WKA Mazda / Bridgestone Manufacturers Cup - National 2-cycle sprint racing at its finest
The WKA Manufacturers Cup Series open of the most competitive 2-cycle sprint karting series in the United States.
Over the past several seasons Manufacturers Cup nationals have averaged over 500 entries per event. The traditional season opener, annually held Dec. 27-30 at the Daytona Int’l Speedway Sprint Track, regularly boasts over 600 entrants with a record of 690 in 2010.
With nearly every racer running multiple classes on a Man Cup weekend, 500 to 600 entries means approximately 250 to 300 drivers.
The six-race tour features events throughout the eastern half of the country and teams based throughout the country and Ontario, Canada, including the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest and West Coast.
In 2013, the series travels to Daytona; Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, S.C.; Pittsburgh International Race Complex in Wampum, Pa.; JET Karting at Michiana in South Bend, Ind.; New Castle Motorsports Park in New Castle, Ind.; and GoPro Motorplex in Mooresville, N.C.
While Daytona is the premier Manufacturers Cup national event of the year, each season a different track hosts the WKA Man Cup Grand Nationals, where prestigious WKA Eagle trophies are award to main event winners. In 2013 the Grand National is June 28-30 at JET Karting in South Bend, Ind.
A typical Manufacturers Cup weekend consists of four days. Thursday is parking and registration; Friday is practice; and Saturday and Sunday are devoted to one round of morning practice, qualifying, pre-finals and finals for each class.
The only deviation is Daytona, which consists of the same daily schedule, but the days of the week vary from year to year and always fall on Dec. 27-30.
In 2013, 11 classes run each race day. A regular race day begins with gates opening at 7 a.m., practice opening at approximately 8 a.m., and the final main event normally concluding around 6 p.m.
Five age categories make up the WKA Man Cup class structure.
Yamaha Rookie Sportsman (age 7 to 10) offers more inexperienced youngsters a chance to hone their skills before advancing to the Junior Sportsman categories (age 7 to 12), which offer three divisions – Cadet, Yamaha and Komet (KPV) Sportsman.
Racers between the ages of 12 and 15 have four divisions in which to compete – Yamaha Junior Lite and Heavy and Komet (KPV engine) Junior Lite and Heavy.
The fourth age category is “senior,” which is for karters 15 years old and up. Seven divisions make up the Man Cup’s senior class structure – TaG, Parilla, Komet Pro and Yamaha. Each senior class runs one program Saturday and Sunday.
The fifth category is “masters,” which is reserved for drivers age 35 and up. TaG Masters is the only class in this category and it runs both Saturday and Sunday on a Man Cup weekend for one class championship.
Click here for more information on the Man Cup Series class structure.
Fans will see a number of karting engines raced at a Manufacturers Cup national. The Yamaha KT100 is the most prominent with Yamaha Rookie, Yamaha Sportsman, Yamaha Junior and Yamaha Senior. The KT100 is one of the most traditional engines in karting. It has been in the sport since the 1970s and remains one of the most popular engine packages in sprint and enduro road course karting.
TaG engines continue to gain popularity in sprint karting, and a Manufacturers Cup Series offers a program for nearly every water-cooled TaG engine on the market.
Man Cup’s premier TaG classes are TaG Senior and Parilla Senior. Parilla is open only to the Parilla Leopard and the Parilla X30. The Leopard is the most predominant engine in the series as many drivers race it in Parilla Senior and TaG Senior.
The Leopard and X30 may also be run in TaG Senior and TaG Masters, however, they are only two of 10 engines allowed. Other engines you’ll normally see at Man Cup nationals in TaG Senior are the Rotax, Motori Seven and Vortex Rok TT. The Cheetah SQ, Easykart IAME and BMB, Sonik and PRD Fireball are also legal.
TaG engines have different minimum kart weights to balance the competition and speed between engine packages.
The other popular engine in Man Cup is the 100cc Komet Piston Valve, which is slightly faster than the Yamaha, and offers classes in Sportsman, Junior and Senior.
The Cadet Sportsman class runs the Comer K80 engine.
A rich history
WKA’s Manufacturers Cup Series has long history of gifted racers who’ve gone on to successful careers in the highest forms of American motorsports. These include IndyCar and NASCAR stars Danica Patrick and Sam Hornish Jr., the late Dan Wheldon, IndyCar racer turned team owner Sarah Fisher and NASCAR up-and-comer Paulie Harraka.
NASCAR Sprint Cup standouts Jamie McMurray and A.J. Allmendinger continue to compete in the Man Cup Series when their schedules allow. The two have competed in the TaG divisions for several consecutive years at WKA Daytona KartWeek’s Margay Sprint Championships and both attended the Zoom Zoom Nationals at Carolina Motorsports Park in March 2011 on an off-Cup weekend.