“Karting is clearly on the rise in Brazil.”
On September 18th in Italy on the Sarno circuit, Brazil was honoured with the crowning of Matheus Morgatto, brilliant winner of the FIA Karting World Championship – OK. This victory confirms the dynamism of this South American country in the field of karting for many years, as Giovanni Guerra, President of the “Confederação Brasileira de Automobilismo “, explains in this interview…
Can you tell us about your career in karting?
For me, it all started in the state of Goiás in Anápolis, my hometown, when the Elias Abrahão International Karting Track was inaugurated some 40 years ago. I started as a driver there, before moving to Imperatriz in the state of Maranhão, where my family settled and where I still live today. With other drivers, we founded the Kart Club of the Tocantine region in the 1990s and I was the first president, which prompted the end of my driving career. Later we built the Kartódromo Internacional de Imperatriz, today homologated by the CIK-FIA.
How did you become President of the CBA?
Again in the northeast of Brazil, we founded the Federation of Motor Racing of the State of Maranhão. The work done as President made me a candidate for the presidency of the Confederação Brasileira de Automobilismo. I had the honour of winning the election on 15th January, 2021.
What is karting like in Brazil?
The sport is growing significantly. In 2021, our national championships included a total of 550 drivers. This season we have exceeded all our objectives. We have aligned our rules with those of the CIK-FIA and we have reached a number close to 900 registrations in the national championships. For 2023, the goal is to exceed 1000 entries. Currently, we can count on seven Brazilian factories manufacturing chassis and four international brands are very well represented in the country. The tyre manufacturer MG is Brazilian, as is the engine and carburettor manufacturer KTT.
How are your championships organised?
We organise four different championships. In addition to the Brazilian Cup, the Brazilian Championship is divided into three groups. Group 1 is for Rotax and four-stroke engines, Group 2 for two-stroke engines, including OK and OK-Junior according to CIK-FIA regulations, and Mini with the national KTT engine and Group 3 for KZ and Endurance categories with four-stroke engines in 6-hour races.
What projects have you carried out in recent years?
When I was appointed representative of the CBA to the CIK-FIA, Brazil began important work to align itself with the international rules. We initiated and defended the arrival of the decompression valve on the engines as it exists in OK or OK-Junior, imposed the front fairing with the retractable system and adapted the categories in order to be able to adopt the imported chassis. Three new karting circuits were homologated. These reforms were welcomed by Felipe Massa, CIK-FIA President from 2018 to 2021, and we worked together to organise the FIA Karting World Championship in Brazil. Unfortunately, the pandemic compromised this possibility.
Our efforts were also focused on decentralisation, to develop the market as a whole. For example, we supported the creation of a Northeast Karting Championship in 2021, which has increased the number of drivers in this region.
What does the future look like?
We plan to bring new projects to fruition, such as the debut of OK-N engines in 2024 and the implementation of the Regional Cup initiated by the CIK-FIA. We are also going to organise a three-round championship with international rules, first in Brazil, and later throughout South America if the possibility exists. This will help in the training of even more competitive Brazilian drivers.
For a Brazilian driver, do you think that the best way to reach the highest level of motorsport is to go and race in Europe from karting onwards?
Certainly, the standard of drivers is very high in Europe, but that is why our determination to make our championships even more competitive will continue to help our best representatives progress. If the countries of the American continent get involved in the development of the CIK-FIA international categories and integrate the principle of the FIA Regional Karting Cup, the drivers will be better prepared to face the rest of the world.
You made the trip to Sarno in September. How did you feel during Matheus Morgatto’s victory in the FIA Karting World Championship?
Matheus Morgatto started his career in Brazil, where he was champion, which allowed him to arrive in Europe with a strong background. He has worked hard in recent years to reach the top step of the podium in this OK World Championship. I was very moved after this fourth world title for Brazil. I must admit that I couldn’t watch the race, I just prayed that nothing would happen and that Matheus would be able to reap the fruits of all the work he had done to get there.
Does your Federation provide financial support to the top Brazilian hopefuls?
We recently welcomed the BRB bank as a partner to help promote Brazilian motorsport, including karting. We were able to help Gabriel Gomez following his pole position in the 2021 FIA Karting World Championship in OK, as well as Matheus Morgatto and Olin Galli. We also supported the Brazilian team that participated in the 2022 FIA Motorsport Games in Paul Ricard. We hope this is just the beginning.
Info FIA Karting / Photo © KSP