Muscat: With an eye on future development of motorsport in the region, an exciting new karting championship has been planned by the motorsport governing bodies of Oman and the United Arab Emirates.
The Gulf Karting Endurance Championship, scheduled to be launched with Oman leg in October this year, is an ambitious joint initiative of the Oman Automobile Association (OAA) and Emirates Motorsports Federation.
The new championship is aimed at providing impetus to the sport in the region, contributing to the development of regional talents with the organisers planning to make it a truly an international event in the near future.
Confirming the news to Times Sport, Muscat Speedway Manager Loay Al Bijaly said: “Honestly we (OAA and UAE federation) have been planning this championship since the last season. And we are glad we have made a decision and now in the process of the launching the championship here in Oman in October.”
“As the championship title suggests it is an endurance championship. Initially it will be of four rounds of different duration and will be held in Oman and the UAE.”
The inaugural edition will have four rounds -- two of 12 hour duration and the remaining of 24 hour duration.
Oman will host the first, a 12-hour race, at Muscat Speedway on October 13 and 14. The championship will then shift to Al Ain with the UAE hosting the second round, a 24-hour race, from November 23 to 25.
The third round, a 24-hour race, will be organised at Muscat Speedway from February 1 to 3 while the championship will conclude with a 12-hour race to be organised in Al Ain from March 16 to 17.
“This is just the beginning. We are starting with a four-round championship. In the coming years we are hoping to expand it and organise more rounds across other GCC countries,” he said.
The Muscat Speedway official also revealed the championship will be an unique event as it will provide an ‘new experience’ for the drivers.
“The special feature of this championship will be the speed of the karts. We will be providing new RD1 Elite Karts which will be five seconds faster than the other karts. So the championship will provide the drivers new exciting experience,” Loay Al Bijaly said.
“It will be the same in all four rounds with the local organisers providing a RD1 Elite Kart to each team,” he said while adding: “Initially we will be ready with 20 karts. If we manage to attract more than 20 teams we will be ready for that as well.”
The organisers are hoping the championship will attract talents from across the Gulf region and beyond.
“The championship is not limited to the drivers from Oman and the UAE. It is open to all. We are expecting entries from all the GCC countries and beyond,” he said.
“In fact, we are hoping to have drivers from other countries as well. Our ultimate aim is to have talents from across the globe participating in this championship. In the coming years, we want to make it a truly international championship,” he added.
Speaking about the OAA’s preparations to host the first round in October, he said: “We will be ready. No doubt about that. We will be ready with all the equipment, facilities and arrangements required to run a successful race.”
The OAA official also stressed the organisers are focussing on the safety aspects.
“The safety of all -- the drivers, officials and the fans, is of paramount importance for us. We are preparing well and we want to ensure it will be a safe race in all aspects,” he said.
Gulf Endurance Karting Championship schedule:
October 13-14: 1st round - 12 Hour race at Muscat Speedway
November 23-25: 2nd round - 24 Hour race at Al Ain
February 1-3: 2rd round - 24 Hour race at Muscat Speedway
March 16-17: 4th round - 12 Hour race at Al Ain