The Rotax Max Challenge kicks things off with Round 9 of the championship on the traditional Kartdrome layout, while on day two the Speedway layout will be used for Round 10.
With eight of the twelve rounds of the championship done and dusted, this weekend’s results are set to play a major role in the championship outcome.
In the DD2 Class, Sanad Al Rawahi has a 119 points lead at the top of the standings, with Hussain Umid Ali second, but only four points ahead of third placed Oliver George. Umid Ali and George are first and second in the DD2 Masters.
Giulio Peroni is top of the table in the 125 Senior Max Class with 654 points, Pasqual Pook trails by 77 points in second and Ahmed Al Khamsi third with 560 points.
The 125 Junior Max is a tightly fought contest with the highly rated trio of leader Khalid Al Wagaibi, Taymour Kermanshahchi and Tehmur Chohan separated by 66 points going into the ninth week.
Mini Max championship leader Jamie Day sits out this round due to injury, giving the likes of Sem Knopjes and Shihab Al Habsi an opportunity to take command of the standings.
Mohammed Al Habsi has a solid lead with 747 points to his credit in the Micro Max class, with Alex Connor on 674 and Ali Al Shamsi in third with 590 points. There will also be three Bambino Time Trials on the day.
Track action begins on Friday with qualifying at 10.15, followed by one heat race, a pre-final and final for each class on the day.
On Sunday evening school pupils will compete in the first round of the 2016 Emirates Schools Karting Championship.
Teams made up of three or four drivers per team will battle it out in a one hour endurance race where teamwork, strategy and, of course, speed will be key to securing a win.
Drivers not affiliated to a particular school will battle it out for honours in the Nomad Cup.
Practice will take place at 17.25, followed by qualifying at 18.10.
The field will be flagged off at 18.30 for the one hour race which will feature driver swaps, with the chequered flag due to end proceedings at 19.30.
Organised by the Automobile and Touring Club of the United Arab Emirates (ATCUAE), the FIA accredited Championship is open to drivers aged 15 and above, featuring 18 races over six events at Yas Marina Circuit and Dubai Autodrome from October 2016 to March 2017.
The series, which is the first of its kind in the Middle East and North African region (MENA), adds to the busy motorsport calendar in the UAE, bridges the gap between karting and Formula racing and offers another stage for local talent to shine on.
“The UAE is the first in the region to adopt the FIAs new Formula 4 Championship model, and this was made possible thanks to the excellent motor sport infrastructure we have developed here over the last decade,” said ATCUAE president Ben Sulayem.
“The UAE Formula 4 Championship is a much anticipated addition to motorsport in the UAE, and wider region.
“It is the perfect opportunity for young drivers to graduate from karting, and is the first step on the ladder to a career as a professional driver.
“It would be fantastic to see a driver progress all the way from UAE Formula 4 Championship to the Formula One World Championship.”
Al Ameri, Chief Executive Officer of Yas Marina Circuit, added: “It’s a critical platform for us because it will develop the next generation of drivers that will go to the professional level and hopefully up the ladder all the way to Formula One with time.”
Each race weekend of the Championship will have two 30-minute official practice sessions, followed by a 20-minute qualifying and three 20-minute races.
The first, second and third place finishers of each race will receive podium trophies, while teams will be awarded points for their two highest-placed drivers in each race, going towards the end-of-season tally for the Team Trophy.
Overall season awards include Champion, Rookie of the Year and Team of the Year.
The tentative schedule currently has the Championship opening at Yas Marina Circuit at the end of October and concluding in the nation’s capital in mid-March.
More than three years and a half years ago, Ludovic Loffreda knew nothing about racing or had never been on a racing track.
But all that changed when the Frenchman was introduced to the sport through a friend in 2012, which led to him founding Lucco Racing – a Dubai based company that competes in the Radical Racing series.
After Lucco’s victory on the opening day of the Radical Middle East Cup at Dubai Autodrome, Ludovic caught up with Sport360 and spoke about where his interest for racing stemmed from and his focuses away from the track.
Ludovic, where did it all start for you? Where did the passion for racing come from?
My friend Jordan Grogor – a pro driver – brought me on to the track for the first time in 2012. He used to drive my road car there; it was a Porsche GT3 at the time and after costing me a fortune in spare parts, he said you should join us in a proper race-car designed to be on the track. He taught me all the lines, and then I purchased my first race-car because I was really enjoying it. After work it was so good to get rid of the pressure and stress and we started to be quite good. Myself and my co-driver Romain Lutter started winning races and championships, and we continued driving.
For people who know nothing about radical racing, can you tell us a bit about it?
It’s quite an accessible sport. Obviously finance is a big issue, you have to be quite financially solid or you have to find sponsors who can assist you. In terms of driving skills, the series has plenty of different levels of drivers who enjoy their time in the car. The most important thing is having fun.
Why did I decide to buy a radical? The radical are two seater cars, so it’s a proper race car. It’s faster than anything on the track, except a Formula One car. It’s a very fast car. I bring friends to races at the weekend who want to discover the sport.
As a driver, you need to be fit. Your neck and back muscles can be very stiff from driving so you need to do some workouts.
During the race we have videos, data, and we learn mistakes from this. In between the races, we try to learn and correct the issues, and have a better car for future races. The car is feeling good at the moment.
When your starting further down the track, do you try to go fast on the first lap?
You can never win the race in the first lap but it’s important to be careful not to lose here either. If you don’t get a good position from the first lap, you will be slow to catch the leaders. It’s all about balance. You have to be careful not to make a mistake on the first lap and you have to grab space and hope there is no crash either.
Outside of racing, what’s your passion?
I love doing business. We buy and sell companies and we build companies from A-Z. We have four companies in Lyon and twenty in Dubai. My dream was to build a group which we have today and now it is to maintain the group, which is the most difficult part. The racing is a passion, but it’s not a dream anymore. It’s a reality.
Does the confidence in business help your driving?
It’s not about confidence. It’s more about knowing what you can do, and knowing what you cannot do. If a driver is faster than you it’s for a reason, or he has more skills and more experience. But there is always a reason. You can find out and you can learn. It’s exactly like business. You don’t want to be like them, but you need to understand why these people are different and try to replicate what they do.
*The next two Radical races will take place on 18-20 February at Dubai Autodrome and 17-18 March at Yas Marina Circuit.