With the entry of Volkswagen into Indian motorsport in 2010, the technological bar for racing cars was clearly raised. With advanced materials, racing anti-lock brakes and an all-new engine along with a semi-automatic gearbox for this year, Indian touring car racing was given some much needed polish.
So it seemed logical that the home-grown Indian Touring Car Championship also get an upgrade of its own.
The 16th JK Tyre National Racing Championship's (NRC) opening round in Coimbatore on Saturday will see the introduction of slick tyres for the very first time in the touring car category.
The extra grip provided by the racing slicks paired with the modifications carried out on the cars by the privateer entrants (some cars are estimated to run modifications that rack up the season long bills to almost Rs. 20 lakh), should make for an interesting comparison with the Polo R Cup cars that have an extra 40 horsepower this year along with a paddle-shift gearbox.
While the touring category in India seems poised for improvement in the years to come, domestic single-seat racing seems worryingly static.
The outdated Formula LGB Swift cars that have been doing duty for almost a decade now will be well represented at the Kari Motor Speedway. The category will now, however, be known as Formula LGB4.
Thirty entrants are expected for the second round of the NRC in the LGB4 category that has been billed as "the most economical single seater racing available anywhere in the world".
With the cars shedding bodywork a plenty throughout last year's NRC season, however, it seems unlikely that competitors in the category are getting their money's worth.