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Ex-F1 engineer Smedley launches new electric karting initiative

A new low-cost electric karting initiative designed to “democratise” motorsport on a global scale has been launched by former Ferrari Formula 1 engineer Rob Smedley.

Rob Smedley launches new electric karting initiative

Global Karting League aims to cut the cost of aspiring racers’ karting careers by up to 96%, enabling a 1000-fold increase in participation.

It seeks to create 50 national ‘hubs’ worldwide, the first being already operational in the UK.

Youngsters aged 6-17, who may have tried indoor leisure karting, can take their first steps into motorsport with a training plan leading to rookie and then national championships.

Once more hubs are established, international championships will provide a final step on the ladder before graduation to single-seaters.

Run on an arrive-and-drive basis, each category uses identical 48-volt electric karts with drivetrain and battery designed in-house, leaving the price unchanged at each level.

Performance is similar to traditional forms of karting, with power outputs restricted at entry level.

“We believe the world’s fastest driver hasn’t raced – yet,” said Smedley.

“We want to simplify the grassroots of the sport; we want to make it more equal; we want to open up the participation [so] that we get more talent coming through from a more diverse cohort.

Rob Smedley launches new electric karting initiative

Photo by: JEP

Rob Smedley launches new electric karting initiative

“To build a credible pathway, the kids have to have the same experience that they would have in [conventional] karting.

“We’ve used an electric drivetrain so we can have much better parity across all of the karts, so the biggest differentiator is the kids’ talent.”

GKL’s UK championships run at eight established kart circuits including Whilton Mill, Rye House and Buckmore Park.

But Smedley explained that by meeting FIA technical regulations, the kart can provide a global reach using temporary “pop-up” tracks in locations without motorsport infrastructure, as has happened at Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

A further innovation is GKL’s F1-style data analytics systems, which facilitate coaching and allow drivers to be ranked. They can be used to govern progression up the GKL ladder and identify talent to be nurtured.

“We can rank for any indexed performance parameter that you like,” said Smedley.

“Then we can pretty much tell you that the best driver at that age category in that category of karts is at this point in the world. And, at that point, we can actually support that talent.”

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