Round 1 of The F-Series Gearup Challenge is just a few short days away, and with a record number of pre-entries and big name teams already confirmed, it’s looking to be the biggest turnout for the series to date. The season opener is hosted at the GoPro Motorplex track in Moorseville, North Carolina, March 24-25. After gaining momentum in the off-season, entries for Round 1 are on track to be 40% higher than last year. And while the shifter class is typically the largest and most competitive field in the series, with the Round 1 taking place at the GoPro Motorplex, we are also expecting some hometown competition to stack up in the TaG classes as well. Needless to say, there’s a lot of new, exciting things happening at Gearup Challenge. Let’s take a look at what we can expect at the opening round of the series.
New changes for the season
A few new changes have been announced for the 2017 season, one of the biggest being the switch to LeCont Tyres as the official race tire. The series has already been receiving positive feedback from drivers and teams who have tested the new tire, and it is also promoting some incentives for the drivers that will be revealed at this weekend’s race.
The points system has also been adjusted for this season, moving towards a scale that rewards consistency and will make for a tight points race throughout each of the seven rounds. Drivers will now earn full points for each of the 3 races in every round, and will be allowed to drop 3 races out of the 21 total in the season. Winners of each round will be determined by totaling the points for the 3 races. This will certainly make for an interesting championship race and we’ll be keeping a close eye on the points as they stack up for each round.
Growing in numbers
We expect to see the bigger, more prominent teams that have supported the series over the years, but along with these familiar faces, there is also an influx of new names to the driver lineup, a testament to the growing popularity of the series. While a complete list of teams is yet to be seen, we’re anticipating some of the top names from karting to make an appearance at the event. Says series promoter Marco Oldhafer, “The F-Series has been on a steady incline for the past six years and we are confident to say that it would never have been possible without our dedicated racers and supporters believing in creating a fun and exciting racing series! We are very driven to stay focused to continue with our core values and continue to grow the series and the sport as a whole.”
The F-Series also recognizes the hard work that its dedicated group of teams puts in to promote, support, and help grow the series. “Team owners Phil Davis (CPI Kart Racing), Csaba Budjoso (Checkered Motorsport), Claudio & Michael Valiente (Italian Motors), Tony Lishak (Kompetitve Kart Sport), Phil Pignataro (Gun Ray Racing), Keith Raffa (Full Tilt Racing) and Keith Leonard (Kaos Kart Shop) have also been working every angle to build up momentum heading into this year’s events and we are definitely seeing that reflected in the numbers”, adds Oldhafer.
The fight for the championship
Even though it’s only the first round, drivers are already looking ahead to defend or secure their championship titles.
Last year’s Micro ROK champion Frankie Iadevaia has now officially moved up into Mini ROK, where he’ll be competing against last year’s top drivers in the Mini field, William Robousto and Annie Rhule, who will be two to watch this year as they battle it out again.
2016 Formula TaG champion Michael Eastwell is not registered as of publication, however the field is stacked with 26 drivers so far, including last year’s top performers Brendan Burcroff and Remo Ruscitti. We’re also expecting to see some last-minute registrations from the local TaG drivers which could shake things up a bit. In the Formula 125 class, Pete Maletto will again look to retain his championship title in the class, but he’ll have some pressure from last year’s 2nd and 3rd place finishers Tony Ventura, and Joe Lattanzi, respectively.
In the shifter classes, it has been confirmed that Rory van Der Steur will again be competing in both Honda and KZ, and is certainly looking to defend his title in both. But he will have some tough competition with drivers like Josh Lane, Andrew Bujdoso, and Collin Daley all vying for that top spot in both classes. But as always, the fields in the Honda Shifter and KZ shifter classes are stacked, with tough competition coming from drivers like Alex Manglass, Jason Alden, and Remo Ruscitti.
You can view the pre-registration entry lists for each class below.
The championship prizes this year are stellar, too, including Bertil Roos Formula 2000 car driving experiences, and ROK Cup USA stepping up again with engine prize packages and tickets to the ROK Cup International Final in Italy.
Practice for Round 1 begins on Friday, March 24th, with official racing to commence on Saturday, March 25th. If you haven’t registered yet, you can do so on The F-Series website. Be sure to follow all the action at Round 1 of the Gearup Challenge on The F-Series Facebook page, and of course, Karting Connect will keep you updated on the latest results from race right here.
About The F-Series Gearup Challenge
The F-Series Gearup Challenge is a seven-round race series that takes place at various tracks along the Eastern Coast. The series is now in its seventh season, and offers classes ranging from Micro ROK to KZ Shifter. It is sponsored by Sherwin Williams, Orgain, Compressed Air Equipment, Contemporary Motor Cars, Kartworkz, Allison Racing Engines, CPI Kart Racing, DRT Racing, VORTEX Engines, Kaos Kart Shop, Checkered Motorsports, Full Tilt Racing, Italian Motors, USA, Kompetitive Kartsport, Pignataro Custom Art Work, RTR Racing Engines, USA Kart, Bertil Roos Racing School, WR Motorsport, IAME Engines, and Alfano.