While the official CIK-FIA report concentrated on the ‘GP1’ class for OK engines, Rotax came out on top of the GP2 class for TaG engined karts at the 24 Hours of Karting Le Mans.
All three teams on the GP2 podium at the demanding 24 Hours of Karting in France were more than confident in the performance and reliability of their Rotax 125 MAX, completing over 2000km during this most gruelling race using only one engine.
RM Concept (FA Kart/Rotax) took the deserving victory with a two-lap lead over their closest rivals at the chequered flag, while Malevaut Sport (Tony Kart/Rotax) and Team Belinois Jac-Kart (Sodikart/Rotax) fought it out for the remaining steps on the podium – both within the same lap after 24 hours of extremely close racing.
The winning drivers in the #60 entry were Gaël Moreau, Sacha Hebrard, Jonas Venier and Jacques Missimilly, whose compatibility and consistency proved to be another key factor that contributed to their successful campaign in securing the 2018 title.
The French team RM Concept also won the Ladies classification in the #67 kart (FA Kart/Rotax) all-girl team of Lydie Valichon, Léna Buhler, Caroline Martel and Léonie Claude competing in their third 24 Hours of Karting Le Mans together.
This is the 33rd annual running of the iconic karting endurance event hosted by the impressive 1,384 metre Le Mans Karting International Circuit, organised by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) and for the past three years in collaboration with the CIK-FIA as the FIA Karting Endurance Championship. With a field of 32 teams contesting the event, the GP2 class had 18 entries, the majority of which were Rotax.
The winning facts:
- The winning Rotax MAX engine of RM Concept was the 2018 model, rebuilt before the event and used from qualifying through until the end of the race
- Second place Malevaut Sport chose to use a new MAX out of the box with four hours driving time before the 24 hour race, without any change during the event
- Team Belinois Jac-Kart in P3 opted for a used MAX engine prepared before the event that took them from start to finish without any issues
What did the RM Concept winning kart change?
- 32 driver changes – maximum 45 minutes each session
- Every 4 hours – tyres & battery
- Every 10 hours – brake pads
- After 12 hours – chain
- + 250 Litres of petrol
- + chain lube
Some interesting facts:
- GP2 karts using the Rotax MAX engine race according to the Rotax Max Challenge regulations, with the exception of an extension to the battery cables
- Changes can be made prior to the event to various components to reduce the pit-stop time (for example, easy release system for replacing fuel tank, etc.)
- During the night, the karts must run with a light on the front and on the back
- Engine change during the race if needed takes approximately 30 seconds
- Laptime difference between GP1 (OK) and GP2 (Rotax) is about 1 second
- Minimum weight of GP1 is 152kg & GP2 is 160kg
Morgan Riche, team manager RM Concept – “All the team and myself are really proud of this result! This victory is the result of many long months of preparation. Winning the 24 hours of Karting Le Mans was a goal for our team; it was a technical challenge, but also a human adventure.”
“This year, our men’s team consisted of 4 drivers, 8 mechanics, 1 engine specialist, 4 attendance people, 2 strategic guys and 1 team manager. We are very satisfied with the quality of our material, the association of FA Kart from the OTK group and the Rotax engine that was really reliable.
“We did the 24 hours without any engine change. We used the same engine from the qualification until the end of the race and the performance of the engine was constant during the entire race. After checking the engine at the finish, we saw that everything was intact; proving the quality of the Rotax MAX engine. It’s possible to take the engine to another race now because everything is running perfectly. Also, we were really satisfied to find the same quality in each Rotax engine on track. During the race, the battles for the lead were so close thanks to this equality.
“Concerning the girls’ team, this year the 4 lady drivers were competing for the third time in the 24 Hours and the goal was to finish in the top 5. However, they had some mechanical issues and the cold overnight temperatures of around 3°C didn’t allow them to achieve their target.”
“Jacques Missimilly, team driver RM Concept – “The 24 Hours of Karting Le Mans is a fabulous race! Driving through the night is such an incredible feeling and it’s great to compete with world champions like Paulo De Conto. The circuit is really nice and the infrastructure is new, so it’s a perfect location for racing. Like most of the GP2 teams, we use a Rotax MAX because they are more reliable and compared to the GP1 OK class, we’re only about one second off their laptimes.”
“To be prepared, we tested together before the weekend and it helps that there’s a lot of free practice in the two days before the actual race. Each team member has their own task which they train for. This race is so fantastic because it’s a mix of the preparation of the kart, the driver and also the team, and the team has 24 hours to make a result thanks to this preparation. I only slept about 30 minutes though the night because it’s difficult not to think about the race and I’m a bit tired now after it’s all over… but, it’s no problem as the victory is the just best thing!”