The calendar for the 2012 JK Racing Asia Series (JKRAS) was unveiled on Thursday and featured the addition of two European rounds to the series' six round calendar.
The addition of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium and Paul Ricard in France at the expense of rounds in Indonesia and China now means that every one of the series' rounds will be hosted on Formula One-grade circuits. Along with holding support races for the Singapore and Indian Grands Prix, the season finale will be a support race for the final round of the FIA GT1 World Championship.
It was also revealed that the opening round of the series in Malaysia this weekend will feature three Indian drivers, all racing for the same team where they will be evaluated. Among the three will be 2011 National Karting and VW Polo R Cup champion Vishnu Prasad. Prasad was unable to participate in this year's VW Scirocco R Cup despite being eligible to do so due to his decision to pursue an engineering degree and some issues in finding sponsorship.
The 18-year-old Prasad will be joined in Malaysia by 17-year-old Raj Bharath, who competed in the JKRAS in its inaugural season last year, and 19-year-old Sandeep Kumar.
"Vishnu lost an opportunity in Scirocco R Cup but he has now been given an opportunity in JKRAS and will be tested in the opening round," said the head of JK Tyre's motorsports division Sanjay Sharma.
Sharma added that the evaluation process will help the drivers understand where they stand against the field of foreign participants as well as each other. "Last time just having Raj Bharath neither helped him or us and even the team was not happy," said Sharma. "Let's get the best guy, because when the race happened in India last year Vishnu (Prasad) shone the brightest out of the six Indian drivers."
Rd.1 - Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia (25-27May)
Rd.2 - Circuit Paul Ricard, France (30 June-1 July)
Rd.3 - Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps (27-28 July)
Rd.4 - Marina Bay Circuit, Singapore (22-23 September)*
Rd.5 - Buddh International Circuit (27-28 October)*
Rd.6 - Buddh International Circuit (1-2 December)
*Supporting rounds of the F1 world championship