AMPFING – With third place in the fourth round of the DEKM, the German Electric Kart Championship, Jort Coone again proved to be one of the certain front-runners in the international field contesting the 2019 title. This was a huge boost for the young Dutch driver because the 15-year old from Lemmer had never actually raced on the challenging Ampfing circuit before while having no time more recently for any further testing due to his studies.
Jort’s promising result was coming all weekend long. On Saturday, he finished fifth in the final and Sunday was even better. He was fast in practice, which resulted in posting the sixth-best lap time in qualifying. He then managed to secure fifth place in the pre-final, before progressing in the changing weather conditions during the final, to finish with a strong third position.
“The race went really well for me. It started to rain lightly just before the race, which is why we had to make the decision between dry and wet tyres at the last moment. We chose to run slicks. It was then a search for the driest race line, but everyone with rain tyres immediately had the grip and clear advantage. I was obviously way behind these guys, until after about three laps when the track began to dry and their tyres were wearing quickly. As we went faster, I was able to catch and pass them to join the close race to the chequered flag.” About taking third across the line, Jort said: “It was really a good feeling for me!”
His father was also delighted with the fantastic result. Senior is Jort’s personal support crew during the race weekends and the young driver admittedly enjoys their on-track partnership. “I like racing with my dad. My mother and sister almost always go too. It is nice to go karting as a family and to talk a little with my father about the races, chassis set-up, etc.”
Electric karting is something new in this sport, so Jort, therefore, finds it more like an adventure. “We entered this without any prior knowledge of e-karting. You see that everyone first had to get used to Formula E racing and now that has become an exciting championship in which all the major car manufacturers will participate. Formula E was a matter of getting used to it and this is now the case for electric karts. They are just like the cars in Formula E where you only hear the sound of hitting a curb and the tyres. I also like traditional ‘normal’ karting as we know it and that will always be good, but this is something different and a cool challenge.”
Not only are the e-karts different to standard-type karts that have combustion engines, the race events are different from Jort’s knowledge of non-electric championships in which he has previously driven. “In the DEKM, all the competitors are together in a large tent so we have good contact with each other and also good sportsmanship between us in the races. The DEKM organisation of IK Media is excellent. Rotax also provides technical support with its team of technicians who do their best to provide great support for all of us and that’s very nice. From a sporting perspective, there is definitely more than enough challenge,” Jort believes. “The DEKM series is innovative. The karts are fast, despite the weight due to the batteries. In Ampfing we achieved up to 110 kilometres per hour.” It certainly would not have been easy for him.
“I didn’t know this circuit up until this weekend, so the training sessions were all about getting to know it. It’s interesting and has some unusual parts that you need to fully understand. The podium place in Ampfing had at least given the fast student of the Zuiderzee Lyseum in Emmeloord the satisfaction he has longed for, particularly after being so close to the podium already at the second round in Kerpen. “It was a pity that it didn’t work out better for us in Kerpen. I was there fighting with DTM [German Touring Cars] driver Ferdinand Habsburg, who participated as a VIP guest driver. We had a fabulous battle, he just made it onto the podium and I was fourth. It was great to meet Ferdinand and I kept in contact. He later invited me to the DTM race following in Assen, where I got to look behind the scenes of his team, even allowed to visit the pitbox and the motorhome. That was completely crazy!”
Thanks to his terrific result in Ampfing, Jort is sitting in fifth place in the general classification. With one more DEKM weekend to go, he can still finish even higher in the rankings. The deciding round will be held in Sarno, Italy during the special 20th edition of the Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals, where the best Rotax MAX drivers from around the world compete against each other. “I’m looking forward to the last race,” he said with much anticipation. “I’ll see my old teammates and racing buddies from my Rotax era there, such as Dani van Dijk and Mike van Vugt, who have now won their ticket. We have spoken about it already, so I’ll show them more about what’s happening with us in e-karting and how it all works.”
To be able to train as often as possible to continue developing his own driving skills and racecraft, Jort will keep looking for additional support for the coming season. Jort Coone thanks his parents and Rotax for their support this year, as well as the DEKM for the organisation.