With the season’s biggest Rotax event looming closer and closer, drivers from around the world converge on the GoPro Motorplex this weekend in Mooresville, North Carolina, USA for the Rotax Pan American Challenge. The Pan Am is the final event of the year for racers to qualify for the prestigious Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals, held this year in Valencia, Spain, while those who already have their ticket are using the event to simply continue their preparation for the big event.
The beautiful circuit in Mooresville is a near duplicate of the Parma circuit from Italy and provides excellent racing and a great challenge to drivers. In the heart of NASCAR country, many stock car superstars use the facility as a training ground and although none of them will be attendance this weekend, many of those who are racing have career ambitions of making it North Americas most competitive racing series.
Over 120 drivers have pre-entered for this weekends event, including a solid contingent from Canada. The likes of Quebec’s Pier-Luc Ouellette (KMS/Birel) and Alessandro Bizzotto (PSL/CRG), Ontario’s Marco Signoretti (Energy Kart Canada/Energy Kart), and Elvis Stojko (Prime/Maranello), and British Columbia’s Kellen Ritter (BBR/Kosmic) hope to extend their season with a victory this weekend and an invitation to join Team Canada in Spain. Max Preston (Goodwood/Intrepid), Russell Boyle (Goodwood/Intrepid), Dante Lerra (Energy Kart Canada/Energy Kart) and John Cariati (Goodwood/Intrepid) are also in attendance to wrap up their season.
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Also competing this weekend include Rotax Team Canada members Zachary Claman DeMelo (Goodwood-ZCD/Intrepid), Samuel Lupien (SH Racing/FA Kart), Bryce Choquer (BBR/Kosmic) and Fred Woodley (Prime/Maranello). A win by any of these four will send the Grand Finals invitation back home to Canada and add another Canadian driver to the team. Ben Cooper (KMS/Birel) will also step back into a kart this week as the three-time Rotax Grand Finals champion prepares for Spain after clinching his second Rotax Euro Challenge title earlier this year.
After a very busy season in England this summer, Matthew Latifi (Ferrolati Corse/TonyKart) returns to his home continent to compete this weekend. Latifi was on the Micro-Max podium at last years Pan Am event in New Orleans, but now competes in the Mini-Max division. He should be a threat for the podium once again. Latifi is joined in the Mini-Max division by three half-Canadians as Lachlan Defrancesco (BENIK Kart) along with Nicholas and Michael d’Orlando (KoeneUSA/TonyKart) look to close out their very successful seasons with a Pan Am victory.
The lone Canadian driver in Micro-Max this weekend is coming off of his first major victory. Justin Arseneau (PSL/CRG) closed out his Eastern Canadian Karting Championship season with a win in Mont-Tremblant and he is carrying that momentum into Mooresville.
Practice kicks off the event on Wednesday and Thursday. Friday will feature qualifying and the first round of heat races. Saturday includes the second and third round of heat races for all classes along with any Last Chance Races, if necessary, before Sundays main events.
CKN will be trackside for the event starting Thursday. Social media updates will be posted often, so be sure to monitor the CKN Social Feed to keep up to date on all the action from North Carolina.