This weekend the 2014 Florida Winter Tour officially gets underway. While the very popular winter karting series in the sunny southern US state is more known for its Rotax Max competition, the other half of it’s operation hits the track this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway with the Formula Kart classes. The FK weekend has faded away at the hands of the Rotax weekend, but it has shown a slight resurgence over the past couple years with solid numbers in the TaG categories, specifically TaG Cadet where some of the youngest racers in the world go head to head.
From the pre-registration listing, no less than 14 Canadians will take part this weekend. Some using it as a chance to prepare for next weekend, while some are seeking class championships. While it is known that more drivers will register on site in Homestead, the already healthy dose of Canadians is a nice sight to see at such an international event.
Five drivers will fly the maple leaf in TaG Cadet, where drivers all utilize the Vortex Mini-Rok engine platform. One thing TaG cadet has shown over the past few seasons at the FWT is the comparison between Micro-Max and Mini-Max competitors. Putting both age groups together has really created some great racing and helped advance drivers in both categories with some new faces to race against.
Matthew Latifi finished off his 2013 FWT TaG Cadet campaign with a victory and we are sure he will be looking for more this year. Lachlan Defrancesco, who now calls Fort Lauderdale home, is back racing full time and has been preparing for his assault on the Florida Winter Tour with Octane Sports Development’s Nick Mitchell. Then we have the d’Orlando brothers, Nicholas and Michael. Both were very fast at the SKUSA SuperNationals only two short weeks ago and capping off the Canadian contingent is Matthew Barry, the youngster who raced in both Micro and Mini-Max last season in Canada.
All five drivers have the potential for victory and we can’t wait to see how they do on track this weekend.
In TaG Junior there is a trio of Canadians. Reigning Canadian Champion Gianfranco Mazzaferro is set for another Florida Winter Tour. After an excellent rookie season, we have our eyes on him to make waves in 2014. Returning from Europe where he competed with the worlds best in the KFJ category, Montreal native Kami Laliberte will hit the track as well as Canadian Mini-Max Vice-Champion Roman DeAngelis, who makes his step up to Junior this year.
Zachary Claman DeMelo is the lone Canadian in TaG Senior so far, as is Indy Lights pilot Matthew Di Leo in Stock Moto Shifter. The father and son duo of Dominic and Michel LeGrand has them racing in Open Shifter and Masters Shifter.
Finally, Briggs & Stratton Senior is making it’s debut at the FWT this weekend and both Kevin King and Mathieu Demers are registered to compete.
Although we will not be trackside this weekend in Homestead, we will still have daily updates on our Canadian contingent.