Rotax Evolution Concept
Kart racing is organized under the Motorsport South Africa umbrella and is divided into specific age, weight and power to suit youngsters as they grow. This ensures a safe and exiting progression in speed and faster lap times to cater for everyone from 5 to 99 years old!
About the Rotax Max Challenge
BRP Rotax dominated CIK Kart racing in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s producing ultra-high revving 100cc engines. Convinced that it was time to offer the public more Rotax were unable to convince the authorities to embrace modern-technology so they ceased production of 100cc engines and went their own way. A short while later they introduced “NEW AGE “ karting with the Rotax MAX engine. This had many revolutionary features:
- 125 cc – larger capacity but similar output to the top racing engines without the reliability and durability issues caused by very high rpm
- Water cooling with integrated pump and radiator – improved durability.
- Full on motorcycle type air filter – improved durability and reduced noise.
- Counter rotating balance shaft to reduce vibration
- Nikasil coating on the cylinder (Porsche use this on racing engines) for low friction and long life
- Mapped digital ignition with a rev limiter
- Onboard electric start – push starting is no fun and can be dangerous on the circuit
- Centrifugal clutch – enables starting and recovery after a spin out. This is an important safety feature: in case of an engine failure - the wheels lock up if there is no clutch and you lose control!
- Automotive/motorcycle type carburettor used instead of the super sensitive diaphragm (chainsaw) type carbs used in CIK racing where the driver controls the mixture during the race.
After seeing the instant success of their “NEW AGE” karting concept BRP Rotax started an international one-make karting series in 1999 for Rotax MAX powered karts.
The winning Rotax Max driver from participating countries were invited to compete at the ROTAX Max Challenge Grand Finals starting in Puerto Rico in 2000. The prize included the use of brand-new kart and engine drawn by raffle to ensure the fairest racing in karting. All tyres dry and wet, fuel, oil, tools, trolley, etc. were covered by this prestigious invitation.
The demand for younger drivers to be able to join NEW AGE karting lead to variants of the original Max engine and today there is a range of international classes using Micro Max, Mini Max, Junior Max and Senior Max engines – all based on the original MAX concept in various states of tune. The DD2 (direct drive two-speed gearbox engine) was developed to top the performance range with 35 bhp and very light weight delivering stunning performance.
Today there are Rotax Max Challenge National series running successfully in more than 50 countries and the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Final is seen by many as the Olympics of karting. In 2018 this will take place in Brazil and a team of 10 South African and African Open Champions will try to bring home the silver-ware