Last weekend, the fourth round of the WSK Open Series was packed with KZ2 entries, with 81 drivers coming to prepare for the forthcoming European KZ and KZ2 Championships. For once, the KZ2s outnumbered the Mini Gr3s and U10s, with 61 entries in all. For the first time, the competition welcomed the OK-N and OKN-Junior categories, replacing the X30 Juniors and Seniors. Their debut, originally scheduled for early February for the WSK Super Master Series, had to be postponed due to supply difficulties with OKN / OKN-J engines at the start of the year. These two categories are still scheduled to compete in the WSK Euro Series from September.
At Sarno, the new FIA Karting categories did not create much of a buzz. With just one driver entered in OK-N and 12 in OKN-J, the field was rather thin. In our opinion, this was more a casting error than a failure of the new concept. Indeed, there may be a contradiction between the high-level competition rightly advocated by WSK Promotion and the philosophy of accessibility and controlled budget that accompanies OK-N and OKN-J. The entry fee was €450 and eight Vega XH3 slick tyres were allowed.
By comparison, ACI Karting charges €400 (excl. VAT) to enter the five races of the OK-N / OKN-J Italian Championship with the same tyre allocation. The last event, held at La Conca from 15th to 18th June, brought together 29 OK-N and 28 OKN-J karts. France has decided to take a different route by offering a single event in French Trophy OK-N, from 21st to 23rd July at Salbris. The entry fee is higher, €700, but includes one of the two authorised sets of slick tyres and the hire of an OK-N engine provided by the three distributors who responded to the call for tenders, TM Kart, Modena Engines and Vortex, after a draw. The 30 places available were quickly snapped up.
The price advantage of the OK-N engine is non-existent compared to the X30 Senior and Rotax Senior. The introductory price only covers a bare engine without the accessories that are essential for its operation. There is an interesting approach for approved carburettors, which benefit from a fixed price of €200 excluding VAT. The OK-N’s main argument is that it is more powerful than the brand cup engines and that it costs less to maintain than some of them.
As recommended by the FIA Karting, to keep budgets under control, meetings should be of limited duration and only one set of tyres should be used per event. It remains to be seen whether this recommendation will be followed.
In any case, the die is cast. We’ll have to wait until the end of the season to be able to draw up a full assessment of the potential of the OK-N / OKN-Junior and any changes to be proposed to ensure its success, while monitoring the progress of the competitions in the meantime.
Info Kartcom Selection / © LRN Photo