Best of 2019: Franco Drudi, TM Racing

from FIA Karting

The Italian brand TM Racing won several major titles in 2019 with its new KZ-R1 engine, homologated since 1st January. During the FIA Karting Competitions, the KZ World Championship and European Championship were added to TM Racing’s long list of successes, as well as the two major KZ2 Competitions, the International Super Cup and the European Championship. The famous Pesaro manufacturer also became Junior World Vice-Champion and European Vice-Champion in OK in addition to demonstrating the reliability of OK engines during the Endurance Championship.

Franco Drudi has been responsible for the development of TM Racing engines in karting for some thirty years, along with his team.

FRANCO DRUDI, WAS 2019 A SATISFYING SEASON FOR TM RACING?

Overall, it was a good year, not exceptional, but good. Unfortunately, we lacked success in OK and OK-Junior, while our performance level was good. In the end, we can’t complain! We won everything in KZ and our customers won in KZ2, two categories in which we still have a significant share of the market.

“TM Racing is very proud to see private teams win with its engines.”

WHICH DIRECTION DID TM RACING FOLLOW IN DEVELOPING THE KZ-R1?

We first thought about making the operation of our engines easy for our customers, who are mainly teams and private tuners. The performance of our previous model was excellent, so we were able to focus on simplifying its implementation, for example in terms of fuel. TM Racing is very proud to see private teams win with its engines.

DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF AN ENGINE TUNER?

Absolutely not! Although TM Racing is directly present in racing, it is to develop its products. We only power serious teams in KZ. Developing the equipment is the raison d’être of this category and that is why it is essential. Some independent tuners can do as well or even better than us by working on our KZ2 engines. This is perfectly normal and we are happy about it. I don’t prepare a KZ engine like a tuner would. I develop and test parts that can go into production in the future, which is totally different.

“The KZ category is essential to develop the equipment.”

HAVE YOU BEEN INVOLVED IN THE NEW CIK-FIA MINI CLASS?

There are some essential points to consider. First of all, TM Racing is still dedicated to the construction of homologated engines. Competition is our reason for living and we are not interested in the brand cup niche. Secondly, 60 Mini is a category in which we are very successful in several countries. So, of course, we homologated a Mini engine with the CIK-FIA from our proven base. Now, we think it would be good for karting if all ASNs followed this new rule instead of sometimes choosing engines specific to their country.

HOW IMPORTANT IS THE FIA KARTING ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP FOR YOU?

It’s a different challenge, but winning the 24 Hours Karting is very satisfying for an engine manufacturer. We used the same OK engines as in sprint. Few people realise how reliable they are. At Le Mans, we did runs from six to eight hours on average and the last engine ran from 6:00 in the morning until the finish at 3:00 pm.

FINALLY, WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THIS FIRST SEASON WITH NO ENGINE STARTS IN THE PADDOCK?

I’m very glad! It’s much more pleasant for everyone. I must admit that for this to be perfect, it will be good to be able to test the engines for a short while at the very beginning of the day, just before the warm-up, to check that everything is in order and not risk any problems going on to the track. But this remains an excellent decision by the CIK-FIA.

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