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Rock Island Grand Prix - New Pro Open Class

1/22/2011

Article by: rockislandgrandprix.com


The explosion of spec classes in kart racing is great for those who are looking for an easy entry into the sport. But what about those who want to compete at the very pinnacle of karting? Innovation is part of the fabric of the sport, dating back to the early days when guys built their own frames in the garage, strapped on a couple of McCulloughs and went racing in parking lots. Today’s karts have come a long way, thanks to a spirit of trial and innovation that continues to run through the sport’s veins.

But little remains to encourage true innovation. Until now.

On Sept. 2-4, 2011, the Rock Island Grand Prix presented by AT&T, the world’s largest karting street race, will feature the 2-cycle Pro Open Championship. The goal of this race, according to Rock Island Grand Prix president Roger Ruthhart, is to shake the cob webs off of the sport, challenge the world’s great engine builders and mechanics, put some of the sport’s best drivers back on the track and create tomorrow’s karting legends today.

“Many of karting’s great drivers are currently turning wrenches on the sidelines for junior racers, or working as driving instructors – their best option to make money in the sport they love. Our hope is that they will jump back into the seat and help us show everyone how thrilling kart races can be,” Ruthhart said.

“At the same time there may be talented drivers who have never competed at the national level who can prove that their name deserves to be mentioned in the same breath with the top dogs. Or basement motor builders who can build something better than the big-names in karting. We say – ‘Bring it on’,” said Ruthhart.

“Remember the days when names like Elliott, Jones, Rudolph, Birdsell, Valiente, Evans, Gidley and others where legends? It’s time to create some new legends for our sport,” Ruthhart added.

“We need the great talent to be more recognizable; to be bigger than life, even if it is for just one race a year. This race will assign bragging rights – for motor builders and drivers. There is no point in finishing second.”

The guidelines are simple – there aren’t many:

* 2-cycle single-cylinder, non-shifter motors only. No Wankels
* Engines and karts do not need to be homologated. 150cc maximum motor displacement.
* Tech is bore and stroke only.
* No forced induction
* Open tires and compounds. No tire prep allowed. Class does NOT have to qualify and race on the same tires.
* Open fuel, except no hydrazine or carcinogenic compounds.
* Bodywork open
* 100cc motors will run at 300 lbs.
* 125cc motors will run at 350 lbs.
* 135cc motors will run at 375 lbs.
* 150cc motors will run at 400 lbs.
* 125cc balance shaft motors (ie Rotax and KF) will run at 400 lbs.
* 150cc balance shaft motors will run at 425 lbs.
* Drivers: Senior only, age 16 and up
* Class will run Pre Final and Final

There’s your challenge to start thinking outside the box. Grab that old motor off the shelf and figure out how you can make it more powerful; how you can make the chassis lighter; who you can get to drive it who will do more than hold on for dear life. Got an old Formula A, ICA or Formula Y motor with no where to race it? Join the fun.

The streets of Rock Island are waiting. The 750-foot straights will allow these beasts to really stretch their legs. The thousands of spectators lining the streets will be screaming in ecstasy and bowing down at the feet of the top motor builder and team in North America.

The full Rock Island Grand Prix 2011 race program will be announced in February.

Thanks to Keith Freber at Margay and Lynn Haddock, Haddock Ltd., for their assistance in putting these guidelines together. Several top motor builders have already committed to enter.

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