Karting in the year 1996: a history

JANUARY 1996

We took a look inside an Ital Sistem MV21 100cc motor following the Italian company’s double World Championship success. A comparison of the Honda GX160 Pro-Kart motor and a new 200cc unit concluded that there was little difference in lap times and it would be better to stick with the existing motor. The CIK North American Champs were held deep in NASCAR country at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Giorgio Pantano (CRG/Rotax) won Formula A while Nicola Gianniberti (Jolly/Rotax) took the honours in Formula Super A.

FEBRUARY 1996

Three Formula Super-A drivers were suspended from CIK championships for taking part in the Le Mans 24 Hour 100cc event which was not listed on the International Calendar. Harm Schuurman B.V. of Holland demonstrated a prototype of the 250cc Ecomoto engine, one of the first attempts at producing a suitable high-performance 4-stroke for karting that would be quick, quiet and reliable. George Robinson tested three different Tonykart chassis at P.F. International, the Crono, Esprit and Formula Step 3.

MARCH 1996

Details of the first Champions of the Future series, the forerunner of Stars of Tomorrow, were announced with all rounds to be screened on ITV. Martin Hines demonstrated his Formula E outfit at Autosport International. Anthony Davidson, Michael Simpson and Chris Stoney were the three karting British Champions to receive their awards at the RACMSA’s Night of Champions, Michael Schumacher and Colin McRae were also on hand to pick up their awards.

APRIL 1996

We visited the Rotax factory in Austria and were shown their latest 100cc engines and a prototype of the MAX engine which would later take the karting world by storm. Plans for a new circuit at Warden Law and a photograph of the extension at Lydd were published. Karts raced on an indoor banked oval circuit in Stuttgart, Germany. Michael Schumacher won Sunday’s celebrity final while 1993 Formula A World Champion David Terrien was the victor in the karters section.

MAY 1996

Johnny Herbert and John Surtees helped open Buckmore Park’s new extension. PCR announced that they were collaborating with the space agency NASA on new materials for their engines. Robert Kubica dominated the Junior class at the Margutti Trophy, Lewis Hamilton was only 18th. Three ‘A’ Final leaders at the TKM S1 Qualifier at Three Sisters were flagged into the pits for noise violations.

JUNE 1996

The first ever Champions of the Future (later to become Stars of Tomorrow) round took place at Buckmore Park. Lewis Hamilton, Gary Paffett and Marcus Fulcher took the wins. Lotta Hellberg (Formula Super-A) and Giorgio Pantano (Formula A) were victorious at the South Garda European Champs round, the first round to be held with pooled tyres to stop specials. An electric kart covered 970 miles in 24 hours at Santa Pod. The Birel AR4 and R630B chassis were tested.

JULY 1996

Anthony Davidson won both Formula A Euro Champs rounds at Salbris, France. Jenson Button took a 4th and a 6th. Massimiliano Orsini was victorious in Formula Super A. Our Japanese correspondent introduced us to the Yamaha FK-9, a beginners’ class kart with an 82cc reed valve 2-stroke engine, centrifugal clutch and key ignition. We track tested various Fullerton chassis.

AUGUST 1996

The CIK announced that only Elf-HTX 909 oil would be permitted in the European Champs as from January 1997. Marino Spinozzi (Tony/Vortex) won the European Junior Champs at Corridonia, Italy from Luke Hines. Nelson Van der Pol (Tony/Vortex) won the Green Helmet Trophy for younger drivers. Calor Gas announced their Kartgas LPG package for commercial operators.

SEPTEMBER 1996

We celebrated the 40th birthday of the first ever kart. Fernando Alonso won the Five Continents Cup, the ‘World Junior Champs’, at Genk on Mike/Parilla/Bridgestone equipment. Giorgio Pantano beat Anthony Davidson to the FA European title by just one point. Johnny Mislijevic was the Super A champion. We investigated the ARKS novice kart licence course that would become compulsory in 1997.

OCTOBER 1996

The inaugural TV Masters was held at P.F. International with 232 entries. Drivers’ goody bags included Fletchers Bakeries muffins. Lewis Hamilton (Cadet), Michael Simpson (Junior TKM) and Michael Spencer (JICA) were among the winners. Ludovic Vève of France on Biesse/Rotax won the ICA European Champs at the very quick Poznan circuit in Poland.

NOVEMBER 1996

South Garda in Italy hosted the World Champs. Jean-Christophe Ravier (Formula A) of France and Sweden’s Johnny Mislijevic (Super-A), were the victors, both using Tony/Vortex. Shenington fended off a noise abatement notice. Lewis Hamilton, Gary Paffett and Andrew Delahunty won the first McLaren Mercedes Champions of the Future series. McLaren’s Ron Dennis was on hand to congratulate the champions.

DECEMBER 1996

Michael Schumacher raced and won in Formula A at Monaco despite the F1 season not yet having finished. Chris Rogers, Gary Catt, Andrew Delahunty and Daniel Barrett took the Junior Super 1 titles while Philip Charles, Robert Jenkinson and Bobby Game were crowned Senior champions. A 100cc DAP driven by American Dave Bradley recorded an average speed of 120.729mph at the Bonneville Slat Flats.