Michael Schumacher hasn’t lost his appetite for racing – he was in action in Las Vegas last weekend taking on some of the top young kart racers and two of this year’s F1 drivers.
F1 Fanatic reader Jan Stahl was at the SKUSA SuperNationals XIII kart event where Schumacher was competing along with Sebastien Buemi and Nelson Piquet Jnr.
Schumacher finished the SuperPro final in seventh place with Piquet tenth. Buemi retired after 13 laps. Here’s Jan’s report from the race:
It was minimally advertised in Las Vegas. Half of the attendance seemed to be karting fanatics that knew about the event from kart racing circles, and the other half showed up in Ferrari gear after getting wind Schumacher was showing up.
The bottom line is that the event was definitely not attended to capacity, although a good size crowd showed up. The announcers mentioned this being the largest SKUSA event ever, largely due to the influx of Schumacher fans.
As for the event itself, I missed the qualifying – it was on Saturday, and I was out of town, so all I got to see was the feature race on Sunday. Schumacher started ninth and had a fairly bad start, dropping as low as 11th, and then working his way back up with some nice passing.
Helped by some retirements ahead of him, he finished seventh, directly ahead of Nelson Piquet Jr, who I believe started 11th or 12th. Sebastien Buemi retired about halfway through the race, never having looked in contention to anywhere close to the top ten (although he was racing an Intrepid kart, which is the team that ended up claiming first and second).
To me, the best part was how accessible the F1 drivers were compared to how it usually is on the F1 circuit. I was able to walk up and chat to both Buemi and Piquet Jr without any problems, as they were just lounging in the Intrepid team tent, which was open to the public. Both seemed very outgoing, and took pictures and gave autographs extensively with the handful of fans that even knew who they were – amazing.
As for Michael Schumacher, he was out of sight in the Tony Kart paddock for the majority of the day – when he came out to take part in the feature race, he was escorted straight to the race area and back, without talking to the public (although he had a mob of people accompanying him there and back, as you can see from the pictures).
However, about two hours after the end of the main event, he came out and spend almost an hour signing autographs for the about 100 or so fans that gathered around the Tony Kart paddock – a measly crowd compared to the amount of people a similar event would attract anywhere else in the world. Definitely seemed impressive to me that he would devote that much time to spend with the fans – I overheard someone say he did the same thing during qualifying on Saturday.
The SuperPro race was won by Bas Lammers, who scooped a $10,000 prize. Lammers was driving for the same Intrepid team as Piquet and Buemi – as were fellow podium finishers Norman Nato and Jeremy Iglesias. See the full SuperPro race results.
SKUSA Supernationals XIII pictures
Here are Jan’s pictures from the SKUSA Supernationals XIII:
Find more photographs from the event in Leandroclaro’s photostream on Flickr.
SKUSA Supernationals XIII video
F1 drivers will be in more karting action this weekend in Felipe Massa’s karting challenge race this weekend. British fans can watch the event live on British Eurosport at 6pm on Saturday and 1pm on Sunday.
The off-season will also see the traditional Granje Viana 500 which Massa is expected to compete in.
F1 drivers karting
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- Rubens Barrichello wins International Challenge of Kart Champs in Brazil
- Rubens Barrichello wins kart race in Brazil ahead of Felipe Massa (Video)
- Alonso vs Kubica in karts (Video)
- More Hamilton kart videos
- Two Lewis Hamilton kart videos
Top image (C) Leandro Claro/KartOnline