After starting off their 2013 racing season at the World Karting Association (WKA) Daytona Kartweek in late December, d’Orlando Racing (DRC Inc.) pilots Michael and Nicholas d’Orlando made some major changes before the start of the ultra-competitive and popular Formula Kart Productions Florida Winter Tour (FWT). Heading to the Palm Beach International Raceway (PBIR) in Jupiter, Florida for back-to-back weekends in both the Formula Kart and Rotax classes, the duo was seen running under the direction of new karting team, Koene USA.
“We are excited to have both d’Orlando brothers compete under our new operation,” stated Koene USA co-owner Mike Maurini. “Michael and Nicholas will run with Koene USA, under the direction of Martijn Koene and myself for the 2013 season. I will be working with Michael, while Adam Johnson will continue to work with Nicholas and Martijn will overseas team operations.”
The first outing with their new team proved successful for DRC Inc., as they began their 2013 FWT campaign running the Vortex TaG Cadet category during the Formula Kart opening weekend. Battling against a huge field of 38 competitors, Michael showed speed to run at the front of the pack. Clocking second quick in the morning qualifying session for round two, the eldest d’Orlando brother showed consistency throughout the day posting fourth and third in the two heats. Battling for the race win in the day’s final, Michael would get on the brakes hard entering the first complex of corners, locking up the rear wheels and shutting off his Mini Rok powerplant with a mere three laps remaining. Able to get restarted, the rising talent missed out on the win but mustered a fourth place result to finish just off the podium. Younger brother Nicholas showed constant improvement throughout the weekend finding more and more speed each and every outing. Utilizing data analysis and driver coaching from the trio of Maurini, Koene and Johnson, Michael and Nicholas were confident in their abilities and equipment when they hit the track.
“Making a switch in programs as quickly as we did can typically result in less than adequate results,” expressed Sherri d’Orlando. “Mike and Martijn were able to quickly put something in place for us and with the help of Adam, things ran well the first weekend. Looking forward to the future, we have set goals for both Michael and Nicholas that begin in a few weeks time in Homestead.”
Switching gears to the Rotax category for the PBIR rounds the following weekend, Michael would take on the competitive Rotax Mini Max class while Nicholas would compete in the youngest Rotax class, Micro Max. Struggling slightly to come to grips with the D1 tire, as well as having to overcome a deluge during Saturday’s events, DRC Inc. and Koene USA made most of their weekend to become more acquainted with one another and set goals for races to come.
“Being reactive to the issues during the Rotax weekend, Koene USA will schedule extra testing between the Homestead TaG and Rotax weekends to better come to grips with kart set-up and driving style with the harder compound tire,” continued Maurini.
Despite a few setbacks, Michael was able to show great strides during racing action. Battling back from a disqualification in Saturday’s prefinal, Michael drove from last (34th) on the grid during deplorable rain conditions to finish just outside the top-15. Sunday, under unfortunate miscommunication, Michael would see his qualifying time disallowed and was again forced to work from the tail of the field. Battling for the 13th position on the final circuit before having to take evasive action dropped him to 21st in the prefinal. Able to make up some ground in the days main event, Michael worked his way to a 16th place result. Nicholas would also make gains in the Micro Max category, working to a 12th place finish on Saturday in the rain and adding another top-15 result on Sunday after finishing 14th for the day.
Michael and Nicholas will be back on track for the next doubleheader FWT event, set to take place at the Homestead Karting Complex located on the grounds of the Homestead-Miami Speedway. Both will see action in the Vortex TaG Cadet class Febraury 16-17 before again making the switch to Rotax February 22-24. DRC Inc will run the remainder of the season with Koene USA, and will finish out the Florida Winter Tour before returning to WKA Man Cup action. The team and drivers are also set to compete at the United States Rotax Grand Nationals and Canadian Karting Championships before wrapping up the year at the SKUSA SuperNationals.
For more information on Michael or Nicholas d’Orlando, along with partnership opportunities, please visit www.dorlandoracing.com. Be sure to follow Michael and Nicholas on Facebook (Michael d’Orlando Racing or Nicholas d’Orlando Racing) and Twitter (@dorlandoracing) to stay up to date on news, information, photos and results.