On November 13 and 14, Macau will host the penultimate round of the 2004 Asian Karting Open Championships (AKOC) as part of the Motorsport Festival - Grand Prix Carnival. Through the efforts of the Sports Development Board (SDB), the Macau Government Tourist Office (MGTO) and the China-Macau Autosports Club (ACMC), Macau has been confirmed as the fourth round of the region's leading karting series. In addition to Macau, the Championships includes stops in Malaysia, the Philippines, India and Indonesia, and is recongnised as the most challenging karting series in the region.
With its line up of some the region's most talented youngsters, the addition of the Macau round has encouraged more than 120 karters from China, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and, of course, Macau etc, to sign up for the series.
Launched in 2002, the objectives of the AKOC are to develop karting as a sport in the region and to the increase levels of driver skill. These aims are in line with the on-going programmes of the Macau Grand Prix Committee and the ACMC in promoting motorsport and encouraging competitive excellence.
The series comprises five different classes, with a special class introduced this year as a direct consequence of the inclusion of Macau on the calendar, the Macau Piston Port Cup, for National C License holders aged 15 or above in 100cc karts. The other racing categories in the AKOC are: Formula 100 open (Formula A) / Macau ICA Cup, the premier class and the highest category in the series for International B License holders aged 15 or above; the Rotax Max Senior/Masters, the best supported class, for International C License holders aged 17 years or above in Rotax Max 125cc karts; the Rotax Max Junior, for International C License youngsters aged between 12 and 17 in Junior Rotax Max 125cc karts; the Junior Intercontinental A for 13 to 15-year-old Intercontinental C License holders in 100cc karts who, after competing in this category, can step up to the Formula 100 Open class; and the Formula Cadet 85 for 9 to 13-year-olds and considered the entry-level class.
In 2005, the champions of both the Senior and Junior Rotax Max classes will join the Rotax Max Challenge, giving Asian karters the opportunity to join the World Cup Rotax Challenge and race with the best karters in the world.
Karting is recognized worldwide as the entry point for young racers and leading international motorsport teams watch the category closely in their constant search for future champions. Many of the most famous names in motorsport started their careers in go-karts, including the late Ayrton Senna, and current F1 stars Jenson Button and David Coulthard. Closer to home, up-and-coming local talent Rodolfo Avila began racing karts in Macau at the tender age of six, and recently tested in the UK with one of the world's top Formula 3 outfits, Carlin Motorsport.
And to host this prestigious event, Macau already has an impressive facility in the Kartodromo, Coloane. The international B grade karting facility is fully equipped with a 1.25km circuit, a grandstand which can seat up to 2,500 spectators, control tower, briefing room, restaurant, VIP rooms - and even has a children's go-kart circuit.
The organizer will also arrange shuttle bus service between Macau (bus stop in front of Bank of China Building) and Kartodromo for the citizens and visitors on November 13 and 14, operating every 15 minutes from 9am to 5:30pm. First bus will depart from Macau and last bus will depart from Kartodromo.