After a commendable start to the 2015 season at the Vega Winter Invitational Trophy, Malaysia’s karting sensation Muizzuddin Musyaffa Abdul Gafar faces a stiffer test this weekend at the opening round of the World Series Karting (WSK) Champions Cup – the stage that provided the biggest result in his young career last year.
Winner of the overall title for the 60 Mini class, the Gamoto Racing driver, who turns 13 next month, would be making his debut in the KF Junior class at the championship; driving a heavier and more powerful 125cc kart and challenging more experienced rivals in the category competed by drivers up to 15 years old.
“It’s a new ball game for Muizz. This is the KF Junior category and some of his rivals will have the advantage of already competing in this category since the last two years. It’s also a different machine – heavier and more powerful with bigger horsepower. That would mean that it would need a different style of driving, a different approach and new tactics from Muizz.
“We had some solid training since the race at the Vega International Trophy at Adria. And, I must say that Muizz is progressing well. He has shown that he has the speed. But, we all know that Muizz can drive fast. Racing, however, will be very different from training.
“During tests and training, you only need to focus on your driving. On race day, you have a crowded grid, you will have some over aggressive drivers approaching the corners, and you also need to manage your kart – unlike in the 60 mini class,” says team manager Salvatore Gotto.
To be competed in two rounds in two consecutive weekends at La Conca International Circuit at Muro Leccese in Leece in southern Italy, the KF Junior class is expected to be contested by no less than 60 karters from all over the world along with other categories like the 60 Mini, KF and KFZ categories.
“The WSK series is one of the most prestigious go-kart competition in the world. You can expect all the best karters from all over the world to be there. Moreover, this is the opening round and some who were unable to race in Adria, will definitely be here. It will be a far bigger challenge for Muizz as compared to the race in Adria two weeks ago. This is the big one,” Gotto added.
Competing in his first KF Junior category at Vega Winter Invitational in Adria, the young Malaysian finished third behind senior drivers, Russian Artem Petrov and Ye Yi of China, who took first and second respectively in 2015 season-opener organised by WSK.
According to Gotto, although Muizz would be very familiar with the La Conca track, having competed at the circuit since 2012, this weekend would be his first experience on a 30-horsepower KF Junior kart around the 1,250-meter track.
“As I had explained, Muizz would now need to adjust to the behavior of his new KFJ kart. We are talking different braking points and different ways of approaching the corners. But, based on what we saw at Adria, Muizz is adapting very well to his new kart.
The event this weekend will feature free practice sessions on Thursday and Fridaymorning. Qualifying will be on Friday morning with the heats to be held on Friday afternoon and Saturday. Sunday will feature the two pre-final races and a final race to decide the winner for Round 1.
On the team’s target, Gotto said: “Looking at the quantity and quality of the grid, we are setting a target of a Top 8 finish. But, if you ask Muizz, he wants no less than a podium.
“So, we will have to wait and see,” he added.
MUIZZUDDIN – RESULTS 2015 SO FAR
January 11 – Vega International Winter Trophy, Adria, Italy – 3rd Placing
Words & Photos: Muizzracing