The European karting season officially kicks off this weekend, as teams, factories and drivers will all travel to southern Italy’s La Conca circuit for the opening rounds of the WSK Master Series.
Six Canadian pilots will be on track at La Conca, as the four classes have drawn up 194 entries from around the world.
Making their senior debut in KF division, last years KF3 standouts Lance Stroll and Zachary Claman DeMelo both hope to start their year on the right foot. Stroll will continue to work with Chiesa Course and Zanardi Kart under the Scuderia Karting banner, while DeMelo returns to the CRG factory tent. Both will utilize Parilla power.
In the KF Junior class, formerly KF3, two Canadian’s will also make their official debut. After a couple years in the 60cc Mini class, Devlin Defrancesco moves up to race with the big boys and brings a pair of top-five finishes at the 2013 Florida Winter Tour in his Rotax Junior class with him. Defrancesco will pilot a Zanardi Kart with BMB power under the Defrancesco Racing banner. The second Canadian to make his debut is Calgary’s Parker Thompson. After a stellar year in 2012 that included a podium appearance at the Rotax Grand Finals, Thompson shifted his focus to Europe for 2013 when he signed a contract with Energy Corse. Moving to Italy in early January, Thompson has been working with the factory for over a month and will definitely be one to watch this weekend. Kami Moreira Laliberte will also compete in the KFJ class, as he too will focus on Europe for 2013 after racing in a mixture of everything in 2012. Laliberte will utilize a Zanardi Kart with Parilla power.
Completing the Canadian contingent in Italy this weekend, Antonio Serravalle returns to the 60cc Mini division for another year. Serravalle had a breakout year in Europe last year and should find himself up front often in 2013 while competing aboard a TonyKart.
Rumours have it, 7-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher will compete this weekend in the KZ2 shifter class. Schumacher has been testing with his TonyKart factory team, and has been rumoured to make a return to competitive kart racing for 2013.
With last weekend acting as unofficial testing, some very special drivers made an appearance on track, including Mercedes Formula 1 driver Nico Rosberg. Rosberg was joined by 2-time World Karting Champion Nyck De Vries, as the two were housed by Canadian Scuderia Karting, the official team of Lance Stroll. Although the two will not be racing this weekend, we are sure they left some valuable information behind for Stroll.