Twenty MRF Formula 1600 cars were put through their paces at a shakedown session here Thursday in preparation for the support race at the inaugural Formula One Indian Grand Prix in Greater Noida next month.
The support race, which offers $100,000 in prize money, will be run on the same weekend as the Grand Prix and the grid has nine Indian drivers, besides 11 from Britain, Finland and France.
Powered by a 1.6 litre, 16-valve Ford Duratec engine and built on a Van Diemen designed chassis, the Formula 1600 puts out 140bhp and boasts of a Hewland five-speed sequential shift gearbox.
National Rally champion Gaurav Gill gave the machine a clean chit after blitzing a few laps. "It is amazing that we get to race in Delhi prior to the Formula 1 GP. The level of competition seems high and it will be good matching skill with these amazing talents from Britain and France."
The field also includes a lone female driver Alice Powell from Britain. The 18-year old won the Formula Renault BARC series last year driving for Hillspeed. She will be racing in India for the first time and is obviously looking forward to the experience.
"It is for the first time I am racing in India and the field looks very competitive. Being the support race, all eyes on that special weekend will be on us and I am determined to put up a great show," she said.
Also in the fray is 21-year old Zaamin Jaffer, the Mumbai-born England-educated driver who is currently participating in the Formula Renault BARC with the Hillspeed team.
"For me, it is a dream to able to race in India. This is the first time I am racing in the MRF Formula 1600 car and I am very impressed with it. The car is very responsive and I am looking forward to Delhi. It will be special," he said.