Toyota on Friday announced the launch of the Etios Motor Racing series from 2013. The Etios Cup will be the second one-make tin-top racing series following the Volkswagen Polo R Cup that started in 2010.
Toyota Racing Development (TRD) president, Masanobu Kawase, said that German rival Volkswagen's presence in Indian motorsports was not the contributing factor to Toyota's involvement. “We want as many people as possible to enjoy motor racing," said Kawase speaking to HT. “It is what we call participatory motorsports where the customers themselves participate."
Kawase clarified that the series would not be open to everyone who managed to get their hands on an Etios saloon or an Etios Liva hatchback. A field of 25 drivers would be selected via a selection process that starts with the filling of an online form that will be available from January 15 to February 15.
The age range of the drivers selected would be between 15-24 and they would be required to hold a valid racing licence from the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI). The applicants would then be required to attend motorsports training camps in March and June before 100 short-listed drivers are evaluated.
As far as the car is concerned, Kawase stated that for the first year, only the chassis would be modified to meet racing specifications. The power output of the 1.2 litre hatchback and 1.5 litre saloon would remain unchanged from the production models in order to control costs. Following the series' first season, TRD would start making modifications to the engines depending on its success.
There is one sticking point, as far as the series' place in India's motorsports hierarchy is concerned. Despite the fact that the concept racing cars were fitted with MRF slicks, Kawase did not confirm if TRD would stick with MRF as a tyre supplier. He did, however, state that the tyre supplier would be either MRF or JK Tyre.Choosing the latter could lead to the series becoming a feature of the FMSCI National Racing Championship.