• Text & Interview: Guillaume Alvarez
  • Photos: BRP-Rotax / Birel Art / KSP

From 2020, the 125 DD2 MAX category will make mandatory the use of the CIK-FIA homologated rear bumper for all the Rotax MAX events/series listed in the sporting calendar approved by the International Karting Commission. This decision doesn’t concern the competitions on the national level where both versions of the rear bumper – homologated CIK-FIA and non-homologated Rotax Rear Wheel Protection System – will still be permitted as well as in international events/series not listed on the FIA Karting Calendar.

This decision is the most recent one taken by Rotax following previous amendments in their regulation book concerning tires and engines. “This decision goes back to the end of 2018 when the CIK-FIA stated that their international calendar would only include racing events in accordance with their homologations, which came as a little surprise to us,” explains Helmut Voglsam, Sales Supervisor for BRP-Rotax. “This year, we requested the International Karting Commission for the Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals to be listed in the CIK-FIA sporting calendar but they refused because we only had the MOJO D2 tire in accordance with their rulebook. This wasn’t enough as they wanted us to use either Bridgestone or Vega compounds for the event but it wasn’t possible.”

“So, we had a meeting with the CIK-FIA to discuss what are the requirements for Rotax to be as much as possible in line with their international regulation. “First, we have proceeded to the complete homologation of the MOJO tire range and the International Karting Commission will announce soon which manufacturers have passed it. We assume that MOJO has done it as we had completed in advance endurance and laboratory tests with positive feedback.”

“The engine is another story because the current Rotax MAX material is not CIK-FIA homologated as it doesn’t comply with the homologation requirements for either OK or KZ. So, we sent the technical specifications to the CIK and as long as the performances in each category matches the typical CIK format, let’s say a certain level for the Junior class, another for the Senior and so on, they have confirmed us that our current engine range is in line with their understanding of performance level.”

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“Finally, to complete the CIK requirements, we introduced this change in the rear bumper regulation. For the past few years, we’ve been using the Rotax Rear Wheel Protection System for the DD2 category. We still think it’s a smart solution but it doesn’t fit the CIK-FIA requirements. At the beginning of 2019, we had a meeting with the main chassis manufacturers to inform them of the upcoming change of regulation stating that the CIK-FIA homologated rear bumper would become mandatory for all the DD2 chassis willing to participate in an event listed in the International calendar like the Euro Trophy of the Grand Finals. Their feedback was globally positive, they are pretty happy to bring a new chassis type on the market.”

It turns out that adopting the CIK-FIA homologated version of the rear bumper for this particular class is not without advantages on the technical side. “To be able to fit the Rotax Rear Wheel Protection System, you actually need more work and the chassis requires more components like extra pulls or support pieces at the bottom. So, using a simpler version of the bumper is easier. Everyone agreed except manufacturers whose DD2 chassis isn’t based on the KZ, so they find themselves at the moment a little bit limited as they are not able to use their chassis for international events.”

“After analyzing how the current market is split, we noticed that the biggest part of all chassis, at least 80%, are being used for national events and around 20% for both national and international competitions. Manufacturers asked about the validity of their chassis but these are not getting obsolete for national races.”

“The other version of the bumper is still valid but on the international level, manufacturers will have to use a chassis in line with this new CIK-FIA requirement. As the majority of our customers replace their chassis at least once a year, they should be prepared to invest in a new material fulfilling those requirements if they intend to compete in international events listed on the CIK-FIA calendar. Eventually, it doesn’t change much because these chassis are, in 90% of cases, KZ-formatted models that the manufacturers have homologated many times in the past.”

“We definitely see that it brings more credibility to Rotax to have its major events listed on the CIK-FIA calendar and our goal is to prove to our customers that we are able to fulfill CIK-FIA technical requirements,” concludes Helmut Voglsam.

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