New hope for Indian racers
Catching up with his motorsports mates after a while, Sunny Sidhu stayed up till about three am. After a mere four hours of sleep, the 37-year-old veteran rally driver from Chandigarh came to the Irungattukotai race track in Sriperumbudur. Placed eighth in his first ever Polo R Cup outing, Sidhu started from pole for the second race of the day which has a reverse grid as per the rules.india Updated: Nov 28, 2011 01:51 IST
Catching up with his motorsports mates after a while, Sunny Sidhu stayed up till about three am. After a mere four hours of sleep, the 37-year-old veteran rally driver from Chandigarh came to the Irungattukotai race track in Sriperumbudur. Placed eighth in his first ever Polo R Cup outing, Sidhu started from pole for the second race of the day which has a reverse grid as per the rules.He clung onto the lead with the tenacity of a man hardened by years of struggle in the messy world of Indian motorsports. Sidhu's hunger epitomised a generation of drivers who never really got a stable platform to showcase their ability.
This lost generation fell into the abyss that tore Indian motorsport when two warring federations fought for control till just three years ago. The kind of talent that went a begging was exemplified by Sidhu who won driving hungover and dehydrated. His win is all the more credible given that he sat in the car for the first time just a day before. Now, a new lot is coming into its own. The Polo R Cup has given a fresh impetus to the aspirations of Indian drivers. This year's championship winner Vishnu Prasad will get a seat in the Sirocco Cup in Germany. That drive's worth R 48 lakh. Prasad is a former JK Tyre Rotax Karting Championship winner. The Rotax karts with a top-speed of 110 kph allow for a firm first step into the speed world. The MRF Formula series and the JK venture into Formula BMW Pacific both offer superior single-seater platforms than the relics that have comprised that class of racing till now. One can discern a ladder of progression firming up for our drivers.
Volkswagen's strong entry into the JK Tyre National Racing Championship has perked the interest of other automobile majors like Toyota and Audi. Nissan is looking to come in too by initiating a drifting championship. The first Indian Formula 1 GP in October elicited strong sponsor interest across the corporate platform. From mobile phone companies to a butter manufacturer, a host of brands looked to associate with the glamour of racing.
As such, there is fresh hope that motorsports is set to experience a new dawn in India. The last time around politics had clouded the air. This time the impetus of the economy is by itself pulling the national federation along. If the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs in India does manage to evolve into a professional setup from the old boys club that it is as of now, there is now reason to believe that the sport is set for a radical time in the years to come.
The writer's trip has been sponsored by JK Tyre
First Published: Nov 28, 2011 00:13 IST