2013 will see the 15th annual Formula Kart Productions Florida Winter Tour visit facilities familiar to previous FWT participants. But when the 2013 FWT participants arrive at this year’s venues they will see some significant changes and improvements.
JANUARY / PALM BEACH INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
FWT returns to the multi-purpose Palm Beach International Raceway facility for the opening rounds, and 2013 FWT participants will arrive to find the PBIR karting track has been changed to accommodate requests made by many 2012 FWT participants.
Changes made to the PBIR karting track during late 2011 effectively turned what had previously been two 500ft straightaways, separated by a tight “chicane” (turn one and turn two), into one 1000ft straightaway. Although these changes provided some exciting drafting battles during the 2012 FWT events, resulting in some very close finishes, the overall effect was not well received by the FWT racers, and many wrote FKP to ask that FWT not return to PBIR unless the chicane was “fixed”.
MRP Palm Beach track manager Rony Miron and lease holder Garry Lobaugh have stepped up and will break ground on the chicane “fix” within the next two weeks, with completion expected to take just a few days. The revised track layout should provide another passing zone, and reduce the high speed bump-drafting issues so prevalent during the 2012 FWT.
FEBRUARY / HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY
The February rounds of the 2013 FWT will feature the track that most drivers consider the best racing track in the state. Unfortunately, and due somewhat to its “temporary” nature, the facility itself has lacked even the most basic amenities. Major complaints concerning the bathroom facilities, the PA system, the food concessions and a lack of available track staff have been heard, and never more so than after the FWT visited the facility in 2012.
Homestead Karting facilities manager Tony Schroeder, with support from Patrick Keane and other local participants, have recently announced plans for dedicated bathroom facilities, the coming installation of a professional PA system throughout the paddock, a focused effort to improve the quality of the food service providers, the installation of a dedicated/covered dining area and an increase in the number and quality of support staff for the 2013 FWT events.
These improvements, combined with the recent completion of additional local lodging options, should turn one of the driver’s favorite tracks into one of the FWT’s best venues.
MARCH / OCALA GRAN PRIX
The final rounds of the 2013 FWT make what many consider to be a mandatory stop at one of the best prepared karting facilities in the country. So revered is this track that a long time FWT participant recently wrote; “If karting is a religion, OGP is the church.”
The dedicated OGP staff work very hard to provide a top level facility, and do what it takes to make sure the final events of the FWT leave all the drivers and participants with fond memories of “Serious Fun!”
Not one to sit still, facility owner Jorge Arellano is continuing to make improvements to the property. 2013 FWT participants will notice a new Timing and Scoring building relocated adjacent to the start/finish line. Add this to a recent repaving, coupled with arguably the best PA system in karting, miles of aluminum grandstands, and a park-like setting and it adds up to make the final stop of the FWT one not to miss.
The Florida Winter Tour is one of the world’s largest, longest running and most geographically diverse kart racing programs. In 2012 the FWT featured over 400 drivers from 28 countries and all six karting continents, and for the 5th consecutive year was the world’s largest official Rotax Max Challenge series and event.
For more detailed information log on to the official FWT web site at www.floridawintertour.com