A new era is set to begin for the
Challenge of the Americas, entering its ninth season. The premier winter karting series on the left coast is set to get 2016 underway in just over a month when the program heads to the Musselman Honda Circuit on January 29-31 in Tucson, Arizona. Planning and organization for the season is in full swing, with series owner and promoter Andy Seesemann hard at work putting all the details together for another exciting winter season for teams and competitors along the western half of North America. Continuing with the international Rotax Max Challenge competition, the new year brings in Shifter Senior and Shifter Masters categories to help coincide the program with the growing US Open format.
The Challenge of the Americas program continues to be an international series for Rotax Max Challenge competitors, as it has since the beginning. Micro Max, Mini Max, Junior Max, Senior Max and Masters Max fill out the class roster utilizing the new Rotax EVO engines. 2016 marks the removal of the DD2 and DD2 Masters divisions. Replacing those two categories will be a Shifter Senior and Shifter Masters race group following the success of the new US Open format combining the two groups together on the national scene.
“The quality of competition in the Rotax divisions here at the Challenge of the Americas is among the best in North America,” added series owner and promoter Andy Seesemann. “Our series sent four drivers to compete at the Rotax Grand Finals in Portugal, and was led by a runner-up finish in Senior Max by our 2015 champion Luke Selliken. His finish and the results of all the other United States drivers gave the USA the Nations Cup for only the second time in event history. It was exciting to be part of that, and to help develop the future champions of our sport here at the Challenge.”
“I am excited to offer two Shifter classes at the Challenge of the Americas this year. Shifter pilots have been asking us to do this for a while and now is the right time to make these additions. We will have a Shifter Senior class at 385lbs and a Shifter Masters class at 405lbs. They will run on the very popular MG FZ ‘Yellow’ tire and utilize VP C12 fuel with Motul oil. This will put us in line with the US Open class structure and give those drivers a chance to compete during the winter months.”
Registration for the 2016 Challenge of the Americas program is now open for all three events on the schedule. Head over to the Registration section of the COTA website for more information. The first driver to enter for the 2016 program was Matthew Taskinen from Alberta, Canada. The Junior Max driver is receiving a free series t-shirt for registering first head of what is expected to be another stout list of drivers in 2016.
Racing venues remain the same from 2015 to 2016. Opening weekend of the Challenge of the Americas remains at the Musselman Honda Circuit in Tucson at the end of January. The second stop keeps the program in the state of Arizona, traveling to the Phoenix Kart Racing Association in Glendale the final weekend in February. The finale at Simraceway Performance Karting Center in the wine country of Sonoma, California is scheduled to the first weekend in April, expected to see a number of competitors from all over the country as the site of the 2016 United States Rotax Grand Nationals, slated for the first week of August.
Prize structure for the 2016 continues to put the Challenge of the Americas as the most generous and prestigious programs in North America. The headline prizes include a 2016 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals ticket to the Senior, Junior and Masters Max champions. The championship driver in the Mini and Micro Max divisions earn a free entry to the US Rotax Grand Nationals, with the two Shifter champions earning an entry to the US Open finale in Las Vegas.
Rule structure continues to be consistent with Challenge of the Americas past, with the Rotax rules established by December 1 prior to the start of the season as the guidelines followed for the series. Rotax engine rules will be operated under what was utilized for most of 2015 for the 2016 COTA program. Series director Andy Seesemann has been assured that Rotax competitors racing at the opening round of the Challenge in Tucson will receive the new wiring harness that Rotax is developing to distribute to existing customers in early 2016.
“As has been in years past, new Rotax rules do not go into effect until after the Challenge of the Americas and the FWT,” stated Seesemann. “This means that we will follow the 2015 Rotax Technical rules with a small exception or two. We will allow the new wiring harness as it represents an improvement in quality and not performance. One hundred harnesses were handed out to Rotax competitors at the US Open finale at the Rio in Las Vegas and I have been assured that there will be a similar program in place for our Rotax competitors in Tucson.”
“The two biggest questions that have come up regarding the rules has been about ‘numbered’ Rotax cylinders and the Shifter class engine rules. For Rotax, ‘numbered’ cylinders are legal as defined within the 2015 Technical Regulations, which are posted on our site. Basically, they are still legal in Junior Rotax, Senior Rotax and Masters Rotax until the 2016 rules take effect, which is after the series is done. As far as the Shifter rules go, we are following the US Open engine rules. These are 99% in common with other groups’ structure across the country. The US Open format simply allow for additional choices in some items, such as the exhaust pipe and timing plate. These rules are also posted on the rotaxchallenge.com website.”
Event information and entry to the 2016 Challenge of the Americas program, along with all the information you need to be part of the premier winter program on the left coast is available at rotaxchallenge.com. Continue to visit the website for updates, and find more information or follow them on Facebook.
2016 Challenge of the Americas Schedule
January 29-31: Musselman Honda Circuit – Tucson, Arizona
February 26-28: Phoenix Kart Racing Association – Glendale, Arizona
April 1-3: Simraceway Performance Karting Center – Sonoma, California