Pipsy Astromouse, pictured top-left, started her career in 1997 as one of the golden generation of new talent that came out of Donkey Kong Country in that era.
Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen, to the most terrifying and life-destroying series in the known galaxies!
Well, what a surprisingly straightforward season 2005 was, in spite of all the death and injury. We had a brand-new champion for the first time since 2002, and the championship was sealed uncontroversially for the first time since 2001. Pipsy Astromouse, after quite a journeyman career in Diddy Kong Racing and in middling Mario Kart teams, came into her own perfectly to take an true upset championship last season. Although Dixie Kong and Kokkoro Toudou looked to be faster on pace half the weekends, it was in Pipsy's reliability that she was able to pile up the points and continuously extend her lead until the end of the year.
Now, Koopra Sport go into 2006 under the new-ish regulations as defending champions for the first time. Neither driver is officially signed yet, but the team have the best engine on the grid by a country mile. That alone helped push it ahead of Mitsuyoshi's powerhouse, as well as the ever-encroaching Red Bowser Racing. Whether the defending champions can build a solid all-round chassis for the new season and keep themselves at the top, is one of the most puzzling questions for the audience - and their prospective drivers.
Mitsuyoshi finished second again this year, this time to a new opponent. The team had their ups and downs, with middling performances from Wario and much more consistency from the rookie of the year Lemmy Koopa. Dixie Kong had something of a renaissance and was in the running for the championship to even beat Kokkoro Toudou in the driver standings. With eternal rivals RBR behind them, Mitsuyoshi will desperately want another championship here in 2006.
Red Bowser Racing, the new name of the marque that once operated as Bowser Motor Works, is always there or thereabouts. With enough funding and discipline, we expect them to get better and better after an "off-year" that saw them finish 3rd overall. Toad and Bowser Jr. are both signed and are both capable. We have no doubt about this team's ability - it's just where they are in relation to their rivals.
Donkard Peach Racing Kongection had a decent year in 2005 with two wins (one more than Mitsuyoshi and the same number as RBR). However, of 32 entries they recorded 15 retirements, either by mistake or karts breaking down. They could have beaten RBR if they had just been more consistent, and they desperately need to be consistent if they ever want to take a championship one day.
Koopra Kids were the most successful of the new teams last year. They rode off the success of Koopa Climax to take fifth overall, with a few very well-earned podiums. We know the least about their prospects next year, but they could do worse than their current line-up. It all depends what Iggy Koopa's hopes and dreams are, and if he can stay off the drink long enough.
Project Mario were lucky enough to skirt around the rules for the season opener, leading a 1-2 and hauling in a mountain of points that got them P6 overall. Mario quickly fell out with officialdom and fired his superior teammate, but hired him back again after the two made up. The team will probably use the prize money to great effect, but whether they will actually do anything worthwhile with the scrutineers bearing down on them, remains to be seen.
Birdette Racing started last year with arguably the worst chassis aside from ToadGate. However, with respectable upgrading, the team noticeably improved, especially in team leader Birdo's capable hands/paws. For her it was something of a comeback year, and them continuing to improve would be a good news story for this year.
Equipe Luigier spawned from Daisy leaving the co-run SSL. After her sabbatical, she has big plans to run a spec series with the MIA, leaving Luigi all alone to manage team affairs. And boy will he need some help after Luigier had only one podium to their name. Waluigi won Reject of the Year in 2005 as the lowest full-time racer by year-end. Surely it can't get worse.
King Boo Motorsports are at least looking to themselves the year before. After building a kart that couldn't finish (or sometimes even qualify) for races, in 2005 they were consistently slow but at least picked up occasional points. They went through a few drivers in an attempt to get some points on the board and to find out what works. The subpar BMW engine didn't help them, and with King Boo recovering from injury at the season finale last year, their hopes are spurious. Not to mention Boo's obligations as MKDA representative, and his re-election campaign in the works. Perhaps the most exciting team if not the most positively-hyped one.
Crygorti Corse are the new kids on the block. They were already slated to join Mario Kart this season with Dribble & Spitz as a Diamond City run group. However, with D&S sadly dying at Mario Circuit last year, Dr. Crygor has taken over the team with the same intentions. Independent team with an independent engine (and potentially Wario Jumpman in an advisory role), we expect good things from this new team.
- The old one-lap qualifying system will be replaced by an elimination system with three separate sessions, Q1-Q2-Q3.
Team Principal: Koopa Troopa (DigitDan)
#1 Pipsy Astromouse
#2 Kokkoro Toudou
Team Principal: Yoshisaur T. Munchakoopas (Javi/Frentzen)
#3 Dixie Kong
#4 Donkey Kong
Red Bowser Racing
Team Principal: Donkey Kong Jr. (Hermann95)
#5 Toad Toadstool
#6 Bowser Jr.
Donkey-Peach Racing Kongection
Team Principal: Peach Toadstool (NessaFox)
Technical Director (day-to-day): Funky Kong (Ducktanian)
#7 Peach Toadstool
#8 Banjo Kazooie
Team Principal: Iggy Koopa (Pinguini)
#9 Conker T. Squirrel
#10 Larry Koopa
Team Principal: Mario Mario (Frogfoot9013)
#11 Para Troopa
#12 Kat & Ana
Team Principal: Birdetta Birdo (Novitopoli)
#14 Birdetta Birdo
#15 Morton Koopa Jr.
Team Principals: Luigi Mario and Daisy von Sarasaland (TCBY and Pinkd)
#16 Luigi Mario
King Boo Motorsports
Team Principal: King Boo (NickyDustyOwl)
Team Principal: Victor Crygor (Forti)
#21 Kritter Kremling
1. Figure-Eight Circuit [Mushroom Kingdom]
2. Yoshi Falls [Yoshi's Island]
3. Cheep Cheep Beach [Koopa Kingdom]
4. Luigi's Mansion [Mushroom Kingdom]
5. Desert Hills [Yoshi's Island]
6. Delfino Square [Isle Delfino]
7. Waluigi Pinball [Mushroom Kingdom]
8. Shroom Ridge [Mushroom Kingdom]
9. DK Pass [Donkey Kong Country]
10. Tick-Tock Clock [Mushroom Kingdom]
11. Mario Circuit [Mushroom Kingdom]
12. Airship Fortress [Koopa Kingdom]
13. Wario Stadium [Wario Land]
14. Peach Gardens [Mushroom Kingdom]
15. Bowser's Castle [Koopa Kingdom]
16. Rainbow Road [Space]
Phase 1 (1992-1995) records
Phase 2 (1996-2002) records
Phase 3 (current) records