Endurance races with rental karts - a popular initiative all across the world finally starts as a championship in Romania as well. We were there to advise and compete.
Way before his first outings in car racing, Alex Cascatău had a chance to compete in the Jesolo 24h kart race. It was a pivotal moment that left him wanting more - for himself as a racer and for the concept to appear one day in our home country as well. Years went by and most karting tracks only dipped their toes with some stand-alone races that never amounted to a full championship, despite the positive feedback of both amateurs and experienced entrants.
2021 brought the idea back on the table within the Karting Masters organization, which got us onboard for something we believed in. Both Alex Cascatău and Alexandru Șiclovan went on to study regulation models from various countries, drafting a simplified document that made the competition close and attractive. Confirmation came at the first round, which was sold out - 80 competitors formed 17 crews that battled on for six hours at Prejmer Raceway.
There were two categories - EKM Supercup had 40-minute stints for those accustomed to endure the physicality of the challenge, whilst in ”discovery mode” you could enlist in EKM Clubsport, where every stint was limited to 20 minutes. This rule would prove crucial in the end, as everyone realized that race pace comes second behind respecting the letter of the law.
West Competition Racing formed two 6-people teams with distinct concepts. The #9 crew gathered important names from the motorcycling world (Vlad Neaga, Adrian Rus, Adrian Petrovici, Marian Pivniceru). The #10 team came from the virtual scene, including Racing League Romania vice-champion Sebastian Apostol and sole female presences Maria Țurai and Alina Cristina Udrescu.
Most of our drivers had no prior experience on this track, which left a lor of learning to be done precisely in the race. Free practice showed how evenly balanced the teams are, a thing that qualifying only confirmed (P3 and P5 in the EKM Clubsport category). You could barely separate the WCR entries in the race as well, just one tenth apart in the fastest laps classification. The sim racers stepped onto the third step of the podium, a position that could have gone towards the motorcyclists as well, if it weren't for a 4 laps penalty for... stint time.
EKM Clubsport stadings (after 1/3 rounds)
P1 #4 Freedom45 Racing Team, 25p
P2 #1 Apexs, 18p
P3 #10 West Competition Racing, 15p: Maria Țurai, Alina-Cristina Udrescu, Sergiu Neagu, Bogdan Toma, Andrei Ursan, Sebastian Apostol
P4 #9 WCR Motorcycling, 12p: Marian Pivniceru, Petruț Iakabos, Adrian ”Sinner” Rus, Vlad Neaga, Adrian Petrovici, Ionuț Ursachi
Photos by Vali Tache. The next race will take place at the same track on the 31st of July. Full stream with commentary by Alexandru Șiclovan is available here: