In his effort to give back something to the sport with which he rose to fame, fastest Indian on the wheels and the only to be a Formula one driver, Narain Karthikeyan is setting up an academy in his hometown Coimbatore to tap young driving talent.
Narain, who has selected four young prospects in Aditya Akkineni and Akhil Khuslani of Hyderabad, Ameya Walavalker of Mumbai and Aditya Patel of Chennai as the wards for his academy 'Speed NK Racing', said when he announced the idea of setting up the academy, he received more than 100 applications from all over the country.
"I also received e-mails from aspirants with detailed performances", Narain said, pointing out how difficult a task it was to select the final four trainees as per various parametres.
He picked 14 young drivers from a long list of aspirants and called them for the 'shoot out' to pick the final four plus two reserves.
"I will take one step at a time," he said when asked whether he would increase the number of drivers based on the success of the academy, adding "it is still in the early stage."
He said the four trainees at the academy would be given full sponsorship this year's JK Tyres National Racing Championship.
"It will be a unique opportunity for them to concentrate just on racing without any financial pressure and learn the art," he added.
Buoyed about his venture Narain said, "I am really happy to give these young guns the opportunity to mould themselves into international standard professional racing drivers."
He said the two reserve drivers - Karthik Shankar of Delhi and Ajay Kini of Hyderabad - would also be given some financial assistance to pursue a career in racing, in other categories of domestic competitions.
Besides, their job would be to get behind the wheels in case any of the main drivers was unable to attend the weekend race due to indisposition, injury or clashing educational commitments.
Narain said the team sponsors were continuing their association with him, supporting his vision of grooming young talent.
"The six round 'Formula Rolon'category of J K Tyres National Racing championship in 120 BHP, 1.6 litre fuel enjucted engined single seater car will be the highest category of seater racing in India," Narain said.