Recently last weekend I completed the first round FIA Academy Trophy. It was such an experience to drive with and on such a different track, kart, drivers, conditions and rules. The tracks in Europe I've noticed have no elevation or very long straights just sweeping turns followed by corners or a heavy braking hairpin, unlike in the US where the turns are flat out followed by a straight and there's elevation on every single track you go too.
The motors and chassis they have in the under 18 world championship are all very unseen in the US like the Art Kart, MS chassis or even a Zanardi surprisingly, there were no big teams or chassis manufacturers like Tony Kart, Birel or CRG in that series. Everybody uses the same up to specs KF3 motor in the Academy and U18 championships. The drivers aren't just some local racers going to a big time race just to see what's it like. They are the best in the world from each country, no one makes mistakes they drive clean, professionally and aggressive, they aren't reckless. Weather is about the same but track conditions are much different, the track gets extremely sticky within 4 practice sessions and is difficult for lots of people if you don't know what your doing with the setup. When I say rules I mean procedures, how things run, standards. There's a driver's presentation where all the driver's come to the front stretch represent their country take photos and shake hands with some of the steward's and marshals which was very cool. Each and every qualifying session is 8 minutes. There are 3 heats just like the SKUSA Supernational' they add up your finishes and decide whether you made it to the final or not. Only 28 drivers make it to the main "A" Final. Starting lights as the green flag and you must stay in your racing line until the lights go off or you get a penalty of 3 to 10 seconds depending on how much of your kart was out of the lane. If you don't make it to the "A" final there's a "B" final which gives less points though. After qualifying and each heat race you must take off the wheels you have used and your race fuel to a holding station then before the race starts again you put them back on, and the cycle starts all over again till Sunday.
Sunday one warm up session takes place then the Finals and the day is over with a massive podium presentation, which goes on with sparkling water, spectacular trophies and national anthems. Followed by press conferences and media.