VALCOURT, QUEBEC – June 7,2013 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – In 2013, BRP (TSX:DOO) celebrates 30 years of Rotax kart engines by bringing the Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals to North America for the first time in its history. This year, the 2013 Grand Finals will take place November 13 to 16, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.—a world premiere and a new chapter in the 14-year history of the Rotax MAX Challenge. Some 300 participants are expected to attend.
“Our 30-year story is inspired and driven by performance and passion,” said Gerd Ohrnberger, vice-president and general manager of BRP’s Product Engineering and Manufacturing Operations division.”The development of innovative technologies that offer unique performances is the result.”
Rotax engines have made history as the centrepieces of legendary powersports vehicles and set new standards with their high energy efficiency and low emission. These are the engines that are used at the international Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals, a BRP-operated kart racing event in which drivers aged 13 years and older compete and gain racing experience. The Rotax engines that have moved the powersports world for three decades continue to combine emotion and performance in a historically unique way.
With over 75,000 Rotax MAX engines sold over a 15-year period, BRP is a global market leader in the kart sports market. The Rotax MAX Challenge is the biggest and fastest growing kart racing series in the world today with over 15,000 active drivers and running in more than 50 countries.
Come and meet two past world champions of the Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals, Pier-Luc Ouellette (2011) and Ben Cooper (2012) at the BRP booth near the Pont du Cosmos at the Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada in Montréal on Friday afternoon, June 7.
BRP is a global leader in the design, development, manufacturing, distribution and marketing of powersports vehicles. Distributed in 105 countries, its portfolio of brands and products includes Ski-Doo and Lynx snowmobiles, Sea‑Doo watercraft, Can-Am all‑terrain and side-by-side vehicles, Spyder roadsters, Evinrude outboard engines, as well as Rotax propulsion systems.BRP employs approximately 6,800 people worldwide.
Backgrounder: Karting at BRP
The evolution of the kart industry at BRP took off in Austria in the 1980s with the production of the first high performance Rotax100 cc kart racing engine. BRP’s expertise in the development of 2-stroke high performance engines lead the Rotax engines to dominate the kart sports market and bring home the gold in the national and international championships of the Commission internationale de karting (CIK).
At the Karting World Championship of 1988, Rotax engines seized nine of the top ten positions. Several of today’s most successful F1 drivers began their racing careers in karts powered by Rotax kart engines, including Kimi Räikkönen (Lotus), Jenson Button (McLaren), Giorgio Pantano, Anthony Davidson and Robert Kubica. New in the Formula 1 racing circuit this year is Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber), who until recently participated in Rotax MAX Challenge races.
In 1997, the Rotax 125 MAX kart engine was introduced, setting new standards with its reliability and user friendliness and standing out from the competition thanks to its lower fuel emissions. In 2000, the first conversion kits came onto the market, allowing kart drivers to buy one engine that could be easily adapted to suit their ability throughout their racing career. The engine’s price made karting accessible to a wider audience of hobby drivers.
In 2002, in line with its commitment to innovating low maintenance yet ground-breaking products, BRP launched the 125 MAX DD2 engine: a direct drive (no chain) engine in combination with a two-speed-gearbox (operated by means of shift paddles on the steering wheel).
Despite these exciting developments, the Karting World Championship did not make room for the 125 cc MAX engine next to the 100 cc category. So, in 1999, BRP launched a racing series with its own technology and sports regulations. In 2000, the first Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals were battled out on the track.
THE ROTAX MAX CHALLENGE GRAND FINALS
Debuting in 1999 as a “playground” for ambitious leisure kart drivers, the RotaxMAX Challenge (RMC) is now the most prestigious event in the world of professional karting. An annual highlight of the racing season, the Grand Finals bring together drivers from all over the globe to crown the best amongst them. As part of the Rotax MAX Challenge, the Grand Finals have grown every year since they began.
Let’s take a look back in history …
The first edition of the Grand Finals took place in 2000 on the island of Puerto Rico with 66 drivers in the “125 MAX” class representing 19 countries. In 2001, the finalists were invited to Malaysia where 68 drivers from 29 countries competed for the RMC “World Champion” title in the “125 MAX” class. In 2002, kart drivers from 33 different countries vied for the gold at the Grand Finals in South Africa, and in Egypt in 2003, the “125 Junior MAX” category was introduced.
The year 2003 was also the first time the company worked with a chassis manufacturer to supply comparable karts to competitors. The junior category raced on a ‘single make’ chassis supplied by CRG while the more experienced drivers raced on their private chassis. This move increased the number of Grand Finals participants to almost 100 drivers, representing close to 40 different countries.
The volcano island of Lanzarote, Spain welcomed the 5thGrand Finals in 2004. For the first time, all competitors raced either on supplied ‘single make’ chassis provided by CRG (for the “125 Junior MAX” category) or by BRP (for the “125 MAX” category.) The following year in Malaysia, the 2005 Grand Finals ran three different categories: “125 Junior MAX”; “125 MAX” and the “125 MAX DD2″. The event attracted 140 drivers from 43 nations and a new sponsor, Swiss Hutless from Switzerland, who supplied 55 race-ready chassis for the “125 Junior MAX” category. BRP also unveiled the newly designed MOJO tyres on this international platform.
The rainy coast of Viana do Castelo, Portugal hosted the 2006 edition of the RMC Grand Finals. The event reached a record 186 participants from close to 50 countries. The 2007 edition saw another great event in Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates: 216 drivers from more than 50 countries from all five continents raced for victory in the “125 Junior MAX”, “125 MAX” and “125 MAX DD2″ categories using chassis signed by CRG and INTREPID, two of the most prestigious European chassis manufacturers.
The world’s top karting race series found itself on European soil once again when Italy – arguably the home of karting – hosted the Grand Finals in 2008. Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt hosted the Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals in 2009, marking the event’s 10th anniversary. Chassis were supplied by manufacturers Maranello and CRG and German manufacturer Heidenau supplied MOJO tyres. Partners including Dellorto and Kart Care also contributed to the great success of this event.
In2010 the Grand Finals took place in Italy at the La Conca race circuit. For the first time, the series held 4 different categories and the number of drivers went up to 250. The introduction of the new category – the 125 MAX DD2 MASTERS – allowed for another 36 drivers over the age of 32 to compete in the world’s biggest kart race series. Sodi from France supplied chassis for the “125 Junior MAX” category, while the “125 MAX” and “125 DD2″ used the CRG chassis from Italy. The manufacturer Haase, also from Italy, supplied the “DD2 MASTERS” chassis.
The 2011 Grand Finals took place back in Al Ain, UAE at the Al Ain Raceway circuit. Some 264 drivers from about 60 countries raced in four categories. After a wet experience in 2006 in the north of Portugal, the 2012 Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals moved to the south end of the country to the Kartodromo Internacional Algarve race track near the city of Portimao. The event, again with four categories, increased to an astounding 276 drivers from about 60 countries. Birel supplied the “125 Junior MAX” category, while the “125 MAX” used SODIKART chassis. For the “125 DD2″ category German manufacturer MACH1 supplied the chassis and Haase supplied the “DD2 MASTERS” chassis. www.brp.com
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Manager, Corporate Communications