As is becoming the motor racing norm these days, KartSport NZ were the latest championship to launch their own ‘Virtual Club day’ held over Easter Sunday, and the organisation’s President Graeme Moore says more online events are already being planned.
Before the nation went into lockdown, the annual National Sprint Championships due to be held over the long weekend was cancelled.
As such, Travis Smith, a young keen karter and tech wizz from Dunedin, discussed with his father Colin (KartSport NZ’s National Technical Officer) about the potential to run an iRacing karting league to be contested over the weekend instead.
The idea quickly evolved and by Sunday more than 48 entrants had signed up to participate in the inaugural KartSport NZ ‘Trophy Truck’ iRacing meeting held at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. The event format featured three 5-lap heat races and a reverse grid 20 lap finale.
The virtual race meeting even attracted 24 Hours of Le Mans victor and World Endurance Champion Brendon Hartley to participate from his home in Taupo. While three-time NZ Karting champion Chris Van der Drift also joined in on the action.
The final race was won by 18-year-old Angus Claasen from Hamilton, with karter Max Donnelly following home in Claasen home in second.
“Without a doubt I thought my phone was going hot on Sunday afternoon as we were putting the finishing touches to the event together,” said Moore. “But yesterday and even earlier today it’s just been ballistic with people wanting to tell me how good it was.
“Obviously karts would have been a better ‘fit,’ but the Trophy Trucks provided us with a pretty much level playing field in terms of set-up, plus because of that they are one of the cheapest options on the iRacing program.
“Now that we’ve run our first club day we will look at our options going forward. One of those might well be to go to a virtual kart if we can access a simple, cost effective option but in the meantime we will stick with the cheaper options on iRacing, it is Club Day racing after all.”
Image: KartSport New Zealand