins fails to tell the whole story.
Hartley, who won the 2007 Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup, finished third in the ultra-competitive British F3-International Series in 2008 — logging five race wins and 11 podiums. In 2009, he was thrown into one of the most hectic schedules possible, running in both the World Series by Renault and the Formula 3 Euro Series, while also balancing a testing role for F1’s Scuderia Toro Rosso. Talk about diversity. The seat time was excellent, but it’s hard to produce results when you are spread so thin. This year, he completed 11 races in the World Series by Renault before being dropped. During that time he logged eight top-10 finishes and three top-five finishes with a best result of 2nd. He also set the fastest lap of the race at both Spa and Monte Carlo. There’s no question that his results this year, while impressive, were far from stellar. Which is why Red Bull made the decision they did. Obviously, he knew his support from the energy-drink giant was in jeopardy, which couldn’t have helped his results. I have no problem with Red Bull’s decision, but I think they should have let him finish out the season.
Jean-Eric Vergne, 20, who is leading the British F3 Championship, will replace Hartley at Tech 1. Vergne should be able to jump right into the new role as he has already completed four races with the team in the GP3 series. Speaking of Vergne, it’s worth noting that he just swept both British F3-International rounds this weekend at Spa bumping his win total to eight races.
In the karting world, 15-year-old Jake Dennis of Britain won the opening round of the CIK-FIA U18 Championship held at “Prokart Raceland” in Wackersdorf. The next event will be held August 27-29 in Alcaniz, Spain.
Also in international karting — big news here in the United States — the WSK World Series will be making their North American stop this weekend at New Jersey Motorsports Park. If you’re not counting the SKUSA SuperNationals (which technically isn’t a world event despite the international attendance), this is the first time in twelve years that an “world” event has been held on American soil. The Formula C World Championships were held in Charlotte in 1998. Gary Carlton will be looking for his first international race win in KZ2 and Ron White – who won an international event at Sarno in 2004 – will make his return to international competition. Both drivers should be considered favorites to win this weekend, despite the high-level of competition. There will be 19 North American’s competing in the event.
American Gary Carlton set the quickest time (54.078) in KZ2 qualifying yesterday for the opening round of the WSK World Series — which is being held at the Algarve International Karting Circuit in Portimao, Portugal. He followed up that performance with a 2nd in Heat 1, 3rd in Heat 2, and a win in Heat 3. He will start second in the pre-final.
“I’m a bit surprised myself,” said Carlton with a laugh in a recent interview with TKart Magazine. “A win is possible… with the used tires, I’m quite good. In reality, if they [referring to Dreezen and Thonon] don’t find the set-up, I think it’s mine to lose.”
Carlton is one of six North Americans competing in Portugal this weekend as part of the WSK World Series. Canadian Philip Orcic is competing in Super KF and will start 16th in the pre-final. American Gustavo Menezes put together two solid third place finishes and a sixth in the KF2 heat races; he will start 7th in the pre-final. Phil DeLaO, whose making his first international start, will head to the KF2 last chance qualifier (LCQ) for his opportunity to advance. Raquel Martinez will start 32nd in the KF3 pre-final with Tristan DeGrand just behind her in 34th.
Watch for another update later this weekend.
The WSK World Series will head to America for the second round of the 2010 championship. The next race is scheduled to take place July 29-August 1 at Millville, New Jersey.
At this time the CIK-FIA Karting World Championship will remain on the schedule but given last year’s debacle between the CIK and the manufacturers—which saw several leading manufacturers shy away from the CIK to support the WSK— even that event could be in jeopardy.
The following footage was taken from the KF3 class during the 2009 World Cup held at the the Circuito Internazionale Napoli in Sarno, Italy.
Cameras were mounted on all the karts so officials could observe driver conduct throughout the event. The idea behind the camera mounting was that the camera itself would be a deterrent for rough/unsportsmanlike driving.
The following footage was released to the general public about two weeks ago and highlights a few of the penalties handed out by the CIK-FIA. I will say a few of the penalties looked to be incidental contact or light “bump drafting“…. while other penalties were spot-on.
You be the judge…. Good Calls or Bad Calls? Use the comment section to participate.
I meant to have this posted early this morning, but due to the current time— I’ve titled this post ‘Saturday Afternoon Reading’.
American shifter kart stand-out Gary Carlton put together a Driver Diary for Ekartingnews. The diary recaps his week in Italy where he was competing in the KZ1 class of the CIK-FIA World Cup. It’s a very interesting read that gives you a look at the life of a KZ1 pilot during the week of a huge event. Enjoy.
In sad news, I just received word that Thomas Knopper was killed in the KZ2 race at Liedolsheim earlier today. Knopper was 19-years-old. The full details of the incident have not yet been released.
Thomas Knopper was a tremendous talent. He won the European KZ2 Championship in 2007. This season he made the move to KZ1 for the European Championship, where he finished an impressive 6th. He also spent some time in the car ranks driving a Formula Renault 2.0 car in 2008. His best finish was 6th at Hockenheim after starting 13th.
Our sincere condolences go out to Thomas’s family and friends during this tragic time. Feel free to leave comments in the appropriate section below. (photo: www.thomasknopper.com)