Chandhok all geared for new journey
Karun to race for JR Motorsports in the newly-formed FIA World Endurance Championship, including Le Mans. HT reports.Updated: Jan 12, 2012 23:50 IST
Karun Chandhok doesn't have an issue being a reserve driver for a Formula One team for another year, like he was with Team Lotus (now Catheram F1) in 2011, but he is keen to explore new frontiers.
"Well, an F1 car is still the ultimate car on the planet," Chandhok told HT.
"However, being a reserve driver in F1 is like Santa Claus giving you the ultimate present on Friday and having to return it to the shop on Saturday!"
Not keen to spend another year paying an F1 team only to remain on the sidelines, Chandhok looked towards the next best thing in terms of circuit racing. He will now race for JR Motorsports in the newly formed FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), the highlight of which will be racing in the world famous 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Chandhok would also look to add an F1 reserve driver's role to his busy calendar that includes participating in the i1 Supercar Series. However, racing in the WEC would be a priority.
Chandhok is relieved to find that competing in the prestigious series would not be as much of a financial headache as trying to keep his place in a tail-end F1 team.
"For the first time in my career, there was no catch to any of the negotiations," he said. "I sat down with the head of JR Motorsports and asked for certain things to be included in my contract. And lo and behold, the next day there was the contract with everything I asked for."
The decision to turn towards the world of sportscar racing was made easier by the advice of, among others, Mercedes AMG F1's (formerly Mercedes GP) simulator driver and Peugeot's sportscar racer Anthony Davidson.
"I would talk to Anthony and other sportscar drivers I would meet regularly in the F1 paddock," said Chandhok. "They all said I've got to experience driving a 500 plus horsepower car that weighs less than a ton at night."
The clincher was, of course, getting behind the wheel of a racing car. "The thing I still love doing the most is racing," he said. "So anything that helps me do that is better than just sitting on the sidelines."
First Published: Jan 12, 2012 23:46 IST