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Once in a Lifetime | Legendary karts: the 1987 World Championship DAP-Pavesi of Alessandro Piccini in Formula C

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14 January 2022
Bring together a 4-time world champion driver, his DAP Greyhound CIK 13/78 chassis and its Pavesi B engine. Then, start the engine…and you will see flames! Incredulous? Read this article!
In the history of karting there are three letters that for enthusiasts, for those who have a minimum knowledge of the history of this sport, have a special value: D-A-P. Yes, DAP, a name that needs little introduction, a cornerstone of the history of this sport. Founded in 1970 by brothers Angelo and Achille Parrilla, following in the footsteps of their father Giovanni with the brand “Parilla” (only one “r” in relation to the last name for phonetic reasons), the Milanese company was conceived to produce kart engines to then focus, since 1974, on the design and manufacturing of chassis as well. This move proves to be spot on and, in a short time, the Parrilla’s creation stands out among the industry leaders of the time. Furthermore, the DAP branded chassis revolutionized the world chassis technique and allowed several drivers to become protagonists in the main championships (does the name Ayrton Da Silva remind you of anything? If you are interested in the subject, go and read the article “Once in a Lifetime: Touching Senna’s kart!”). Among these drivers there is also a Tuscan guy, just a little more than 20 years old, destined to have a bright future in karting, but who has not yet written his name in the golden roll of world champions, Alessandro Piccini. The wait, however, is not going to last long. In Magione, in 1987, Alessandro writes an important page in the history of karting. In fact, he wins his first world title (one of four) driving a DAP chassis powered by a Pavesi (another name that makes the “veins and pulses” of many karting’s enthusiasts “tremble”) rotary valve engine. A kart that today we, at TKART, can touch with our hands and…Start up!

What makes your eyes open in amazement, before anything else, are the excellent conditions of this legendary vehicle. At 34 years of age, it is nearly perfect and in its original setup, from which it differs only for very minor elements. The differences are related to the unavailability of some components/spare parts, used/replaced as needed – over the years – during the commemorations to which it participates as a vintage kart registered with ASI. For example, in the photos you can see the kart with the front number plate, an element that was not used in 1987. The parts that have been changed are the silencer (the original one came from the exhaust of a Ford Transit), the steering wheel (replaced by one of the same time period), the tires (in line with today’s homologations) and the radiator (unpainted and larger than the original one). The second aspect that leaves the visitor astonished is that…There are pieces missing! That is right. Compared to karts as we understand them today, various components are not present. The side fairings? Not required! The front spoiler or the rear bumper? None of this. Elements which are crucial today, given the enormous progress made in the fields of aerodynamics and safety, but that at the time were not even in the manufacturers’ thoughts. What probably mattered was only one thing, performance against all the technological limits that were present at that time. Something noticeable is a considerably lower center of gravity and basically no protection around the driver who had his feet practically outside the limits of the kart’s outline. In place of the side fairings, we find a shaped tube that hooks obliquely to the chassis, a sort of weak protection on one side for the carburetor (strictly without filter), on the outer side of the engine and on the other side for the radiator.

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