Thomas Nepveu tops off another learning weekend with 7th place finish in Pompano Beach

Tuesday, Jan 19 456

Thomas Nepveu and his team worked on their kart set-up throughout the three-day event of the first round of the ROK Cup USA - Florida Winter Tour, held on a tight course created in the large parking lot at Isle Casino in Pompano Beach, just south of Miami Beach. Over Friday's practice session (January 15th) aboard his Birel Art kart in the Shifter ROK class, the quickest machines in the event, Thomas Nepveu experienced some handling difficulties, especially coming out of the slow corners. The PSL Karting team tackled the issues and gradually corrected them between on-track practice sessions on Friday and at the end of the day, as well as on Saturday morning (January 16th) between qualifying races Q1 and Q2.

 

Q1 et Q2 on Saturday morning (January 16)

These adjustments transformed Thomas Nepveu's kart into a competitive machine, as demonstrated when he tuned in the quickest lap time in Q3 and finished 7th in Q4, thus earning himself the 7th spot on the starting grid for Sunday’s final race. That was well within reach of the leading group for the 20-lap final race (Check out page 2 for more details according to Thomas on how the weekend went).

 

“I'm really happy with the work the whole team did in this first race for me at this high level in the Shifter class. We worked hard and managed to qualify 7th, in good position for a top-5 finish in the final. I made an excellent start from 7th on the inside lane and moved up to 4th on the first lap by passing people on the inside. I lost a few places on the following laps then all the drivers stopped blocking the inside by lap 6 and we all settled down to the normal quicker racing lines. I then got bumped off the track and lost about 30 seconds. I pitted and went back out again only to be bumped a second time. We then decided to retire from the race, with a pretty banged up machine. I'm really happy with the work we did over the weekend to improve the kart in this first race for me in the Shifter class, the top American competition level. Even if it had not ended the way we wanted it to, we'll be ready for the next round in a few weeks,” said Thomas Nepveu.

 

Our result for the whole weekend is all the more deserving for everyone concerned, as this was Thomas Nepveu’s third event in his career at the wheel of a "Shifter" kart and it was at the top level in America. During almost all of his 300 or so career races, the young driver was at the wheel of more conventional direct drive karts, with a fixed final chain drive (no gearbox) and a single rear brake. These shifter karts add 8 extra horses (from 35 to 43), a six-speed gearbox, front brakes, and a manual clutch. These are all new variables that need to be optimized and used optimally by the driver. Thomas Nepveu obviously adapts quickly to such changes.  

 

Next Events

Thomas Nepveu and his team will be back in Florida for the third and fourth rounds of the SuperKarts! USA - Winter Series held at the AMR Homestead-Miami Motorplex (Florida) on February 12th to 14th. On the following weekend, the second round of the ROK Cup USA - Florida Winter Tour will take place from February 18th to 21st at the Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg (Florida).

The weekend events according to Thomas Nepveu (extraits)

 

Friday (January 15th): “I had to adapt quickly to the new type of kart on the very tight track, where I had to use the first of six gears in the gearbox in the three slowest corners, which is very rare for us. The first gear ratio must be just right for me to be at the minimum of the ideal power range (12,000 to 13,700 rpm) to optimize my corner exit. I use a “diamond” type of line in the turns, braking very hard on entry and then changing direction abruptly at the corner apex, where I am almost stopped, and then accelerate as hard as I can in an almost-straight line along the next straightaway. You have to be exactly at the right rpm (just above 12 000) when you accelerate on the exit. You must know the track to decide what ratio you need to install in the gearbox in time for qualifying the next day. It's extremely difficult to overtake on this 17-corner and 0.74 mile (1.2 km) track, and you must always stay on the clean side of the track as it is very dirty and slippery when we change lanes to overtake. In addition to opening the gearbox to change gears, we also suspension and chassis settings, and I expect better results for Saturday's qualifying races.”

 

Saturday (January 16th): “This was a good day for us as we started out with a better machine than yesterday after work the team put in last night. I managed to fight my way up from the mid-pack with better and better results in each of the four qualifying races, especially in the two afternoon qualifying sessions. The gearbox ratio we installed on Friday night and some minor carburettor adjustments worked great. Two good starts from the inside row in Q3 and Q4 allowed me to move up the grid. Q4 went really well as I started 9th in the inside lane and was able to move up to 6th before my increasingly worn tires slowed me and left me in 7th place at the end. I still managed to keep a group of three faster drivers behind me, keeping 7th place for the grid for tomorrow's 20-lap final race.”

 

Thomas Nepveu 2021 Karting Results

 

Date

Track

Location

Series

Event

Final 1

Final 2

Jan. 8 – 10

AMR Homestead-Miami Motorplex

Homestead, FL

SKUSA

Winter Series Rounds 1&2

14TH

24TH

Jan. 16 – 17

Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park

Pompano Beach, FL

ROK

Florida Winter Tour

28TH

---

Feb. 9 - 14

AMR Homestead-Miami Motorplex

Homestead, FL

SKUSA

Winter Series Rounds 3&4

 

 

Feb. 18 – 21

Tropicana Field

St. Petersburg, FL

ROK

Florida Winter Tour

 

---

Mar, 11 - 14

Ocala Gran Prix

Ocala, FL

USPKS

Ocala Gran Prix

 

---

Mar. 17 – 21

Ocala Gran Prix

Ocala, FL

ROK

Florida Winter Tour

 

---

Mar. 24 - 28

Nola Motorsport Park

New Orleans, LA

SKUSA

Winter Nationals

 

 

Apr. 29 – May 2

New Castle Motorsports Park

New Castle, IN

USPKS

The Hoosier State Grand Prix

 

---

May 22 - 23

Utah Motorsports Campus

Utah

SKUSA

Spring Nationals

 

 

Aug. 11 – 15

New Castle Motorsports Park

New Castle, IN

SKUSA

Summer Nationals

 

 

Oct. 16 - 17

GoPro Motorplex

Mooresville, NC

USPKS

The Carolina Grand Prix

 

---

Nov. 6 - 7

Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas

Las Vegas, NE

ROK

ROK the Rio

 

---

Nov. 20 -21

Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas

Las Vegas, NE

SKUSA

Super Nationals

 

 

 

Adam Sinclair

Adam has been a race fan since the first time he went through the tunnel under the Daytona International Speedway almost 30 years ago. He has had the privilege of traveling to races all across the state of Florida (as well as one race in Ohio), watching nearly everything with a motor compete for fame and glory, as well as participating in various racing schools to get the feel of what racecar drivers go through every week.  

Adam spent several years covering motorsports for Examiner.com., where he had the opportunity to see the racing world from behind the scenes as well as the grandstands. He invites everyone to follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, and looks forward to sharing his enthusiasm for all things racing with the readers of SpeedwayDigest.com.

Be sure to tune in for his sports talk program, Thursday Night Thunder, where he discusses the latest in motorsports news with drivers, crew members, and fans. The show takes place (almost) every Thursday at 8:00 pm EST on the Speedway Digest Radio Network. 

Contact Adam: Email