The newly announced TireRack.com Road to Indy iRacing eSeries Presented by Cooper Tires has formed an alliance with the renowned World Karting Association to create a virtual ladder system down to the karting ranks – a natural progression considering the number of drivers who began their path to the Road to Indy via kart racing.
Celebrating its 50th year in 2021, the WKA is the largest sanctioning body for kart racing in the U.S. The member-owned, non-profit organization is headquartered in Concord, N.C., and hosts five national series in addition to a number of divisional and regional series.
The winner of each round of the WKA’s A-Maxx Racing eSports Series Presented by Summit Racing Equipment will advance to earn a spot on the TireRack.com eSeries grid to showcase their skills against drivers in Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship.
To take the first step, all drivers in the WKA’s eSeries will now compete onboard the virtual Tatuus USF-17 chassis, which launched on iRacing in June of last year. The TireRack.com eSeries will utilize the next level Tatuus PM-18 Indy Pro 2000 car.
To highlight the WKA’s eSeries winners, a specially designed WKA livery has been created.
"As the 'Foundation of Motorsport', the World Karting Association has always had a place for everyone in karting,” said WKA President Kevin Williams. “Exciting racing in eSports is no different, and we are thrilled to work with the Road to Indy TireRack.com eSeries as a first step for WKA karters to go from karts to cars; even virtually, to give back to the racers."
The WKA eSeries will take place weekly on Tuesday evenings at 8:00 p.m. EST beginning January 19 on iRacing. The first round will be held at the Daytona International Speedway road course. The first event of the TireRack.com eSeries will take place on February 3 at 7:00 p.m. EST at Road America.
"There's no arguing the fact that 90% of our Road to Indy racers come from karting, and to be able to develop a partnership program like this with the iconic World Karting Association is such a positive for our program and our eSeries,” said Rob Howden, Road to Indy Series Development Director. “With the WKA eSports Winter Series set to run our Tatuus USF-17 car on iRacing, each of their race winners will advance up our virtual ladder to compete against our RTI drivers in our PM-18. This is ideal. I'm really interested to see how the WKA winners will fare in our eSeries."
Competitors in the TireRack.com Road to Indy iRacing eSeries Presented by Cooper Tires will vie for cash prizes of over $3,500 – including a champion’s prize of $2,000 and one hour of sim time at every race on the 2021 schedule provided by SimMetric Driver Performance Labs, the Official Sim Partner of the Road to Indy – as well as special awards in each round such as the Sabelt Hard Charger Award, which provides a pair of Sabelt Hero racing gloves to the driver who gains the most positions.
“We are excited to embark on a new association with Kevin Williams and the WKA,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “Many of our drivers began their careers as part of the WKA family, so it is great to see the roots of our ladder system reach, at least virtually at the moment, even further to the grassroots levels. In addition to the WKA karters, we have several drivers in our eSeries who come from other junior open-wheel ranks with an interest in joining the Road to Indy. It is quickly becoming a virtual Chris Griffis test where drivers can display their racecraft in front of our team owners.”
The TireRack.com eSeries will be available on a variety of platforms including the Cooper Tire Facebook page, the Road to Indy TV website and App, ApexRacingTV’s YouTube channel, and the series’ respective Facebook pages. In addition, live coverage will be carried by REV TV Canada. The WKA eSeries coverage can be found on the WKA Facebook page, at ApexRacingTV’s YouTube channel and on the WKA Twitch account.