“In karting, you have to adapt to any situation.”
Luigi Coluccio (18), who comes from the south-east of Italy, near the La Conca and Ugento circuits, is one of the benchmarks in the OK category. Over the years, the driver from the Tony Kart Racing Team has built up a fine record of achievements, culminating in two podium finishes in the FIA Karting World Championship.
How did you get into karting?
My parents bought me a Puffo Kart when I was only four years old! I discovered racing in 2011 at the age of eight in the Baby-Kart category. I fought for the title in my region the following year, before starting in Mini in 2013. I won the Winter Cup and the Champions Cup. I had the opportunity to race in OK-Junior in 2017 and with great emotion I left Italy to discover new circuits in other countries. The podium in the FIA Karting World Championship – OK-Junior in 2018 with the Birel ART team has allowed me to gain in reputation.
What are the secrets to being fast in OK?
It really depends on the brand of tyres you use and the circuits you drive on. It is important to be able to adapt to all situations. If you have a chassis that tends to slip or on the contrary has too much grip, you won’t be able to exploit the full power of the engine and on top of that you will wear out the tyres. You will not be able to achieve a good time. Defining the optimum tyre pressure is important in OK, as is having a really clean ride. This is especially true with the brand of tyres currently used in FIA Karting. Some other tyres are used in a different way. You also have to take into account the mileage of the race. The settings are often different, depending on whether you are starting in Timed Practice, where you have to set an excellent time in just a few laps, or in a heat, or in a Final race that stretches over 30 kilometres.
What is your favourite kind of track?
The more grip the circuit and tyre characteristics offer, the more I like it and the more comfortable I feel. My closeness to the La Conca circuit is perhaps not unrelated to this choice, as the grip is maximum there.
Do you feel a lot of pressure when you represent a factory like OTK?
No, I feel good. I have got to know the OTK group through the many events I have competed in with them. Today, I have a good relationship with Tony Kart. The factory pushes me to do my best at all times and I like the situation. Of course, it’s not always easy when the results don’t live up to our mutual expectations, but it’s usual to have ups and downs in karting.
Many drivers are now very young in OK. How does it work in the field?
In karting, the duels are always very intense, whatever the category. We know that a driver arriving from Junior will lack experience, I myself found myself in this situation. So, some people make mistakes and are over-optimistic, but this phenomenon tends reduce as the season progresses. As for me, I’ve just started my fifth year in OK, so I think I know the category well.
Have you managed to continue your education?
I must admit that with all the travelling for karting, following the lessons like my friends is not so easy, but I’m hanging on by pursuing normal schooling in my school near my home, in Maglie.
How did you feel about winning the runner-up title in Campillos at the end of 2021?
It was very satisfying, especially for my last race with Kosmic Racing. I was waiting to get a result like this again and my efforts paid off. My parents rarely come to see me on the circuits and this time they were able to travel to the south of Spain. To have been able to celebrate this moment of joy with them and all my team, it will remain a wonderful memory.
In addition to your karting career, you have just started racing in GT cars. Can you tell us more about it?
I had the opportunity to race in the Italian Grand Touring Championship and my debut gave me a lot of satisfaction. These are races of almost an hour with two drivers. I am racing in GT-CPA with the Easy Race team in a Ferrari 488 Challenge with Rocco Mazzola as my teammate. It’s a great car, very powerful! We finished 2nd in Race 1 and 3rd in Race 2 in our class, once on a wet track and once in the dry! I won’t be able to take part in the whole Championship, as my karting programme remains my priority.
How do you see your future?
Today I am very happy to be racing for Tony Kart after two years with Kosmic Racing. Mr Roberto Robazzi trusts me and I try to perform well in every race. I hope to have an excellent 2022 season. After that, it is still difficult for me to foresee the future of my career. It will depend on the support and partners I can get.
Info FIA Karting / Photo © KSP