Each year, CRG owner Giancarlo Tinini provides the karting media with an open letter summarising the company’s year from a racing and commercial perspective, plus issues the sport is facing. Here’s the 2023 edition.
The first question obviously concerns the sporting balance of the competitive season that has just ended:
“International races, as you know, are an important showcase and testing ground from a technical point of view for the chassis that we market through our sales network in the national markets and in the various single-brand trophies. As regards the 2023 analysis, we cannot but be satisfied, as we were competitive in all the most important categories. In the two most important FIA European Championships we won races, took pole positions and finished as vice champions, both in KZ with Jeremy Iglesias and in OK with Gabriel Gomez. We have also obtained the title of vice champions in the FIA World Championship KZ with Viktor Gustafsson and we could have won the world title OK if, as is known, there had been no contact between Gomez and Turney, so I would say that the final balance of the results obtained in the international races is very positive. Alongside these results, we also added excellent performances in the Champions of the Future and in the WSK races, where we also won with the Black Mirror chassis in the MINI category, which has important relevance in terms of practitioners and the market.
Talking about the sporting season, special thanks go to our motoring partners: Gianfranco Galiffa for the TM engines of the KZ classes, to Nicola Boscaini for the Iame engines of the OK category, to Jiří Machač for the TM engines of the OK Junior and to Giovanni Salemi for the MINI Kart. Everyone has done invaluable work alongside us, always in perfect synergy with our technical staff sharing common objectives. Returning to the results obtained on the track by the CRG chassis, I must also congratulate the many of our partner teams who have won and obtained important results in the National Championships, from Brazil to France, just as we have had a very positive season also with regards to technical partnerships which we have been carrying out for years with the Maranello, DR and GP Racing companies”.
What expectations do you have for 2024 from a sporting point of view?
“Every year the objectives for our racing team are the same: to carry out the technical development tasks of our products with regards to chassis and accessories, as well as to promote our brand internationally. Both of these objectives are achieved with the results, therefore the technical structure, the drivers and the investments we make are all oriented in this direction. In January we will present our line-up as regards the drivers, where we will have almost a complete confirmation of the drivers in KZ, while main changes will be in the OK and OK Junior categories. We also announced a change at the top of the organization chart of our racing team, saying goodbye to Andrea Todisco, who will take on new professional commitments and promoting Brandon Nilsson and Natalia Balbo as team managers. We have made an unusual choice, but we believe it will be functional, as Brandon and Natalia’s profiles are very complementary and will be able to divide in the best way the management responsibilities of a complex structure such as the racing department of a manufacturer.
In our 2024 programs we have also confirmed a structure dedicated to the MINI category and in the last few days we have presented a racing team also in support of our historic brand Kalì Kart. Following the saying “you don’t change a team that wins”, we have also have confirmed all the technical collaborations on the motorsport front. Outside of our racing team, I expect a commercial and sporting return from the work of our external teams and from the drivers who use our chassis in the National Championships and Brand Trophies, as they will be able to capitalize on the development work done this year, which saw our chassis competitive in all categories and with all types of tires used”.
Which are the points that work and which should be improved in current international karting?
“I address this issue immediately by expressing concern about the tires that have been chosen by the FIA for the International OK and OK Junior categories. The feeling we have is that financial interests have been put before technical ones and we will start the season without having enough data and guarantees. Personally I didn’t even appreciate the calendar of the FIA races, which involve expensive travel and in countries where the ASNs don’t support the international categories.
That said, the big problem of international karting, but equally also of national championships, remains costs. It is frustrating to always have to repeat the same concepts, but even in this case we must take note that the Federations (National and International) have not yet devised any concrete policy and solution on these problems. I can see positive signs in the new OKN engines, but be aware that everything will be useless if a we introduce a simplified and potentially economical category, but then we organize races over 5 days, because the costs of the mechanic and travel would nullify any savings”.
From a commercial point of view, what balance do you draw for 2023?
“This year we have recorded an increase in business volumes and, above all, we have pursued and intensified our diversification strategies in the various market segments. CRG is known throughout the world for its range of Racing chassis and for its sporting palmares in the international field, but if racing production remains our core business, at the same time we are constantly growing in market-share also in the Rental Kart and Promotional Kart segments. This year we have had a growing racing season and commercial results also in the North America, where we operate with a dedicated import company and customer service, just as we have signed potentially very interesting collaborations such as the supply of chassis to the new Karting Champion League series”.
What are your expectations for next year?
“Every start of the season represents a new challenge and the challenges, whether technical or sporting, are part of our DNA. We always look to the future with great optimism, trying to capitalize on our experiences to always raise the bar of our results We have many active projects in the racing segment, constant projects to improve the quality of production processes and many initiatives to continue to grow in the promotional and rental sectors as well”.
What do you think are the key points of CRG’s success?
“When I meet customers or our main technical partners, I often say that the CRG brand has been built over the years through the seriousness, consistency and quality of the products that we have always put at the center of our projects. These values are recognized by us and are highly appreciated by the market”.
CRG is also very active in the Rental segment. What assessment do you make of your activities and what prospects do you have for the future?
“The Rental Kart sector is very important for us, both from a commercial point of view, as it is numerically very significant if we think about the number of tracks located in the world, and because it represents a gateway to our sport for many enthusiasts. For these reasons, we have been present in this market segment with high quality karts for many years now, both to offer safety and reliability to track managers and to guarantee a rewarding driving experience for their customers. I believe that our range of Rental Karts is among the most complete on the market and satisfies all needs, from the MINI Kart to the Senior 4t and electric models. Like quality, a distinctive sign of CRG is the design which, even in this sector, is highly appreciated. In recent years we have also successfully intensified the events linked to our Rental Karts, such as the 24 Hours Karting and the World Contest, with the aim of making our karts more known to enthusiasts of this sector and sharing promotional initiatives with our partner tracks”.
What do you wish all karting enthusiasts?
“First of all to have fun. For this reason I have repeatedly spoken out against the extremism that younger kids and their families already have to face in MINI Kart, even putting school in the background. Also those who are adults and cannot racing at an international level must find contexts within budget and time to be able to practice karting. We believe we are doing our part in this direction by offering enthusiasts various levels and experiences on the track, from professional races to promotional events, such as the Briggs Championship and Endurance or Sprint races with Rental Karts. With a bit of presumption, we think that anyone who is passionate about engines and karting in particular, with CRG can find a partner capable of satisfying his/her needs”.