GFR’s response to new ‘OK’ engines

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WELL-KNOWN engine tuner Gordon Finlayson of GFR Engines has responded to the CIK’s introduction of the new OK engine, set to be used in 2016 with a scathing rebuttal of the OK’s premise.

Finalyson writes: “With reference to your recent introduction and subsequent statements regarding a new ‘OK’ class for CIK-FIA competitions to replace KF and KFJ. We as an engine tuner and provider over many years have been a supplier to champions such as: DiResta, Verstappen, Alguesuari, Chilton and Stevens to name a few who have progressed to F1 and drivers such as Albon, Russell, Stroll, LeClerc, Boccolachi and Illot who have advanced to F3.

We are universally known and have for years been at the centre of engine supply to all major and world Karting events. We are at the HUB in every paddock and are very close to all competing teams. With this in mind can you explain why we were given no opportunity to have our opinion considered in something that is so drastic to whole of the sport? This introduction is something that must carry the whole of the paddock with it and as such requires complete transparency and sound arguments.

It is extremely interesting to look back at “The ten key points of the new KF Engine” published by the CIK-FIA from 2007 which you seem to dismiss as irrelevant today.

You state: Simplification, Streamlining and cost reduction.

Simplification, what could be more simple than pushing a button to start a Kart. Yet you want to take us back years to the backbreaking task of pushing Karts to get them started. Certainly in the UK we would suggest that the Health and Safety executive would have something very big to say about such a practice. Your statements regarding decompression valve and easy starting are simply untrue and karts for whatever reason stopping on the circuit will become a danger in their attempts to restart. Pushing Karts is from the history books and that’s where it should stay. It has taken 8 years to perfect the KF engine and its ancillary equipment and just when all engine manufacturers are on a competitive par you decide to embark on the strangest of ideas and put the future of the sport at risk. If the goal is to bring the premier class back to a national level these changes will not have the desired effect when there are so many other available classes.

Streamlining, not sure what the ultimate meaning is but if a Karts weight is reduced by 5 kilo’s how can you expect such a weight difference in the senior class of 13 kilo’s, guess you expect we will be breeding a new range of young men and women more akin to the pygmy population. Even the fashion industry has learned that ultra slim models are not the way forward. Your suggested weight restrictions are a further limitation to enticing drivers to the sport when the opposite should be the case.

Cost reduction: your inference is that the engine is the major cost associated with Kart racing and we suggest to you that your assumptions are a long way from reality. An extra ca 800 Euro’s per engine with lets say 2 required per year with all the benefits that it brings for simple starting, safety on circuit and safety of mechanics is not where the major costs lie, have you ever calculated the costs to take this travelling circus around Europe. We suggest that the decline in the sport today is more due to the economic conditions around the world.

The reality is that motor racing is an expensive hobby and the rewards for the successful drivers as we have shown earlier are quite enormous. The KF and KFJ classes are extremely professional due to the complete package on offer today and it seems to many of us in the paddock that you have done a poor job in analyzing what you perceive to be problems in these classes. You state that this is the result of the demands and expectations of the majority of ASN’s, manufacturers and competitors. Our enquiries across these areas produce a different story, so might we suggest that some big answers are absolutely necessary to carry the confidence of the paddock.

To give the time for these answers to be formulated by way of further inclusive discussions, serious consideration must be given to leave the current status of the KF classes for at least another 12 months.