Yuey Tan (left) and Kenneth Yeo (right) are actively looking for more venues for the Singapore Karting Championship.
Since the Singapore Karting Championship (SKC) started in 2010, it has only been held at one venue – at Singapore’s only permanent karting facility Kartright Speedway.
But for the 2012 season, there will be new venues added to the five-round national karting series.
Rounds 2 and 5 will be held at the Formula 1 village where the pit building is, at the intersection of Republic Ave and Republic Boulevard, with the possibility of Round 4 being held at Turns 21, 22 and 23 of the F1 street circuit at night under the same lights used for F1.
“It is always good to have more venues for the series. Although the Changi Motorsport Hub didn’t quite go according to plan, we looked at alternative ways to set up interesting race circuits for the SKC and the F1 circuit was the obvious choice,” says Kenneth Yeo, general manager and series director of the SKC.
Karting on the F1 track is not new, as done previously by Richard Tan of Arina Hogan, the company that is in charge of setting up the lights for the Singapore Grand Prix.
Working with Tan, the process of making this happen was no doubt a challenging and tedious one, with the various permits and logistics processes to get through, but they eventually got the necessary approvals done.
“Having it on a makeshift track would mean drivers not being able to have any training or practice prior to race weekend, but professional race series often have drivers face different circuits, some of which are not accessible anytime of the season except for the race itself. That would train drivers’ adaptability to learn new circuits quickly and will also place all drivers on an even playing field,” says Yuey Tan, the SKC ambassador, who races in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia series.
“We are currently working hard on the land licensing to get extra dates for practice sessions. If that doesn’t work out, we will open the track from Thursday onwards during race weekends for free practice at no additional cost,” adds Yeo.
There are other temporary places that the SKC can potentially be held at; like on private grounds or car parks, but one reason for bringing the series to the F1 area is to raise the profile of motorsports in Singapore.
“We hope to raise the profile of national motorsports through the SKC and obviously a more centralised location would help. As this happens, the commercial value of the SKC will grow, in turn attracting new sponsors to an exciting marketing platform and creating the motorsport industry from the grassroots.
“We aim to build a system that equates to sponsorship dollars through a strong marketing solution that encompasses web, mobile web, television, magazines, newspapers, partner websites and a vast array of traditional and non-traditional media distribution,” Yeo shares.
As the commercial value of participating in the national karting series increases, registration costs for the SKC have gone up from last year – $50 more per round at Kartright Speedway and $100 more per round for those at the F1 village.
For example, a full season of the SKC last year for the under-12 Cadet category was $1,250 at $275 per round. But this year, it will be $325 each for the rounds at Kartright Speedway and $375 each for the rounds at F1 village.
These costs are only for participation and do not include the costs of tyres, transportation, tuning of the karts, training, race gear and the mechanics.
More venues are also being explored for future SKC rounds, but there is a much bigger vision for the SKC.
Yuey Tan elaborates, “The objective of the SKC is to become a self-sustaining business model of a race series in Singapore over three years. The trick is to stay afloat in a developing motorsport market so we are part of this development. The proven SKC formula can then be used for hosting race series in Singapore for years to come, hence the SKC is of massive importance as a structure to Singaporean motorsport now and for the future.”