After two weeks of winter karting intensity we have finally been able to take a break and catch our breathe following the opening segment of the 2015 Florida Winter Tour, the first hosted by the MaxSpeed Group after acquiring the series in 2014 from Formula Kart Productions and long time series owner Bill Wright.
While the location, weather and time of year didn’t change, the vibe and feeling in the paddock of the new Florida Winter Tour was much different under the MaxSpeed ownership. Bill Wright did an incredible job developing the FWT into what it is today, but the clean new look FWT by Richard Boisclair and his crew was an exciting breathe of fresh air into a series still with tons of future potential.
One of the most noticeable items on display was the paddock morale. In years past the FWT felt ridiculously drawn out and come race day many were ready to just simply go home. But even up until Sunday evening the morale was very high at Homestead and a welcome feeling was there from start of the FWT ROK Cup all the way to the trophy presentations on Sunday of the FWT Rotax Max Challenge. We must also be mention the ease and simplicity that was found in the registration tent. Always an issue in the old FWT, a fully staffed and organized registration office rarely saw lineups and was able to answer any questions when they were asked without interrupting another customer. This may have been one of the most talked about items we heard all weekend.
With the transition came the new FWT ROK Cup in replacement to the Formula Kart weekend. Still featuring a similar class structure of the FK weekend, with the exception of all classes now being on a Vortex ROK power plant. For it’s debut weekend to feature more than 150 drivers is a success in it’s own, but for the most part everyone in attendance was excited about the package as well. OTK North America reps were present and willing to help in all categories and moving forward to round two in Orlando we anticipate to see the numbers grow even higher, making this a very smart move by the MaxSpeed Group.
Continuing their tradition of hosting a welcome dinner at each event they run, MaxSpeed Group employees personally thanked those who stopped by on both weekends for the Friday evening meals, at no cost to those in attendance. This kind gesture was also very welcomed by everyone in attendance and helped slow down the event for a few hours, allowing many of the younger drivers to partake in a game of soccer with their new friends and the adults to kick back and relax with a beverage or two before things got really serious.
Following the Friday evening dinners, the elevated serving platform turned into a VIP viewing area, giving special guests a covered place to take in the racing action on both weekends. The event was also free to spectators and family members to watch and take part in. Paying a significant fee just to watch has become an issue at many tracks and events over the years, but MaxSpeed has made it important to ensure everyone can come to their races and the free spectator wristbands were another very welcome topic of discussion in Homestead.
One down, two to go. We are already looking forward to the next stop in Orlando, Florida as the FWT invades the Orlando Karting Centre from February 20 to March 1.