In nearly eight years of existence, the CPB Sport team has won all the biggest titles in KZ2: European Champion, International Super Cup and Asia-Pacific Championship in FIA Karting, several national championships, the Andrea Margutti Trophy twice, the WSK series and the Industry Trophy. Paul Bizalion, its manager, talks about the creation of the French team and its functioning…
How did the CPB Sport story come about?
I got to know high-level kart racing through my son Charly. After encouraging results in national events in France in the KZ2 category, we turned to international competition. I soon felt the desire and motivation to get involved and we created the CPB Sport team at the end of 2013. In our first year, our driver Douglas Lundberg became CIK-FIA European vice-champion in 2014 with the Alpha Karting chassis. Of course, this only increased our ambitions tenfold. We continued in 2015 with drivers like Marco Zanchetta and Nicolas Gonzales for example.
When did you seal your partnership with the Sodikart factory?
I met with the Sodikart management for the 2016 season. They were interested in our sporting project and together we worked out an economic model to make the team viable and successful in the long term. I absolutely wanted the support of a manufacturer. To progress in good conditions and win major victories, a team like ours cannot function without such a collaboration. I’m talking about performance, and also about financial balance. The market price of a race in KZ2 is not as high as it can be in OK or in Junior and the support of Sodikart is indispensable to me today. For drivers interested in our team, I need to draw up quotes adapted to the market. The equation is never easy to solve, as we are now doing everything we can to maximise performance. We have to spend a lot of money at all levels: human, equipment, technical, logistical, administrative, communication…
The human and family aspect seems to hold a predominant place at CPB Sport…
Indeed, the initials CPB stand for Charly, my son, Paul and Bizalion. Although Charly preferred to sail to other horizons, my other son Florent has been working with me for many years and has taken on more and more responsibilities in the team over the seasons. He is currently working on data acquisition. His girlfriend now takes care of marketing and the catering part of the team, as well as liaising with the drivers and their parents when they have specific needs.
Secondly, a core group of mechanics has formed and has been loyal to us for a long time. Among them, I would like to mention Matthieu Neron, who does a lot of work on our equipment outside the circuits. He is a kind of reference for his colleagues, in addition to the mission of our team manager, Kevin Petit, who took over from Kevin Cuoco.
As well as the KZ2 category, the CPB Sport team is involved in KZ. What are the reasons for this?
On the strength of the work we have done, the setting up of a high quality technical staff with major engine manufacturers, our constant investment and the fact that we have a very solid record of success, the Sodikart factory has entrusted us with the sporting management of its KZ drivers since the start of the 2021 season. For us, it is an honour and a great recognition, and also a great responsibility, because it represents an even higher level. The standard is unbelievable, we are fighting against other very involved factories and against the best drivers in the world. The technical regulations are slightly different and require more research, development and testing.
What does the future hold for CPB?
Racing is a never-ending process. The KZ and KZ2 categories thrill me, especially internationally, and we will definitely be there in 2022 with the same ambition and desire to win. However, another very interesting part of my job is the detection of drivers, the search for partners to help them compete in the best conditions, and of course the quest for victory. I am proud to have won FIA Karting events with drivers like Adrien Renaudin, Emilien Denner or more recently Senna Van Walstijn. As far as our partners are concerned, they are of a technical nature, as it is unfortunately very difficult to find financial sponsors in karting.
Info FIA Karting / Photo © KSP