JOURNEY INSIDE IPK SECRETS
Innovative products for karting as IPK, is one of the largest manufacturers of chassis in the world. Its philosophy? Maximum attention to details, high-quality products and state-of-the-art technology. Amongst numerically controlled machines, experienced welders and tube bending machinery that seems almost futuristic in its abilities. Let us discover the secrets of the Italian company which produces chassis for Praga Karts, Formula K, OK1 and RS
IPK: THE HISTORY
The Praga’s brand adventure in the world of engines is centuries old. Its foundation as a car manufacturer, in fact, dates back to 1907. In the course of history, the Praga name appeared on motorcycles, trucks, military vehicles, various types of machinery and aircrafts, before arriving in 2011 in karting, included in the wider universe of IPKarting which today, manufactures products for brands such as Praga Karts, Formula K, OKJ and RS.
Although the birth of the Praga car company in the Czech Republic dates back to 1907, the karting adventure is much more recent. It was in 2011 when Czech entrepreneur Peter Ptacek, after taking over the historic brand decided to invest in the field, thus founding the IPK manufacturing company. In Italy karts branded Praga, OK1, Formula K and RS are currently being produced.
It is one of the most important companies in international karting, at the forefront in studying innovative technological solutions (for example, the CSS system which allows to adjust camber and caster separately). The premium brand is Praga, whose product range encompasses the entire sector, from Mini karts to rentals.
Praga Karts is probably the best known brand of the IPK Group, followed by Formula K. Both have an official racing team that participates in the most important races on the calendar. With the first two, OKJ shares the production quality and most of the models in the range. The last addition is RS, the brand that bears the initials of Ralf Schumacher, who started a close partnership with IPK. The former F1 and DTM driver explains: “I chose IPK because I was looking for a manufacturer which would ensure the flexibility of realizing “my” product”. The company based in Salizzole, near Verona, makes available to Schumacher all its expertise for the implementation of accessories and a range of chassis composed of Mini, OKJ, OK and KZ.
Exploring the karting borders, in 2017 IPK has joined competencies and technical knowledge with Cram Motorsports, giving way to an adventure which brings the Praga colors to the single seaters of the Italian F4 Championship powered by Abarth. With this agreement, the Praga team stands as a benchmark with very few equals in motorsport, able to offer a supply chain which accompanies drivers from the first steps into the world of karting (read about the birth of Rotax Junior Sport class result of the collaboration between Praga and Rotax to offer a new opportunity to approach the world of motorsport to the younger drivers) up to the threshold of professionalism, finding in the agreement with Cram a natural outlet for the single-seaters.
Faithful to its origins, the Praga brand has never abandoned cars, presenting today the Praga R1 sportscar. The covered wheel car designed around a monocoque shell in composite materials inspired by the endurance prototypes that can generate an aerodynamic load up to 1.5 times its weight and has incredible strength in regard to its traction and in the ability to take on turns at much higher speeds, generating up to 3G of lateral force. The engine is a Renault Sport Formula 2010 has 4 cylinders and 16 valves capable of unleashing 210 bhp at about 7,250 RPM. The performance of the Praga R1 has been appreciated by drivers like Sebastian Loeb, David Coulthard, Martin Prokop and Tom Onslow-Cole, who were especially enthusiastic by the agility of the vehicle and the fun of pushing the car to its limits.
Tradition and technology are planned towards the future of flow production, racing evolution… All this could not exist without the specialized offices that coordinate the various operations of this global business that is IPK! Let’s then discover these places which, although hidden from the public’s eye, constitute an integral and essential part of an efficient and cutting-edge company like IPK.
The IPK Technical Office, as in every structured company, plays a fundamental role in the products’ completion. Whether we are talking about chassis or accessories obtained from a solid piece of aluminum or other materials, the design phase has a primary role. The technicians utilize a 3D CAD program to design and draw the piece to be produced with every single detail being kept in mind, while developing all the necessary calculations to define the appropriate dimensions and thicknesses depending on the material used. From the 3D drawing prospects and sections to be printed out are obtained for the appropriate technical checks and verifications in the workshop.
IPK is very prolific in proposing new accessories and is convinced that, producing prototypes in the shortest possible time, without stopping the flow production is absolutely a high priority and a fundamental factor. This is why the company has heavily focused on the introduction of using a 3D printer, a machine that allows to continue prototyping without requiring the production process to be stopped. The accessory produced by the 3D printer allows them to identify any imperfections and can be tested directly on the chassis to verify dimensions and functionality, thus reducing the margin of error to almost zero in the subsequent prototyping phase carried out by C.N.C machinery
The conference room is the place where to meet with clients, dealers and suppliers. Before entering the room, it is impossible not to notice the many trophies won by the official Praga Karts and Formula K Racing Teams in international events.
Present, of course, the commercial and administrative offices, where IPK staff takes care of the orders and the company’s accounting division.
Separate office for the Managing Director, a role that at IPK that is held by Daniel Sliva.
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