The Challenge of the Americas has been the premier winter karting series on the left coast for the past eight years. Hosting the international Rotax Max Challenge categories, a number of premier teams and drivers have found their way to the southwestern states during the winter months. The ninth season of the Challenge is set to get underway in January, with new updates made to the series schedule and the class structure for 2016.
The 2016 Challenge of the Americas schedule was released at the end of June to provide series competitors with optimal time to plan, and to avoid conflicts with events here in the United States, along with other major events around the world. For years, their schedule was respected and other programs worked around those dates released. Challenge of the Americas promoter and owner Andy Seesemann recently became aware of two conflicts, including the second and third events of his program and the California ProKart Challenge. Despite attempts to discuss options, messages were ignored. This has prompted the Challenge of the Americas to adjust its schedule for the betterment of the sport and the industry.
Opening weekend of the Challenge of the Americas remains at the Musselman Honda Circuit in Tucson at the end of January. The second stop for 2016 is still set for the Phoenix Kart Racing Association in Glendale, however, the date has been moved from the first weekend in March to the final weekend in February. The finale at Simraceway Performance Karting Center in the wine country of Sonoma, California is unchanged, cemented to the first weekend in April.
2016 Challenge of the Americas Schedule
January 29-31: Musselman Honda Circuit – Tucson, Arizona
February 26-28: Phoenix Kart Racing Association – Glendale, Arizona
April 1-3: Simraceway Performance Karting Center – Sonoma, California
“Out of respect for the karting community and in the best interest of our customers, teams and mechanics, I am changing the date of the Phoenix round of the 2016 Challenge of the Americas,” stated Seesemann. “It has taken a lot of work to change contracts and unwind host hotel agreements, etc., but it is in the best interest for our community at large. I apologize to our community that they have been caught in the middle of this foolish battle that continues to tear our sport apart. I will continue to do my part to make sure that the sport and its customers, teams and supporters are held in the highest regard when decisions are made, and when others make decisions to only serve their own egos, I will do my best to minimize the impact.”
The Challenge of the Americas program will continue to be an international series for Rotax Max Challenge competitors, as it has since the beginning. All Rotax divisions are to be offered again in 2016, with the exception of DD2 and DD2 Masters. Replacing those categories in the time schedule each weekend are Shifter Senior and Shifter Masters. In 2015, with the creation of the US Open, Rotax Max Challenge and shifterkart racing combined to present a new international championship program, geared at putting the best drivers of both disciplines together. The Challenge of the Americas has adopted this vision, including the Shifter Senior and Shifter Masters into the vacated race group slot.
2016 Challenge of the Americas Class Roster
“The DD2 class, while exciting on-track, has not had the best success overall for the series. We have done our best to promote the category and continued to offer the Rotax Grand Finals ticket to the series champion, still with limited entry totals,” continued Seesemann. “It is time to remove the DD2 group from the series, as there are still plenty of other opportunities for these racers to race elsewhere and earn a chance to win a ticket to the Rotax Grand Finals. I received a number of requests over the years to add a shifter class to the series, and now is the perfect time. The US Open proved that shifter classes can work alongside the Rotax program, and now the Challenge of the Americas provides an early winter season for those racers and teams. I expect to see at least 20 shifters total at the opening event in Tucson”
Entry to the 2016 Challenge of the Americas program is set to open on December 1 at rotaxchallenge.com. Continue to visit the website for updates, and find more information on the host hotels and event details for each stop in 2016, along with the Facebook page.