An unusual race in Western Australia today pitted two of Australia's highest performance equipment suppliers against one another
Komatsu Australia Limited's 2016 apprentice group faced off against Supercar Team Championship leaders Triple Eight Race Engineering at Barbagallo Raceway, for the first ever Komatsu Apprentice Kart Race.The Komatsu Apprentice Kart Race has a simple set of rules. Two karts and two drivers sit on the grid. Four 'pushers' build the karts momentum to a cut-off line, where they must release. The karts then race 400 metres downhill to the finish. Karts are tuned, and then sent out to improve on their last run.
Lead by six-time V8 Supercar Champion and mentor Jamie Whincup and staffed by five of Komatsu's top West Australian apprentices, Team Komatsu Apprentices lined up against the Supercar race team. Each pushed a tuned, customised kart. Team Triple Eight narrowly clinched the win, blitzing the West Australian tarmac to beat Team Komatsu with a lead of just 15 centimetres in the final round.
Much like the Supercars Championship, kart design and specification is tightly controlled. Teams can tune caster, camber, tyre inflation pressures and ride height. Whincup was pleased to see the apprentices come together for the race. "The Kart Race requires teamwork, analysis and a focus on constant improvement. It's a great place to get hands-on, work under a bit of pressure and bond with a close-knit team," he said. "Billy-cart racing looks simple. When you get into it, winning is harder than you think."
For the third consecutive year Whincup is Komatsu's official apprentice mentor. The role of the mentor is to help Komatsu apprentices nationwide develop valuable life and work skills. Komatsu national apprentice development manager Gavin Manning said the kart race and the apprentice development system (ADS) produces better tradespeople on and off the job.
"The Apprentice Kart Race is great fun but it is also connected to valuable learning outcomes," he said. "The ADS produces engaged, confident and motivated people who want to achieve.
"Equipment is only part of what we deliver to our customers. Komatsu is people powered technology and we are driven by success. Creating satisfied, self-aware tradespeople puts us in the best possible position to service evolving customer needs."
The Komatsu Apprentice Kart Race series will follow the Supercars Championship Series to Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne involving Komatsu apprentices in each state.
For more information contact:
Komatsu Australia National Marketing Manager
Phone 1330 566 287