Slideways Go Karting World will this weekend be represented at the SodiKart World Finals in France by top Australian outfit TSR, with the Slideways Enduro Series the launch pad for their second attempt to take on the planet’s best karters.
All race days at Slideways Go Karting World at Pimpama count for points towards the Sodi World Series, the world’s largest point score for leisure karting centres globally that utilise the European manufactured kart chassis.
Nearly 40 teams have qualified for the World Finals from countries such as the UK, China, Canada, Japan, Dubai, the UAE, Italy, Spain and more, with TSR finishing within the top-ten globally in 2016 from hundreds of competing teams.
Last year the team won the Slideways Enduro Series, and this season claimed the top step of the podium at the first three events contested.
It will be the squad’s second consecutive trip to the World Finals, with their experience from last year leaving the crew under no illusion as to the task at hand.
“The level of competition is out of this world. The top three teams have finished first, second and third for the past three years in different orders, so that shows you just how good they are,” said team leader Todd McDonald.
“Going off last year, the level of competition is much better than we expected. When you look at all these guys, they’ve all got some sort of racing background, where as our team’s racing background is strictly in SodiKarts.
“After last year and seeing how good they were, we want to have a proper shot this time. We thought we’d better step up the training. We don’t want to walk away and say that we could have done better.
“The preparation this time around has been very different. For myself, I’ve lost 17kg, trying to get down to 80kg, whereas Michael (Seeto) and Jack (Hughes) have been concentrating on endurance training, and trying to put weight on. It’s better to have your own body weight rather than ballast weight.
“I’ve spent 20 hours a week on the simulator, Mick’s gone out and got Ben Nothling as his personal trainer, he trains with him twice a week, while Jack is flat out training on simulators, and he runs 10km every day.”
For the first time ever, Australia will be represented by multiple teams in the World Finals, with the 1788 Kangaroos and Profile Autosports also qualifying.
Both of those teams also earned points in the Slideways Enduro Series in 2016 en route to qualifying for the finals.
“I think it’s going to be an advantage (having other Australian teams racing), because if you see somebody down the track that you know, you want to catch them. I think that it is going to be helpful, and something we can gauge ourselves on as well,” said McDonald.
“I don’t want to be negative, but I don’t think any Australian team is going to win it outright, but we can find out once and for all who the best Australian team is, with a completely even playing field. Everyone will be the exact same weight, 80kg, we’ll find out finally who the best team is.”
TSR are heading to France with the backing of supporters 131 TOW, West Burleigh Smash, Currumbin Steering, Currumbin Wreckers, Power Republic, R&J Batteries and Slideways Go Karting World, while the team also strongly supports their chosen charity, Autism Queensland.
The SodiKart World Finals are scheduled for May 26-27 at Racing Kart Cormeilles in Paris, with categories also being contested for solo sprint drivers and juniors.
Representing Australia in the solo sprint races is Clay Seaborne, who is already a race winner this season in the Slideways Sprint Series.
The next Slideways Sprint Series race day is scheduled for Sunday June 4, with classes for Senior Heavies and Lights, as well as Juniors (aged 12-15) and Cadets (aged 7-11), who are all eligible to earn SodiKart World Series points.
The categories for Juniors and Cadets represent the first time young Australians can qualify on home soil for the World Finals.
Meanwhile the fifth round of the 2017 Slideways Enduro Series is scheduled for the following Sunday, June 11, with a 90 lap/65 minute long race for three driver teams.
Discounted early bird entries close this Monday (May 29), with further details available on the Slideways Gold Coast Go Kart Race Days website, or by phoning the Slideways Go Karting World office on (07) 5546 6566 between 9am-5pm 7 days a week.