Motorsport racer Luca Koester had an exciting season in 2022: The 25-year-old driver from Germany fearlessly took on international circuits, leaving a trail of success in his wake. After clinching the Rotax MAX Challenge Euro Trophy, Luca secured his ticket to the RMC Grand Finals in Portimão, Portugal. There, too, the Kart-Magazin.de reporter was among the top drivers, narrowly missing out on overall victory in the closing moments of the final. In his personal background story, Luca looks back on the events and reports on the memorable experiences from his first all-electric racing season.
Taking part in the Rotax E20 racing was an exhilarating adventure for me last year. The moment I crossed the finish line in the Euro Trophy’s first race in Genk, I knew my journey had only just begun. Throughout the championship, I fought for victory, with my eyes firmly set on the ultimate prize – the coveted ticket to the RMC Grand Finals. And guess what? I made it happen! In the season’s final race at Mariembourg, Belgium, I made it to the top of the podium in the overall standings and secured my ticket for the RMC Grand Finals in Portimão. The anticipation was great. Never before had I competed in the Grand Finals - so a completely new challenge awaited me.
When I arrived in Portimão, I was immediately impressed by the organization of this major event. The buzzing paddock exuded a festival-like atmosphere, brimming with about 400 competitors representing more than 60 nations. It was abundantly clear that they were embarking on something truly extraordinary. After the administrative checks at the beginning of the race week, it was time to hit the track and dive into the first practice sessions. This is where the true advantages of the Rotax E20 were immediately evident. In the first sessions, the focus was clearly on getting to know the peculiarities of the 1,580-meter track. With no need to tinker with gear ratios and jetting, as typically required in the DD2 category, I was able to fully concentrate on my driving skills. The E20 kart was great fun on the extensive Portimão track. With top speeds of nearly 140 km/h, the performance of the kart was also convincing on the layout of this demanding track. Leading up to the qualifying session, the objective was crystal clear – lay down the fastest lap times possible. The Boost function was a key factor in Portimão. With the opportunity to use the extra power twice per lap, rhythm was the key. So it had to be used tactically for the time hunt in qualifying.
Rotax Racer and Editor Kart Magazin, Germany
Unfortunately, due to some traffic on my fastest lap, I couldn’t quite achieve the desired momentum. Despite starting the heats from fifth place on the grid, I remained optimistic about my chances. On a partly damp track it was no walk in the park, but my familiarity with the E20 kart from previous races paid off. The high torque of the engine enabled a special line choice, particularly in the second run with slicks on a drying track. At the same time, I had to be extremely careful when pushing the throttle to ensure the kart’s power was effectively harnessed in the exit of the corners. All in all, it was a thrilling experience.
When it came to the prefinals and finals, the competition reached a whole new level of intensity. With eleven-minute driving time for each race, there was a real racing feeling here. Lap after lap, I engaged in some awesome battles at the front of the pack, ultimately securing a favorable starting position for the final in a well-deserved second place. This was where the stakes were highest.
After a few laps I was able to take the lead and gradually moved closer to the long-awaited victory. Here, once again, the right boost tactics became particularly crucial. As the frontrunner, I no longer had the guidance of a kart ahead so I had to assess the most efficient points on the track to use the extra power. I maintained my rhythm until three corners before the checkered flag, when Jesper Sjoeberg started a surprising maneuver and snatched the victory from my grasp in the last split second – my dreams of triumph were crushed, separated by a mere 0.07 seconds. Despite the bitter disappointment, I still stood proudly on the podium in the evening as the Rotax E20 vice champion with a big grin lighting up my face.
In the end, participating in the Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals proved to be a momentous highlight of an amazing season, revealing to me an entirely new perspective on karting through the Rotax E20 E-Kart.
Based on my year-long experience, I remain an absolute fan of the concept. Throughout the races, technical glitches were non-existent, allowing us to focus solely on the enjoyment of driving. With ample power at our disposal and the added thrill with the Boost button, the fun factor was never compromised. I can honestly recommend anyone interested to test the Rotax E20 E-Kart, to witness the exceptional quality of the product and the unwavering support on the track, while enjoying the incredible driving pleasure. Given the chance, I would eagerly seize the opportunity to jump back behind the wheel and once again experience the innovative and future-proof world of karting.”
Registrations are open for the last two races with the Rotax E20 E-Kart: Danisch E-Kart Championship and the RMC Euro Trophy at PFI in UK.