I took the chance to catch up with Latvian circuit racer Nikita Lijcs on the phone today to check on his plans for 2021.
Lijcs raced in both UIM F2 and F4 last year although he told me that this year his focus is on the UIM F4 World Championship.
Currently, the F4 title is scheduled to be competed for over six rounds in three countries, Italy, Sweden and Germany.
Before the first races in Brindisi in July he has plenty to do and Lijcs told me:
I have a tight programme in Latvia and neighbouring countries to test the boat with some different props.
Due to the health crisis, the F4 World Championship was held over one weekend in Viverone, Italy last year, Lijcs took pole position there only to be found to be underweight after the session:
It was my mistake!
Initially I had a problem putting a team together for the event and my usual radioman who works out my strategy could not go to Italy.
I weighted the boat to the old 350 KG rule (it’s now 360 KG), and I came in at 357 on the scales!
Once I added the extra weight for the heats, I had to start from last, but I was happy with the boat’s speed.
Lijcs finished a creditable fifth in the first heat, turned the boat over in the second and ended up seventh overall.
The 25-year-old started racing in the JT-250 class in 2008 and became world champion in that discipline two years later, made his UIM F4 debut in 2012 – Looking to the future I asked him about UIM F2 and the proposed engine change away from the Mercury Optimax motor to four-stroke power in that class:
It is going to be a ‘big shift for the pocket’!
Like the other drivers, I was surprised to see the new engine included in the UIM rules.
We will have to wait, at the moment we have not even been told about the engine’s specifications, so it is hard to make a judgement.
The UIM F4 World Championship changed over to the Mercury Racing 60 EFI Four-Stroke Tunnel Race motor some years ago and that’s the engine that Lijcs hopes will power him to the title this season.