The inaugural Students’ Karting Cup – a new grassroots series targeted at boosting domestic interest in the sport of karting – will take place over four weekends in January and February next year.
With registration now open to UAE-based students of all nationalities between the ages of 12 to 19-years-old, the multi-round cup will feature two competition categories: Juniors for 12 to 15-year-olds and Seniors for 16 to 19-year-olds.
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The brainchild of PRODRIVE Sports Services, one of the UAE’s leading independent organisers of individual and corporate sporting events, the Students Karting Cup will take place at Al Ain Raceway – the Middle East’s only International Karting Commission (CIK) accredited International Grade B circuit.
“This first-of-its-kind karting competition will galvanise an already popular sport in the UAE and, we hope, contribute to propelling the evolution of regional motorsports,” said Sayed Harris Hassan, PRODRIVE’s CEO.
“The UAE is now home to an increasingly diverse calendar of world-class motorsport events and we want to see homegrown talents fighting it out on the international stage – both domestically and internationally. The Students’ Karting Cup has been conceived to introduce the UAE’s next generation of sporting talent into competitive karting – the traditional entry-point for the majority of professional motorsport drivers.”
In contrast to other regional karting programmes, the karting event aims to develop all aspects of young drivers’ capabilities – from punctuality and adherence to safety, to natural speed and attention to rules and regulations on the circuit.
“Contrary to popular belief, racing is not just about speed,” added Sayed. “Drivers need more in their lockers than raw pace alone. The Students’ Karting Cup will assess young drivers, identify who has the rounded talents required for modern day racing and then nurture the best prospects.”
Supported by Abu Dhabi Racing (ADR), the Abu Dhabi-based company that develops initiatives to boost the emirate’s presence in global motorsport, the competition will also offer a coveted trial with ADR’s prestigious Daman Speed Academy – which aims to groom young UAE nationals to become professional racing drivers – to the top-ranking Emirati drivers in the Junior andSenior categories.
“Karting is the starting point for virtually every world-class racing driver competing today – it is the heartbeat of motorsport,” said Khaled Al Qubaisi, ADR’s Managing Director and the first Emirati to finish the famous 24 hours race at historic French circuit, Le Mans.
“Karting is a breeding ground for talent. The sport hones young drivers’ skills and provides them with invaluable racing experience. It is also a crucial platform for physical and emotional development. Karting is where drivers develop and grow into their adult bodies and discover the competitive edge as they learn what it takes to be successful, victorious and how to be a team player.”
Registration for the Students’ Karting Cup costs AED1,150 per individual driver and is open until Tuesday 15th December.
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For their entry fees, students will receive a Starter Kit worth AED900 that includes branded Students’ Karting Cup clothing and 60-minutes of assured track time. The track time includes two 15-minute ‘Arrive and Drive’ sessions and an ‘Open Day’ pass for an unlimited number of sessions – available on a first-come, first-served basis – that can be redeemed at Al Ain Raceway any time between December 16 to January 14.
On Friday 15 January, all drivers will convene at Al Ain Raceway for a 30-minute assessment where qualified instructors from the circuit and PRODRIVE will evaluate their abilities and responses to aspects such as safety, punctuality, speed and the attention paid to rules and regulations. Following the assessment day, the expected 200-250 driver field will be trimmed to a final line-up of 100-125, who will contest three race weekends on Friday 5, 19 and 26 February.
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