This week, Bombardier Recreational Products division BRP-Rotax (which manufactures kart racing engines) announced an incentive program for Canadian racers. Different than the ‘buy back’ programs some factories have utilized in past years to get folks racing with the latest and greatest engines, this program allows racers to purchase a Rotax engine at a greatly reduced price (more than 50% off) while still keeping their current engine, allowing racers to compete in the categories of their choice.

The program is a collaboration between manufacturer BRP-Rotax and Canadian distributor SRA Karting. 

The fine print of the program reveals something…unsettling:

  1. The buyer must reside in Canada;
  2. The buyer must show that he has competed in a karting event in Canada, in 2020 or 2021 in any non Rotax racing category, using published results which can be verified online. 
  3. If the competitor is the buyer’s child, the buyer must specify his child’s name;
  4. The price does not include the battery or the installation;
  5. Applicable taxes extra;
  6. The engine must be registered in the warranty system under the buyers name;
  7. One engine at the special price per competitor;
  8. Only the competitor who has purchased the engine will be allowed to race in Rotax racing series for the entire 2021 season;
  9. As part of the incentive program, there are a limited number of engines available in each model. First come, first serve; and
  10. The program starts February 1st and ends after all the allocated engines have been sold or at the latest on May 1st 2021.

To take advantage of the program, a racer has to have competed in a different karting category (ROK Vortex or Briggs & Stratton). So…does this program really attract anyone new to karting? Does this help to grow the sport so many Canadian racers love?

The Rotax Max Challenge Canada organization will expand the formerly Quebec-based Canadian Open race to a mini-series starting at Mt. Tremblant in July and ending at Mosport in August. This will be the first big Rotax race in Ontario in three years, since the successful introduction of the ROK Vortex engine to the two-stroke karting scene. The prize for winning the Canadian Open is tickets to the Rotax grand finals.

In that context, the promotion seems more like continued struggles between ROK and Rotax, and not quite a super incentive program designed to help racers.

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