TWO Launceston Kart Club members will carry Tasmania's hopes of winning the nation's premier series of karting for the first time.
Zane Wyatt and Daimon Shelton will begin their assault on the title when the first round is held at Ipswich in a fortnight's time.
Further rounds will be held at Bolivar (SA), Puckapunyal (Vic), Newcastle (NSW) and Port Melbourne (Vic) before the winner of this year's title is known in September.
"We're realistic at the task ahead of us as half the field have won national titles at some stage," Wyatt said.
But Wyatt and Shelton will go into the championships with their own good form, with Wyatt having won six open state titles and seven closed titles and Shelton with five open state titles and eight closed titles to his credit.
Wyatt and Shelton are fierce on-track rivals but maintain their close friendship away from racing.
"There is healthy rivalry between us but we knock about together and enjoy going to the pub together," Wyatt said.
The championship they are chasing is the KZ2 gearbox class, which is the same class raced in Europe and is the top-level karting available in Australia.
"The karts possess a six- speed gearbox and disc brakes, which is something I've been getting used to over the past six months," Wyatt said.
Shelton returned to karting last year after taking a break from the sport, and over the years he has established an impressive strike rate that few other Tasmanian drivers can match.
Wyatt and Shelton are now hoping they can carry their experience and enthusiasm on to the national stage.
Past champions of the CIK Stars Of Karting Title include Australian formula one driver Daniel Ricciardo, V8 Supercar drivers Jamie Whincup, Mark Winterbottom and Tim Slade, and IndyCar driver Ryan Briscoe.
The series will be telecast on Foxtel's Speed Network, and the coverage will include the five rounds of racing as well as pieces and driver interviews.