Mr. Siller brings
up many good points. Several of these issues involve American
racing as a whole (e.g. corporate backing of young American
drivers) which is better left to a separate discussion.
Regarding karting and the differences between the Europeans
and North Americans, I feel it is a bit simplistic to view
shifter kart racing here in America as any sort of hindrance.
It is true that many believe a direct drive or clutch kart
builds better drivers, but if you have ever watched Stars of
Tomorrow champions A.J. Allmendinger or Scott Speed drive
anything it is clear that it's not about the equipment. Also,
one of the top kart racers in the world the last few years
(including one of the highest paid), Gianluca Beggio, has done
some of his best work in shifter karts.
That said, the CART Stars of Tomorrow program currently offers
a shifter class (FIA/CIK ICC) and non-shifter class (Spec
Rotax Max International) as its two top pro classes.
Additionally, with the planned addition of international ICA
and JICA classes to the program next year, Stars of Tomorrow
is doing what we think is best for American karting in staying
aligned with international FIA/CIK regulations. This provides
a good measure of rules and equipment stability, which
generally helps cost containment and also makes the series
more about driving talent and less a spending battle. And Mr.
Siller would be pleased to know it also will help aspiring
Americans jump the Atlantic if they so desire. I'd much rather
continue to build solid programs across the spectrum of
American racing so domestic drivers don't have to pick up and
move to England just to have a shot.
Another major problem on the American karting scene (and one
that is being addressed within the Stars of Tomorrow program)
is the epidemic of classes. In the seeming endless quest for
the almighty trophy, some events have as many as 42 classes on
one race weekend. Many of those classes contain only one or
two drivers. How can someone truly hone their skills, or even
be identified as possessing skill, when he or she competes
against only a few people?
It's not until a
driver is up against (many) others who can challenge that
racer at every corner that we will truly know who has "it".
This class proliferation is rarely an issue outside of the
U.S. Today, twenty of the drivers practicing at Indianapolis
for the 500-Mile Race are foreign born. For those who care
about such things, they can point a finger at the dilution of
fields in the karting ranks.
CART Stars of Tomorrow/eRacingvision
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