Interview: Luca Corberi, South Garda Karting

from FIA Karting

Within the family business, South Garda Karting, founded by his parents, Luca Corberi takes an increasingly important place in the management of the Lonato circuit (ITA). The young Italian recently ended his sporting career that included a great victory at the KF3 World Cup in 2012.

Ideally located in the north of Italy near Lake Garda and not far from the main kart factories, Lonato has become the heart of kart racing. Several major international teams have set up their bases nearby to carry out testing throughout the year. After its return to the FIA Karting calendar in 2018, the South Garda Karting circuit was the setting for a particularly successful FIA Karting World Championship – KZ in 2019.

At the beginning of June 2020 Luca Corberi speaks about the gradual resumption of sporting activity after the long interruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

LUCA, HOW DID THE SHUTDOWN GO?

We are in a region that has been heavily affected by the virus, close to the epicentre of the infection in Italy. The risk was high and we had to be very careful. The track closed in mid-March just after the last WSK event. There was a long period of uncertainty awaiting the government’s decisions.

As the infection rate has decreased considerably, we have been allowed by the ACI, our ASN, to reopen the track since 8th May. In Italy everything seems to be back to normal and people don’t seem to be afraid. Nevertheless, I think we have to remain cautious because the virus is still present. We will see if the situation improves sustainably.

WHAT WERE THE CONSTRAINTS FOR THE REOPENING?

At the moment it’s just competition training. We have put strict measures in place to welcome drivers back to our track. They must first register on our website and fill in a complete form. We need to know the names of the people present on the circuit at all times in order to be able to respond to any requests from the authorities.

At the start, we were able to host 25 karts at a time, which is not many considering the size of our facilities. Each driver can be accompanied by a maximum of two people. At the entrance of the circuit, we check that the form has been filled in correctly and we test the body temperature of each driver.

On site, the measures we have to take mainly concern the respect of distances between people and the wearing of masks. On the whole, everything goes well. Sometimes people forget to wear the mask and come closer to the others to talk to them, but it’s not out of ill will, it’s just that you have to get into new habits.

The newer rules require us to reserve a space of 8m by 6m per driver in the paddock, which allows us to accept more drivers thanks to the large surface area we have available. For the moment, the attendance is mainly Italian, many foreign teams that usually come to the track can’t move around easily yet. We can see, however, that the rules are becoming more flexible on this side too.

At the end of May we were able to resume the rental of leisure karts. The rules are not the same as for racing because they do not depend on the federation, but directly on the government. This is a very important activity for South Garda Karting and it increases the financial strength of our company. The summer is a crucial period thanks to the many people who usually come to the Lake Garda region on holiday to have fun any way they can. The share of foreign tourists coming from Germany, Holland and France is very important and I think we will be able to count on their presence this year.

WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES FOR THE ORGANISATION OF RACES?

Competition is due to resume in July. The WSK has announced that it is coming to finish the Super Master Series from 14th to 18th July. We are still waiting for the official response from the ACI. For us, our race programme will be considerably reduced compared to previous years. It will not be possible for us to replace the races that could not take place. The calendar will be very tight and it will not be easy to find dates that do not compete with other events. 

We are delighted at the idea of hosting the FIA Karting World Championship – KZ again. The 2020 edition will probably not be as remarkable as last year’s, but we will do our best to make it a successful event. It will depend on the investment we are able to make and the number of participants who will be able to come. Of course, there will be no question of filling the grandstand with spectators as in 2019. We don’t even know if the authorities will allow the public to attend, but the important thing is that the event can take place.

I would like to have more answers to all the questions that arise, but I understand that the situation is still difficult for the various authorities. Here in Lonato, we can’t complain, other circuits must have more difficulties than us. For example, we were lucky enough to be able to organise two big races at the very beginning of the year. We are standing ready, with confidence and determination, to face the new situations that the future holds in store for us.

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