Former Ferrari and Williams race engineer Rob Smedley has founded the Global Karting League (GKL) to diversify motorsport participation.
- The new initiative is seeking to cut karting costs by 96 per cent
- GKL will launch in early 2024, initially in the UK
- The league will be open to all ability levels between the ages of six and 17
Currently, it would likely cost more than UK£2.8 million (US$3.4 million) to carry a child through the ranks of karting to a professional racing career. Costs can hit as high as UK£1 million (US$1.2 million) by the age of 12. The new initiative is built around three key pillars: affordability, increasing participation, and talent identification.
Smedley said: “4.5 million kids in the UK know how good they are at football, but only 2,000 know how fast they can drive. GKL’s unique format means participants just arrive and drive, as we provide the karts and coaching in the price. By reducing costs up to 96 per cent, we’re in a position to multiply participation by 1,000.
“Professional motorsport relies on a small pool of talent that rises through established, expensive routes. With GKL, we’ve created an affordable alternative pathway to the top of motorsport. We’re taking this format to countries where there’s a huge motorsport fanbase but minimal participation like India, China, and Nigeria. I’m convinced we’ll identify talented kids with the potential to become world champions.”
The new karting programme will enable all participants to compete in equal machinery through an all-electric kart fleet, ensuring the focus is on talent. GKL will also use advanced analytics to track the progress of drivers around the globe, allowing organisers to identify talent more easily.