From the desk of Mike Smith, CalSpeed Race Director

With registration opening today for the 7th annual running of the Machsimo 12 Hour Endurance Race, I thought it would be a good time to take a little closer look at the three classes on offer for the 2014 edition. Typically only a two class race with the faster, yet more fragile Pro Class joined by the full bodied Sport Karts, this year a second sport class has been added to the fray. Additionally, with some of the rule changes for this year’s race, many questions have arisen ahead of registration opening and the rulebook being released. I will try and answer some of these below in advance, as the rulebook itself will be released once final tests have been completed.


Sport Class
Up to 6 drivers per team
1 kart for the entire race
36 required stints
Minimum 1-hour drive time per driver
200lb. average team weight
‘live’ refueling (~2.5 hours run time)
Start race with full fuel load

Firstly lets take a look at the Sport Class, and with it a rule set that harkens back to the early days of the Machismo 12 Hour. With a more straightforward approach to strategy, the Sport Class retains the required stint format that has been a part of the Machismo since it’s inception, as well as the requirements for team size, and minimum drive time. What also makes its return in this class is the ‘average team weight’ rule, which will allow a mixture of weighted drivers to compete for the race win. The Sport Class will not only start the race on a full tank, but also carry the largest amount of fuel of the three classes, meaning fewer required fuel stops, again, focusing on the driving and not the strategy side of things.

This rule package allows a multitude of team structures to compete for a win in this class, and favors a team that is able to run consistent and mistake free, instead of one that needs to out-strategize their opponents. And with being able to stay in the same kart for the duration, teams will be able to customize the fit of their team kart, instead of having to re-fit, and re-learn a new kart at every fuel stop. Whether seasoned veteran, or newcomer to the Machismo, this class will be the perfect one for those looking to put driving first and strategy second to achieve victory.

Super Sport Class
Up to 6 drivers per team
Can change karts at will
No minimum drive time/stint requirements
200lb. individual driver weight
New kart at every fuel stop (~1.5 hours run time)
Start race with remaining fuel from Qualifying session

The Super Sport Class is the bridge between the traditional Sport and Pro Classes, debuting this year as a way to increase the level of open-ended strategy, requiring teams to be strong in both their driving, as well as on-the-fly decision-making. Eliminating the structured strategy of required stints and drive time puts things squarely in the hands of the teams now more than ever. Add to that the change in the max fuel load for the class, and you have a class that will crown the team with not only the fastest and mistake free drivers, but also the one that can both plan ahead, and think on its feet.

Starting the race on whatever fuel still in the tank after the 1 hour practice/qualifying run, the strategy in this class will start right out of the gate, with the choice between pushing hard or saving fuel immediately coming into play. Add to that the fact that a new kart will be used with every stop for fuel, and drivers will need to use their best adaption ability, just like in real endurance racing and going from hot to cold tires. Additionally, with the new restriction in max fuel load, each team could drive as many as eight different karts or more during the 12-hour contest. And as it was in 2013, every driver will be weight ballasted to a minimum of 200lbs, so no team will have an inherited advantage via power to weight ratio, and a similar weight sequestered area will be used to regulate that.


Pro Class
Up to 6 drivers per team
1 kart for the entire race
No minimum drive time/stint requirements
200lb. individual driver weight
‘live’ refueling (~1.5 hours run time)
Start race with remaining fuel from Qualifying session
Mandatory use of 2 different tire compounds

Endurance racing at the top level is all about management; whether it is managing pace, equipment, mistakes, or strategy, winning an endurance race is about putting all these elements together better than the next team. For years in the Machismo many of these elements have been dictated, but for 2014, management of all these things will become keys to victory. Drive time and stint restrictions? Gone. Getting a fresh kart at every fuel stop? Gone. Heavy versus lite drivers in the same class? Gone. This year, teams will need to manage their driver’s pace versus fuel consumption and tire wear, finding a balance between speed and time on pit road. And with every driver equaled out to 200lbs, no team will have a power to weight advantage over another.

So how about a few specifics:

Teams keep the same kart – The Mechanical staff at CalSpeed has learned much over the past 6 months in terms of improving kart equality, and every ounce of this knowledge will be put towards providing the most even equipment ever assembled for the Machismo 12 hour. Additionally, we will use lessons learned from previous editions to keep the equipment even throughout the day-to-night competition, utilizing multiple tools like jets, keys, ballast, tire pressures, and more to bring the field closer together.

Minimum Driver Weight – Every driver must weigh a minimum of 200lbs, and will be weighed after every stint in a sequestered area.

Drive Time – As I said before, there is no minimum or maximum drive time for any driver. There will e no required pit stops either; with the exception of needed fuel stops, and the mandatory tire changes.

Fuel – Each team will start the 1 hour qualifying session with a full fuel load, but will start the race with whatever fuel is left in the tank once that session is completed. With fuel lasting around 1.5 hours per tank, fuel strategy will start right out of the gate. During the race, every fuel stop will take the same amount of time (ex- 1 minute), whether it is a splash and go, or a full fill; this time will be managed by CalSpeed Officials.

Tires – Every team will be required to run on both the prime and option tires during the race, with the duration of use restricted for the option tire. While these exact time restrictions have not been solidified, here is an example:

“Every team will be required to change from the prime to the option, and back to the prime tire during the race. The option tire may not be used for longer than 3 hours.”

Again, this is just an example of the duration, but the changing to and from will certainly be in the rules; in other words every team must start, and finish on the prime tire. Additionally, as it is with the fuel stop, the tire stops will also be a mandated time duration (ex- 3 minutes).

The 2014 edition of the Machismo 12 Hour Endurance Race is poised to be the best, most diverse endurance competition ever held at CalSpeed, with everyone form Pros to Joes being able to compete for a class win. Never before has the event come so close to a true endurance race, the likes of which seen at storied venues like Daytona, Sebring, or Le Mans.

This is true endurance kart racing. This is Machismo.