Finally, a local racing series with international fervour | india | Hindustan Times
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Finally, a local racing series with international fervour

When Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok were working their way up to the upper echelons of motorsport, they had to head abroad to further their aspirations. Now, as the country gears up to host the inaugural Indian Grand Prix, the country can finally boast of a racing series which matches up to international F1 feeder series'. Rohit Bhaskar reports.

india Updated: Oct 25, 2011 01:36 IST
Rohit Bhaskar

When Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok were working their way up to the upper echelons of motorsport, they had to head abroad to further their aspirations. Now, as the country gears up to host the inaugural Indian Grand Prix, the country can finally boast of a racing series which matches up to international F1 feeder series'.

The MRF Delhi Championship, a support race at the Buddh International Circuit this weekend, will see Indian drivers, eight from a field of 20, get behind the wheel of the most technologically advanced and challenging single-seater formula car to ever be raced in the country.

Powered by a 1.6 litre Ford Duratec engine, the car matches up well to international feeder series'.http://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/251011/25_10_pg19a.jpg

"This series is ideal preparation for any youngster who wants to work up a career in F1. If a driver moves from this series to F3 or F2, he won't be required to make a massive adjustment," said MRF's motorsport head Anthony Rodricks.

He added that next season's championship will see an even more competitive car.

"We have tied up with Italian chassis manufacturer Dallara (who provide chassis' for most F3 teams) and they will design chassis for all the cars. We will also upgrade the engine from 1.6 litre to a 2.0 litre one," he added.

Asked if there were any plans to expand the series, he said, "Plans are on, but the important thing to remember is that, we have a very short time-frame (from November to March) where we have enough foreign drivers available to host the races. Also the slick tyres are ideally not suited for the summer months."

The one drawback, according to cynics, is the high entrance fee that could deter talented drivers without adequate backing. The price for a race seat is touted to be between Rs14-20 lakh.

However according to India's F1 ace Narain Karthikeyan it still works out cheaper than competing in a racing series abroad. "You get to race a car that almost matches up to F3, and for a fifth of the money. I think it's a win-win for the Indian drivers," he said.