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HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, April 04, 2013
For a self-confessed lover of motorsport history, “Le Mans, Monaco and Indy” are akin to the holy trinity. Needless to say, becoming the first Indian to take part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans last year was “very special” for Karun Chandhok. “I’ve done that now,” said the racer on Wednesday. “Next stop: podium.”

Come June, that chance will present itself. On Friday, Chandhok finalised a deal that will see him take part in the legendary motor race for the second year in a row.

“Last year was magical. It was like the first time I raced at Monza or Monaco,” said Chandhok, visibly excited at the prospect of a surrealistic déjà vu. “Driving at night, through fog and rain and the forest... pitch-black except for your headlights, it’s amazing!”

Chandhok, who will compete in the LMP2 category this year, will be representing the Murphy Prototypes, a team that also includes Brendon Hartley, someone the Indian knows from his F1 days as a Red Bull test driver.

Le Mans will fit neatly into the seven-week gap in his other commitment for 2013 - the inaugural FIA GT Series. “It’s the first time I’m in any car with a roof since I drove an Esteem when I was 16,” said Chandhok, whose team, Seyffarth Motorsp­ort, finished 10th overall in Round One at Nagano, France, on Monday. “GT cars are completely different from single-seaters or prototypes, which are what I’m used to.”

With the testing for the GT series scheduled to alternate with the preparation for Le Mans, adaptability will hold the key.