HindustanTimes Fri,19 Dec 2014
Taking the road less travelled
Vinayak Pande, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, November 29, 2011
First Published: 23:06 IST(29/11/2011)
Last Updated: 19:22 IST(10/12/2011)

Twenty two-year-old Armaan Ebrahim has had his mind set on a career in top flight single seat racing for a while now. That was the intention when he stepped into the cockpit of an A1 GP car in 2005 till competing in his third season in the Formula Two championship this season.

The results have been mixed at best but the desire remains unabated.

With his run in F2 over and still no closer to a full-time GP2 drive in terms of budget, Armaan has decided to look towards the land where racetracks run anti-clockwise.

Having tested for the Indianapolis 500 winning Bryan Herta Autosport team for a drive in Indy Lights (Indycar's entry level series), Ebrahim has offers of a drive from five teams.

All that's left is the question of budget. With the budget for a top Indy Lights squad ranging from R3.9 to 4.5 crore, the going isn't easy but the offer of the teams to cover up to R2 crore has given hope to Armaan's father Akbar of his son finally getting to a level where he is paid to drive, rather than the other way round.

“Indycars are comparable to F1 cars and offer good visibility to a driver,” said Akbar Ebrahim while speaking to HT. “That aside there also sizeable prize money on offer to drivers which makes it possible for one to make a living as a professional racing driver.”

Ebrahim's successful Indy Lights test follows in the footsteps of Narain Karthikeyan's foray into NASCAR last year where by his own admission Karthikeyan made a decent living as compared to pounding the pavement looking for sponsors to get a seat in F1.

Juan Pablo Montoya and Jacques Villeneuve are the two most high profile examples of drivers who raced in Indycar before finding success in F1.

While it's too early to expect something like that from Armaan, managing to get his foot in the door in America could just turn out to be a new avenue for aspiring Indian racers to go down on.

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